Reporting Obligations

  • Suspect cases in institutions must be reported immediately by phone to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at 625-8318 or toll-free 1-888-294-6630, ext. 8318 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm).
  • After hours and on weekends/holidays call Thunder Bay Answering Service at (807) 624-1280.


Local epidemiology:

Provincial epidemiology:

Etiologic Agent:

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It can be very contagious and spreads quickly. 

Clinical Presentation:

COVID-19 generally presents with a fever, chills, cough, and general fatigue. In some cases, individuals also have runny noise/ nasal congestion, muscle aches, headaches, sore throat, loss of taste/smell, and gastrointestinal symptoms. In severe cases, it may cause shortness of breath or chest pain which would warrant immediate medical attention.  

Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have a mild illness. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Some people may have only a few symptoms. Some people may have no symptoms at all, but can still spread it. This is called asymptomatic transmission.

Modes of transmission:

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols (small droplets that linger in the air) when an infected person breathes, coughs, sneezes, or talks. The virus may also spread when a person touches an infected person (i.e., a handshake), or a surface/object (also referred to as a fomite) that has the virus on it, and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.

Incubation Period:

2-14 days, with a median of 4-7 days from exposure to symptom onset.

Period of Communicability:

The period of communicability from epidemiological studies ranged approximately from 9 days before symptom onset to 15 days post symptom onset. 

Risk Factors/Susceptibility

Individuals at increased risk:

  • older adult (increasing risk with each decade, especially over 60 years)
  • pregnant 
  • immunocompromised
  • chronic illness/underlying medical condition including diabetes
  • live with obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or more)

Diagnosis & Laboratory Testing

There are two publicly-funded types of COVID‑19 test available in Ontario:

  • rapid antigen tests (available for free to people at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, including in high priority communities and people eligible for COVID-19 treatments)
  • molecular tests (which includes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid molecular testing); for a list of testing locations visit Ontario's COVID-19 testing locations and clinical assessment centres webpage

Testing Information & Requisition

Treatment & Case Management


Patient Resources

Clinical Resources

Patient Information

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.

Last Updated: