Long-term care homes (LTCHs) and retirement homes (RHs) can order nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing through Toronto Public Health.

Updated June 4, 2020


Note: This situation is continuously evolving; please subscribe to the Communiqué e-newsletter to receive regular updates.

On December 31, 2019, cases of undiagnosed viral pneumonia were first reported by health authorities in Wuhan, China. The cause has now been confirmed as a new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, which has not previously been identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that circulate in animals including humans. Human coronaviruses are common and can cause illness ranging from the common cold, to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV).

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever (temperature of 37.8°c or greater)
  • new or worsening cough
  • shortness of breath (dyspnea)

Other symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • new smell or taste disorder(s)
  • nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • runny nose, or nasal congestion – in absence of underlying reason for these symptoms such as seasonal allergies, postnasal drip, etc.

Other signs of COVID-19 can include:

  • clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia

For more details, including atypical symptoms, which should be considered, particularly in children, older persons, and people living with a developmental disability, see the COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms.

Toronto Public Health continues to actively monitor the situation in collaboration with provincial and national health agencies and stakeholders that include local hospitals, airports and community agencies.

Up to date information regarding:

COVID-19 Swab Test Order Form for Long-term care and nursing homes.


Note: For the most up-to-date Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) recommendations, please refer to Public Health Ontario’s (PHO) Updated IPAC Recommendations for Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19

Health care settings are being requested to conduct passive and active screening, as detailed in the Ontario Ministry of Health guidance documents.

There is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses.

There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own.

Any Confirmed Case, Probable Case or Person under Investigation for COVID-19 must be immediately reported to Toronto Public Health by telephone at 416-392-7411 (after hours: 311), or by faxing TPH’s Reportable Disease Notification Form to 416-392-0047 (only available Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).