Last updated: June 19, 2020 at 2:25 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.

Exposed to COVID-19

If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of 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.

Have Symptoms of COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must:

  • stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after your symptoms started. After 14 days, you can stop isolating if you no longer have a fever and your symptoms have improved, but you should continue with physical distancing measures. If you are still unwell at 14 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider.
  • take steps to get better
  • find out if you should get tested

Have COVID-19

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

  • stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after your symptoms started. After 14 days, you can stop isolating if you no longer have a fever and your symptoms have improved, but you should continue with physical distancing measures. If you are still unwell at 14 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider.
  • take steps to get better

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:

  • 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.

Graphics of COVID-19 symptoms: fevr, new cough, difficulty breathing, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose. Other symptoms can also occur. Symptoms can take 2-14 days after exposure to develop. If you're sick, even with mild symptoms, stay home and self-isolate.

French Resource:

If you have been advised by Telehealth, your health care provider, or your local public health unit to self-monitor, follow these instructions.

Monitor for the following symptoms for 14 days after exposure:

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

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.

Limit contact with others

  • Practise physical distancing. This means keeping a space of at least two metres between you and other people.
  • Avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others.
  • Stay away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, lung problems, immune deficiency).
  • Avoid contact with people who live in health care facilities/congregate living settings (e.g., long-term care homes, retirement homes, shelters, hospitals, jails).

Clean your hands

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water and lather for at least 15 seconds.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else shares.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if your hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.

What to do if you develop COVID-19 symptoms

  • Self-isolate immediately and contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.
  • To self-isolate you will need:
    • Instructions on how to self-isolate
    • A small supply of procedure/surgical masks
    • Thermometers
    • Soap, water and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands
  • If you need to visit your health care provider:
    • Call ahead before visiting and tell them you that you have been self-monitoring for COVID-19 and have now developed symptoms.
  • Travel to/from the hospital or health care provider’s office:
    • Do not use public transportation.
    • Drive yourself if possible.
    • If driving yourself is not possible, arrange a ride with a family member, friend, taxi, or ride share. Sit in the back seat, open the window, and wear a mask.
    • If you take a taxi/ride share, record company name and operator number.

Download this information as a PDF.

French Resource:

For your protection, you should self-isolate if:

  • You are over 70 years of age
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have a medical condition

You must isolate yourself from others if:

  • You have COVID-19
  • You have COVID-19 symptoms
  • You may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or someone who has symptoms of COVID-19
  • You have returned from anywhere outside Canada, including the United States, within the past 14 days

COVID-19 symptoms can include: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing. For more information on symptoms see the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms.

Follow these instructions when isolating:

Stay home

  • Do not go outside, unless on to a private balcony or private enclosed yard where you can avoid close contact with others.
  • Do not use public transportation, taxis or ride-shares.
  • Shop online or have a friend or family member pick up supplies for you.

Avoid contact with others

  • Do not have visitors unless essential (e.g., care providers).
  • Stay away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, lung problems, immune deficiency).
  • As much as possible, stay in a separate room from other people in your home and use a separate bathroom if you have one.
  • If you have to be in contact with others, practise physical distancing and keep at least 2 metres between yourself and other people.
  • Make sure that shared rooms have good airflow (e.g. open windows).

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw used tissues in a wastebasket lined with a plastic bag, and clean your hands.
  • Clean your hands after emptying the wastebasket.
  • If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.

Clean your hands

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water and lather for at least 15 seconds.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else shares.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if your hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.

Wear a mask over your nose and mouth

  • Wear a mask if you must leave your house to see a health care provider.
  • Wear a mask if you are within two metres of other people, or stay in a separate room.
  • Ensure your mask completely covers your nose and mouth and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • If a medical mask is not available, a non-medical mask or facial covering (e.g., homemade cloth mask, dust mask, bandana, scarf) can be worn.
  • If you do not have a mask, maintain at least two metres from people and cover your cough/sneeze.
  • If you cannot wear a mask, people should wear a mask when they are in the same room as you.

Clean your home

  • Clean your home with regular household cleaners.
  • Clean regularly touched items such as toilets, sink tap handles, doorknobs and bedside tables on a daily basis.

Avoid sharing household items

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with others.
  • After use, these items should be washed with soap or detergent in warm water. No special soap is needed.
  • Dishwasher and washing machines can be used.
  • Do not share cigarettes.

Monitor your symptoms

  • If you develop symptoms or your symptoms are worsening, and you are concerned, contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.
  • If you need urgent medical attention, contact 911.

Travel to/from the hospital or health care provider’s office

  • Do not use public transportation.
  • Drive yourself if possible.
  • If driving yourself is not possible, arrange a ride with a family member, friend, taxi, or ride share. Sit in the back seat, open the window, and wear a mask.
  • If you take a taxi/ride share, record company name and operator number.

Testing

  • There is a test for COVID-19.  The test tells you if you have the infection right now. The test involves taking a swab from the back of the nose or throat.
  • You should get tested for COVID-19 if:
    • You have one or more symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild.
  • Some asymptomatic individuals may be recommended for testing in consultation with public health. This includes if:
    • You were a close contact of someone who has COVID-19;
    • You are concerned you may have been exposed to someone who might have COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms;
    • You are at high risk for getting COVID-19 through your work (e.g. health care workers, grocery store or food processing plant employees), even if you do not have symptoms.
  • To get tested, find an assessment centre in Toronto.
  • If you were tested for COVID-19 please visit covid-19.ontario.ca and click on “check your lab results.”
    • Results can take up to 4 days.
    • Toronto residents who have issues accessing results, or who do not have internet access, may contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.
    • Individuals without a health card must follow up with the assessment centre or testing physician directly for lab results.

Inform your contacts if you have symptoms of COVID-19

  • Please inform anyone who lives in your household and anyone else you had close contact with to isolate for 14 days from the last day they had contact with you.
  • This applies to anyone you had close contact with up to 48 hours before you were sick and while you were sick.

When to end self-isolation

  • If you had symptoms:
    • Isolate for 14 days beginning when your symptoms started.
    • After 14 days, you can stop isolating if you no longer have a fever and your symptoms have improved, but you should continue with physical distancing measures. If you are still unwell at 14 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider.
  • If you did not have COVID-19 symptoms but were tested:
    • Follow the advice of public health.
  • If you had contact with someone with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms:
    • Isolate for 14 days after your last contact with that person.
  • If you are a health care worker:
    • Follow up with your Occupational Health and Safety Department before returning to work.

Download this information as a PDF.

Public Health Ontario Guide

Read the Public Health Ontario Guide on how to self-isolate (also available in French).

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. The test involves taking a swab from the back of the nose or throat.

You should get tested for COVID-19 if:

  • You have one or more symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild;
  • You were a close contact of someone who has COVID-19
  • You are concerned you may have been exposed to someone who might have COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms;
  • You are at high risk for getting COVID-19 through your work (e.g. health care workers, grocery store or food processing plant employees), even if you do not have symptoms.

Find an Assessment Centre in Toronto

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

Been Tested – Get Your Results

If you have been tested for COVID-19, access your lab results online: Get Your Results

Results can take up to four days. Toronto residents who have issues accessing results, or who do not have Internet access, may contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.

Not Tested

If you were not tested but you have symptoms of COVID-19, please inform anyone you had close contact with to self-isolate for 14 days from the last day they had contact with you. This applies to people who live in your household and to anyone else you had close contact with while you were sick and not self-isolating, and up to 48 hours before you were sick.

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 14 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 are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

Resources

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