Health care providers have a critical role to play to reduce the spread and severity of respiratory viruses in the community, including COVID-19, influenza and RSV. TPH works with health care providers to apply effective public health strategies to prevent infection, manage outbreaks and reduce transmission.

This page contains information relevant to all respiratory viruses including:

  • Clinical signs and symptoms
  • Surveillance
  • Laboratory Testing
  • IPAC
  • Reporting
  • Patient Resources

For specific information on vaccines, prevention, treatment and more, see COVID-19 Information for Health ProfessionalsInfluenza Information for Health Professionals, and RSV Information for Health Professionals.

It can be difficult to distinguish between signs and symptoms of respiratory viruses like influenza, COVID-19 and RSV.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Myalgias
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting (more common in children than adults)
  • Diarrhea (more common in children with flu but can occur in any age with COVID-19)
  • Change in or loss of taste or smell (more common with COVID-19)

In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.

Toronto Public Health’s Integrated Respiratory Diseases Dashboard

  • A weekly summary of Toronto case and institutional outbreak activity for influenza, COVID-19 and other seasonal respiratory viruses.

Public Health Ontario’s Respiratory Virus Tool

  • A tool that provides comprehensive weekly epidemiological information of respiratory virus activity in Ontario, including COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory viruses.

Government of Canada’s Respiratory Virus Detections in Canada

  • A weekly respiratory virus detection surveillance system that collects data from select laboratories across Canada on a number of tests performed and the number of tests positive for influenza and other respiratory viruses.

Routine Practices are required for ALL clinical interactions, independent of any concern for the possibility of COVID-19, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or other transmissible infectious diseases.

When caring for people with respiratory illness, follow Public Health Ontario’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Measures Based on Respiratory Virus Transmission Risk in Health Care Settings.

The recommended PPE when providing direct care for patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19 includes a fit-tested, seal-checked N95 respirator (or equivalent or greater protection), eye protection, gown, and gloves. Other alternate appropriate PPE includes a wellfitted medical mask (surgical/procedure), or non-fit tested respirator, eye protection, gown and gloves for direct care of patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19.

Additional resources:

  • Report respiratory infection outbreaks in institutions and public hospitals to TPH.
  • Probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 and/or cases of influenza are reportable to TPH. Cases of RSV are NOT reportable to TPH.
  • To report:
    • Call 416-392-7411 during business hours (Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm)
    • 311 after hours, weekends and statutory holidays (416-392-2489 for callers outside of Toronto)
    • OR, fax 416-392-0047

Note: Long-term care homes and retirement homes can also report respiratory outbreaks by email to during business hours.