Last updated: October 5, 2020 at 1:55 p.m.

Toronto Public Health is partnering with COVID Near You to monitor the frequency of COVID-like symptoms in Toronto. Help us learn how symptoms of COVID-19 may be moving through our community by completing a short survey about your current symptoms.

On October 1, 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Health updated its clearance guidance for people who test positive for COVID-19. People who have mild or moderate illness must isolate for 10 days after symptoms started, and people who have severe illness or are severely immuno-compromised must isolate for 20 days. Close contacts must continue to isolate for 14 days after their last contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Exposed to COVID-19

If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should:

  • Find out how to get tested.
  • If you do not get tested, you must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after your last contact with that person.
  • Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you do get tested you must self-isolate while you wait for your results. Even if your test result is negative you must continue to self-isolate for the full 14 days.

Have Symptoms of COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, and you were not a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you must:

  • Stay home and self-isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started. After 10 days, you can stop isolating if you no longer have a fever and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, but you should continue with physical distancing measures. If you are still unwell at 10 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider.
  • Find out how to get tested?and what you need to do.
  • You can stop isolating if you test negative for COVID-19 and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours. School students, staff and visitors can return to school if they test negative for COVID-19 and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.

Have COVID-19

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must:

  • Stay home and self-isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started. After 10 days, you can stop isolating if you no longer have a fever and your symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, but you should continue with physical distancing measures. If you are still unwell at 10 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider.
  • If you were hospitalized in an intensive care unit (ICU) with severe COVID-19 illness, or have a severe immune compromise (e.g., cancer chemotherapy, untreated HIV infection), you will have to self-isolate for 20 days.

Some people may experience mild or no physical symptoms. Symptoms can take up to 14 days after exposure to COVID-19 to appear, and include new or worsening:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911.

Disease symptoms may be different, depending on age. Children and older adults with COVID-19, may also have non-specific symptoms, such as:

  • disorientation, confusion
  • sleeping more than usual or muscle aches
  • dizziness, weakness or falls
  • chills, headaches

Rarely, children can get an inflammatory condition that impacts the blood vessels, called vasculitis. It can present with prolonged fever, abdominal pain, red eyes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash. It needs medical attention.

For others, there is a higher risk for severe illness, including people over the age of 60, and those with weakened immunity or underlying health conditions.

French Resource:

If you have been advised by Telehealth, your health care provider, or your local public health unit to self-monitor, follow Public Health Ontario’s instructions on how to self-monitor.

Instructions on how to self-monitor are also available in: French | Arabic | Bengali | Simplified Chinese | Traditional Chinese | Eastern Ojibwe | Farsi | German | Greek | Gujarati | Hindi | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Mohawk | Oji-Cree | Polish | Portuguese | Punjabi | Romanian | Russian | Somali | Spanish | Swampy Cree | Tagalog | Tamil | Ukrainian | Urdu | Vietnamese

For your protection, you should take extra precautions if:

  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have a medical condition

You must isolate yourself from others if:

  • You have COVID-19, or
  • You have COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • You have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or
  • Someone in your household was exposed to someone who has COVID-19, has symptoms and is awaiting their test results, or
  • You have returned from anywhere outside Canada, including the United States, within the past 14 days, or
  • You received a notification on the COVID Alert app and you are awaiting test results.

Follow Public Health Ontario’s instructions on how to self-isolate.

Instructions on how to self-isolate are also available in: French | Arabic | Bengali | Simplified Chinese | Traditional Chinese | Eastern Ojibwe | Farsi | German | Greek | Gujarati | Hindi | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Mohawk | Oji-Cree | Polish | Portuguese | Punjabi | Romanian | Russian | Somali | Spanish | Swampy Cree | Tagalog | Tamil | Ukrainian | Urdu | Vietnamese

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. People who have COVID-19 should receive supportive health care to help relieve symptoms. People with more severe illness may require hospitalization.

If symptoms feel worse than a standard cold, call your health care practitioner. They can relieve symptoms by prescribing a pain or fever medication.

You should also:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Get rest and sleep as much as possible
  • Try a humidifier or a hot shower to help with a sore throat or cough

There is a test for COVID-19. The test tells you if you have the infection right now.

You should get tested for COVID-19 if:

  • You have one or more symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild;
  • You have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, as informed by public health or through the COVID Alert app;
  • Public health has asked you to get tested (e.g. there are cases of COVID-19 in your workplace or school); or
  • You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care or other Ministries.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing

Toronto Public Health offices are not an assessment centre and testing is not provided at our offices.

Not Tested

If you were not tested but have symptoms of COVID-19, and you were not a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you will have to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started.? Household members should continue to self-monitor for 14 days. Household members can continue to attend school or work as long as they do not have symptoms.

If you were not tested but have symptoms of COVID-19 and were a close contact of someone who had COVID-19, you will have to continue to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started.? Household members will need to self-isolate for 14 days and get tested if they develop symptoms.? They cannot attend school or work until COVID-19 is ruled out.

You may be contacted by Toronto Public Health if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Cases and suspected cases of COVID-19 are reportable to local health authorities under the Provincial Health Protection and Promotion Act. As Toronto Public Health is notified of potential cases, they are immediately following up directly with the individuals to let them know.

Toronto Public Health informs these people of the potential health risk, and provides education and instruction on when and how to seek medical care, if necessary. This work is part of routine public health follow-up of a case of an infectious disease.

Please follow the directions given to you by Toronto Public Health or health authorities.

There are no tests for staff to do to be cleared to return to work.

In general, staff can return to work 10 days after their symptoms began if they had COVID-19.

For other illnesses, or if someone tested negative for COVID-19, they should not return to work until they no longer have a fever and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.

If a staff was a close contact of someone who had COVID-19 then they must self-isolate for 14 days.

Resources

For information in French about COVID-19, please visit the Government of Ontario’s website and Public Health Ontario portal.