Probable cases must be reported immediately by phone to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at (807) 625-8318 or Toll-Free 1-888-294-6630, ext. 8318 (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). After hours and on weekends/holidays, call the Thunder Bay Answering Service at (807) 624-1280.
The development and response to COVID-19 is constantly changing. For Health Care Provider updates, please subscribe to our mailing list.
Click on the links below to access up-to-date local epidemiology for the Thunder Bay District catchment area:
For provincial epidemiology, the Ministry of Health provides a daily update which includes a summary of cases and epidemiological data in Ontario.
For information related to the COVID-19 Vaccines, visit the COVID-19 Vaccines: Information for Health Care Providers page.
For information on COVID-19 vaccines administered in the TBDHU catchment area, see the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.
An updated case definition from the Ministry of Health can be found on the Ministry's COVID-19 webpage. The case definitions are for surveillance purposes and are not intended to replace clinical or public health practitioner judgement.
Provincial resources and guidance documents for health sectors, including long-term care, are available on the Guidance for the Health Sector webpage.
Provincial directives and memorandums for COVID-19 are also available online on the Ministry COVID-19 website. This page is home to these updates as well as other resources for Health Care Providers during COVID-19. Please bookmark and review this page regularly.
Refer to this resource from Public Health Ontario for the Preferred COVID-19 Specimen Collection Methods.
Ontario Health has set out the following guidelines for COVID-19 testing. Individuals should only seek testing at assessment centres if they are:
- Showing COVID-19 symptoms, even if fully vaccinated;
- Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by the TBDHU or an exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
- A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by the TBDHU; or
- Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care. This includes visitors to long-term care homes.
The Testing & Results page includes details regarding assessment centres in Thunder Bay and District Communities, including numbers to call for assessment and appointments.
Health care providers who order testing must inform their patients of test results. Please direct patients to use Ontario's COVID-19 Test Results Viewer rather than calling the TBDHU.
Use the Positive COVID-19 Test Reporting Form to report any positive COVID-19 point-of-care PCR tests to TBDHU.
Please note: Only individuals who have tested POSITIVE for COVID-19 will be contacted by the TBDHU.
All Health Care Workers must:
- Be self-monitoring, regardless of travel.
- Not attend work if they are sick.
- Immediately don a surgical mask and notify their manager and/or occupational health and safety department if they begin to feel unwell while at work.
Return to Work
Health care workers should check with their employer / occupational health about isolation periods following a negative test as each workplace may have different return-to-work policies. See MOH COVID-19 Provincial Testing and Clearance Guidance (version 14, November 10, 2021).
Returning from Travel
Health care workers who have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days should self-isolate for a period of 14 days starting from their arrival in Ontario.
Exemptions: If there are particular workers who are deemed critical, by all parties, to continue operations, these workers must undergo regular screening, use appropriate PPE for the 14 days and undertake self-monitoring, including taking their temperature twice daily to monitor for fever.
If symptoms develop, health care workers must immediately self-isolate and self-identify to their occupational health and safety department.
Pregnant Health Care Workers
In general, a person who is pregnant may be more vulnerable to getting infections than a person of their age who is not pregnant. It is for this reason that pregnant people should protect themselves using the guidelines for general infection prevention and control.
Decisions about continuing to work during the pandemic should take into consideration (a) local epidemiology, (b) work-related exposure, PPE access, and risk for infection, (c) an individual’s personal risk for COVID-related morbidity based on their health status and relevant comorbidities, and (d) an individual’s ability to advocate for risk reduction strategies, especially for higher risk encounters, without risking lost income or employment.
Pregnant workers identified to be at increased risk for severe illness should have reasonable workplace accommodations made to reduce exposures from the public and/or from those with active COVID-19 infection. A pregnant worker with exposure risk from potentially infected members of the public, should be excused from work if appropriate PPE or physical distancing cannot be ensured in the workplace. No additional PPE measures are recommended for pregnant workers beyond those that are advised for non-pregnant workers.
For more information, see the Statement on Pregnant Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Health Care Workers Matching Portal
Skilled frontline health care workers are being actively recruited to increase the frontline capacity of hospitals, clinics, and assessment centres. The Government of Ontario has an online portal to match employers with such workers as retired or non-active health care professionals, internationally educated health care professionals, students and volunteers with health care experience. For more information, visit the Workforce Matching Portal.
Public Health Ontario has released an updated technical brief related to personal protective equipment during COVID-19. It continues to be reinforced that the route of transmission is droplet and contact based, and that there is no evidence to suggest any airborne transmission. Airborne precautions are still only recommended during aerosol generating procedures. All other PPE recommendations are highlighted on pages 5 to 8 of the brief.
Please use these guidelines for use of PPE or follow your organization’s direction.
For Further Information
Call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1-888-294-6630, or visit our main COVID-19 website.