Updated December 30, 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.

News & Updates

Health Canada has recently authorized the use of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech. Two doses of the vaccine can provide 95 per cent efficacy against symptomatic illness. Even after vaccination, it is important to continue public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Reporting Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI)

Toronto health care providers are required to report AEFI to Toronto Public Health. An AEFI is any event or reaction that occurs after receiving a vaccine. Of particular interest are unusual or unexpected events, or serious reactions requiring urgent care. Use the new AEFI Reporting Form and fax the completed form to 416-696-3492 or email it to AEFI@toronto.ca.

More Information

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


Toronto Public Health (TPH) provides outbreak management, case and contact management support and guidance to Toronto based long term care homes (LTCHs), retirement homes (RHs), hospitals, complex continuing care/ rehabilitation centres, hospices, infirmaries, and other healthcare providing congregant settings.

Disclaimer: Information is continually changing, especially as it relates to COVID-19. In order to keep up-to-date, we recommend LTCHs, RHs, and other settings visit this and other credible online resources regularly (e.g. Ontario Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario (PHO)).

Role of TPH

Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) COVID-19 Directives & Orders

COVID-19 General Information

Other Resources

COVID-19 Prevention & Preparedness

COVID-19 Outbreak Management

Important: It is mandatory for institutional facilities such as LTCHs, RHs, hospitals, complex continuing care/rehab centers to report outbreaks and reportable diseases to their local public health unit (i.e.Toronto Public Health). LTCHs are also required to report outbreaks to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC).

Reporting a COVID-19 Outbreak

To report a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 outbreak weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Hospitals, complex continuing care/rehab centres, call your Toronto Public Health liaison.
  • Long Term Care and Retirement Homes, send an email to LRCT@toronto.ca.

After hours (weekdays and weekends, after 6 p.m.) call 3-1-1 or 416-392-CITY (2489). This is applicable to all hospitals, complex continuing care, rehabilitation centres, LTCHs and RHs.

Outbreak Forms

Case & Contact Management Guidance Documents

All COVID-19 cases in staff, residents and patients linked to a COVID-19 outbreak in Toronto-based LTCHs, RHs, hospitals, rehabilitation centers etc. are managed by TPH.

COVID-19 Testing

 COVID-19 Swab Test Kits and Specimen Pick-up

Reminder: TPH is no longer providing swab kits for COVID testing. Please order swab kits from Ontario health using the online order form.

COVID-19 Lab Results


COVID-19 Surveillance Data

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

Suspected and Confirmed Cases

Suspected and confirmed cases of 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 416-696-3477.

Toronto Public Health is no longer accepting reports of suspect cases of COVID-19 from hospitals and assessment centres

Hospitals and Assessment Centres, please note as of July 1, 2020, Toronto Public Health is no longer accepting reports of suspect cases of COVID-19 from hospitals and assessment centres if an appropriate specimen was collected for COVID-19 testing and the patient was advised to self-isolate until their results are available.

This is in response to evolving clinical risk criteria and to align with the current COVID-19 case definitions and health unit reporting requirements for Diseases of Public Health Significance in Ontario. This is the current approach and may be subject to change.

Hospitals and assessment centres must continue to report laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 to Toronto Public Health at 416-696-3477. As a result of these changes, the COVID-19 online reporting tool will no longer be available.