Last updated: March 10, 2023
To reduce the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, anyone who feels sick should stay home and complete the self-assessment tool to learn more about what to do next. Find out if you are eligible for COVID-19 treatment, continue to follow public health measures and stay up-to-date with your vaccinations including a COVID-19 booster for the best protection.
If you have symptoms of any respiratory viral infection, take the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment for recommendations on what to do next. For more information, visit the Provincial website.
Stay home until you have no fever and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and/or diarrhea).
If you have COVID-19 or other respiratory virus symptoms, you may be eligible for COVID-19 testing and treatment. You can take a Rapid Antigen Test if you have one. COVID-19 treatment must be taken within the first five to seven days from the start of your symptoms.
COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, such as the flu, share some common symptoms.
Clinical Assessment Centres are able to assess, test and provide treatment options to eligible individuals with COVID-19, cough, cold and flu symptoms. Some centres can also assess children.
COVID-19 specific symptoms can vary from person-to-person and may take up to 14 days after a COVID-19 exposure to appear.
If you have ONE or more of the symptoms of COVID-19 (new or worsening) below, assume that you may have the virus and be contagious. Seek testing and treatment if eligible:
If you have TWO or more of the symptoms of COVID-19 (new or worsening) below, assume that you may have the virus and be contagious. Seek testing and treatment if eligible:
Other symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19 include:
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.
If you have any of the symptoms above, you should stay home (self-isolate) while you are sick. Stay home until you have no fever and your symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and/or diarrhea).
If you likely have COVID-19 based on the symptoms above, notify your close contacts. You should also:
For more information, visit our What To Do If You Have COVID-19 webpage.
If it is unlikely that you have COVID-19 based on the symptoms above, you should still stay home while you are sick.
If your symptoms feel worse than a common cold, call your health care practitioner or Health Connect Ontario at 811.
If you have ANY of the following signs of severe illness, you should seek immediate medical attention:
If you do not feel well enough to take personal transport, call 911:
The following infants and children should also be assessed in the emergency department:
Before going for in-person medical care, tell them that you likely have COVID-19.
If your child has any of the symptoms listed above (even if mild) they should take the COVID-19 & Respiratory Viruses Screening Questionnaire or the Ontario Ministry of Health school and child care screening to find out what to do next.
Learn more about what to do if your child has COVID-19 symptoms.
Long COVID, or post-COVID-19 condition (PCC), is when someone who had COVID-19 has symptoms that last 12 weeks or more after their original infection. Even though they have symptoms, people with long COVID no longer have the virus and cannot spread it to others.
In Canada, almost 15% of adults (approximately 1.4 million) who have gotten COVID-19 continue to have symptoms for at least 3 months.
Long COVID can be serious. Over 20% of adults in Canada with long COVID say their symptoms impact their ability to do daily activities. Almost half say that they experienced symptoms for over a year, and missed about 20 days of work or school.
Anyone who gets COVID-19 can develop long COVID. We do not know why some people with COVID-19 develop long COVID, while others do not. Long COVID is more common in adults, particularly women, but children can also get it.
There is a higher chance of getting long COVID if you got very sick with COVID-19 and needed to go to the hospital. However, even people with a mild or moderate COVID-19 illness can get long COVID, as well as people who had no symptoms. The risk of long COVID can also go up with each new COVID-19 infection.
Long COVID is when someone still has symptoms or has new symptoms that last for 12 weeks or more after a COVID-19 infection, and that are not from another health condition or illness. There is currently no test to diagnose long COVID. If you think you have long COVID, talk with a healthcare provider who can diagnose you based on your symptoms.
There are a wide range of symptoms of long COVID. Symptoms can be different for everyone, especially between adults and children. Common symptoms include:
People with long COVID may continue to have their original symptoms or get new symptoms which can change or get worse. If you have long COVID, you can get COVID-19 again. Seek testing if you have new symptoms of an infection and are eligible. There is currently no specific treatment for long COVID, but a healthcare provider can give you advice on how to manage your symptoms.
The best way to prevent long COVID is by not getting a COVID-19 infection. You can lower your risk of getting COVID-19 by staying up-to-date with vaccines and continuing to follow public health measures whenever possible.
Getting vaccinated protects against severe COVID-19 infections, and can lower the risk of long COVID. Getting vaccinated after a COVID-19 infection can also help lower the risk of long COVID, or may help make symptoms less severe or not last as long.
For more information, visit toronto.ca/COVID19 or call 416-338-7600.