Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

Close Contact Notification

Evidence shows that vaccination and treatment can help lessen the impact of COVID-19on the health care system. In response to the omicron variant of concern and the probability that case numbers will increase significantly, Manitoba is shifting public health resources to increase vaccination rates and support treatment. This includes changes to case and contact management including asking confirmed cases to identify and notify their close contacts.

In most situations, public health officials will no longer be notifying close contacts. Confirmed COVID-19 cases will be asked to notify their contacts.

In settings such as personal care homes, schools, daycares, shelters, and health care facilities, public health officials will continue with notification of close contacts.

With the introduction of the omicron variant of concern, Manitoba is anticipating a surge in COVID-19 cases similar to that seen in other countries and provinces. This increase in cases and contacts is expected to exceed public health contact notification resources. To reduce the risk of further transmission, confirmed COVID-19 cases will now be asked to provide notice to close contacts. This is also being done in other provinces in Canada.

Close contacts are the people you were around two days before the start of your symptoms, as well as 10 days after your symptoms develop. This is when you were most likely to spread COVID-19 to others.  your period of communicability. For cases, who tested positive without symptoms, the period of communicability extends from two  days before your lab test to 10 days after you had the test.

Close contacts are people who you have shared space with during your period of communicability. Specifically, these are people you were within two metres/six feet for a total of 10 minutes over a 24-hour period.

Figuring out who your close contacts were can take a little work. To help keep track you can use the Contact Tracing Resource Tool.

When thinking about who your close contacts were, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Who lives with you?
  • Have you gone to work, school, or daycare (if the case is a child)?
  • Who did you have direct physical contact with, such as hugging or kissing?
  • Have you gotten together with others at a restaurant?
  • Have you gone out for drinks?
  • Did you exercise with others or go to a gym?
  • Do you participate in any sports or other activities?
  • Did you have friends or family over to your house?
  • Have you been to the home of family or friends?
  • Do you have any service providers (home care, speech therapy, etc.) that come to your home regularly?
  • Did you volunteer somewhere?
  • Did you go to a party or other celebration?
  • Have you gone to in-person appointments (for example, the salon, barber, doctor’s or dentist’s office)?
  • Have you ridden in a car with others or taken public transportation?
  • Have you been inside a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship?

Even if contacts are fully vaccinated at their time of exposure, they should still self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Public health officials recommend they get tested between five to seven days after exposure if they don’t develop symptoms. If symptoms develop, they should get tested immediately.

You can call, text or email your close contacts, whatever is easiest or more comfortable. The key points to pass on to your close contacts are:

  • That you tested positive for COVID-19
  • When they may have been exposed to the virus (their last known contact with you during your period of communicability)

You can use this <letter> as a guide to help notify your close contacts.

More information on self-isolation (quarantine), including duration, exemptions, how to monitor for symptoms and protect those you live with, can be found here or in the Self-isolation (quarantine) for Contacts of Cases fact sheet.

Note: Contacts identified by public health officials in some settings, such as schools and personal care homes, may receive a letter with additional information.

If you have questions or concerns, you are advised to call Health Links - Info Santé (204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257).

Your interview with public health officials will identify if you have been in a large public gathering during the period of communicability. They will record the information, and if there is an outbreak or further transmission detected, a public notification may be issued to direct those in in attendance to self-monitor.

Be sure to inform the organizer of the activity. There are <letters> available to support notification of a team or group. If you have had close contact with the group members, they should be advised they are close contacts and need to self-isolate (quarantine).

By identifying close contacts, you can provide them with the opportunity to self-isolate (quarantine) and reduce the risk of further transmission. This can protect your attendees, their families, the broader community and help preserve critical health care resources.

If you are contacted by an attendee with COVID-19 who attended the event during their period of communicability, it is your responsibility help identify and notify other attendees who may have been exposed to COVID-19. When notifying these close contacts you must not disclose the identity of the person with COVID-19.

Notifying your close contacts gives them the opportunity to self-isolate (quarantine) and can reduce the chances of further transmission. This will protect family, friends, the broader community, as well as critical health care resources.

Public health officials will continue to notify close contacts in the following settings:

  • Health care facilities
  • Personal care homes/ long term care facilities
  • Schools
  • Daycares
  • Shelters
  • Correctional facilities

Note that some settings, such as health care facilities/ personal care homes, may have their own responses and processes to follow up with contacts. In other settings like school, public health will work with school officials to identify contacts and notify them by letter.

Public health officials will continue to manage and provide advice in outbreak situations. If you have questions or concerns about an outbreak, you are advised to call Health Links - Info Santé (204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257).