COVID-19 Disease

Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need advice on what to do next? Visit and follow the instructions given.


HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS? Contact a qualified health professional through Health 811 (formerly Health Connect Ontario), 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

What is COVID-19 and how does it spread?

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was first identified in late 2019.
  • The COVID-19 virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles or droplets when they cough, sneeze, speak or breathe.
  • These particles may be larger respiratory droplets or smaller aerosols.
  • The virus may also spread when a person touches another person (i.e., a handshake) or a surface or an object that has the virus on it, and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

  • Use the layers of protection approach to reduce the risk of illness. These layers will help to protect everyone, especially those who are at higher risk of developing severe outcomes from these viruses.
  • Each layer of protection helps prevent the spread of germs and when combined together, they lower the risk of illness impacting our schools, workplaces and heath care system.
  • Learn more about the layers of protection on our dedicated "Layers of Protection" webpage.

What are the symptoms and what should I do if I have symptoms?

What should I do if I have symptoms?

Should I get tested if I have symptoms?

  • If you have COVID‑19 symptoms and are at a higher risk of severe illness, you should get tested for COVID‑19  and get care as soon as possible as you may benefit from available COVID‑19 treatments. 
  • There are two tests available in Ontario.

1. Take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at home.

  • Learn more about these tests by visiting Ontario's testing webpage.
  • Follow the directions in the test kit. You can also watch this video or review the How to Collect a Sample resource.
  • Positive result: If you have a positive test it is very likely that you have COVID-19. Follow the directions found on Ontario's testing webpage.
  • Negative Result: You should still stay home until symptoms have been improving for 24 hours, no fever and no new symptoms. A single negative RAT in someone with symptoms does not rule out a COVID-19 infection. If you take two RATs, separated by at least 24-48 hours, and both are negative you may be less likely to have a COVID-19 infection.

2. Find out if you are eligible for a molecular testing (e.g. PCR)

Should I look into treatment?

  • Use the COVID-19 Antiviral Treatment Screener to learn if you are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness and would benefit from the treatments available. You can use this screener even if you do not have symptoms, to be prepared in case you get sick.
  • Search for a clinical assessment centre near you that offers treatment by visiting Ontario's COVID-19 testing locations and clinical assessment centres webpage.
  • Do not wait for symptoms to become severe before seeking help.Treatment must be given early to prevent serious illness and hospitalization.

What should I do if I get COVID-19?

  • As with all other respiratory illnesses, it is important to stay at home and isolate as much as possible from others until:
    • symptoms have been improving for 24 hours, or 48 hours if you experienced nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, NO fever and NO NEW symptoms
  • Continue to take additional precautions for up to 10 days after your symptoms.
  • The list below is not a full list, you can find that under COVID-19 health advice on Ontario's Protection from COVID‑19 and other respiratory illnesses webpage   
    • Wear a well-fitting mask in all public settings for 10 days after your symptoms started (unless you are exempt, under 2 years of age or need to take it off for essential activities like eating)
      • Stay away from visiting anyone who may be at a higher risk for illness (over the age of 65, immunocompromised) or any high risk settings such as long-term care homes or hospitals.
      • Keep your hands clean (e.g. hand washing or alcohol-based hand sanitizer) and cough or sneeze into your sleeve or use a tissue


For Further Information

Call the Infectious Disease Program: (807) 625-5900

or toll-free 1-888-294-6630


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