MONTREAL -- The Quebec Ministry of Health, in consultation with the office of public health, is lowering the period of isolation after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms from 14 days down to 10.

Thus, those who tested positive for COVID-19 can leave isolation after 10 days if they are free from all symptoms except for cough and a loss of smell.

The following criteria must be met before leaving 10-day isolation:

  • no fever for at least 48 hours;
  • no longer have symptoms (excluding coughing and loss of smell, which may last longer), for at least 24 hours.

"The evolution of our knowledge now allows us to shorten the duration of isolation for people with COVID-19," said director of public health Horacio Arruda. "However, we must ensure that other criteria are met, such as the absence of symptoms for 24 hours and fever for 48 hours. Once the isolation period is over, people are no longer considered contagious, but they must make sure to follow the instructions that apply to the general population, such as hand washing, wearing a face covering and physical distancing."

People who are in preventive isolation due to being in contact with a confirmed case must still isolate for 14 days to see if symptoms develop. Those who are immunocompromised or who require hospitalization for COVID-19 will also still need to isolate for at least 14 days.

With files from The Canadian Press.