Last updated: February 25, 2021 at 10:40 a.m.

Toronto Public Health is partnering with Outbreaks Near Me 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.

Learn about COVID-19 testing in Toronto.

 

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be contacted by Toronto Public Health or the Ontario Ministry of Health to:

  • Confirm your positive COVID-19 lab test results.
  • Confirm your symptoms, and determine when they started.
  • Confirm your ability to safely self-isolate or refer you to the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre.
  • Provide instructions on how you can notify your close contacts.

You can expect a call or text within the first few days after your positive result.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the day your symptoms started or the day of your test if you have no symptoms.

Self-isolation is mandatory under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and if you fail to do this, you could be fined under the Act. Please review information about the COVID-19 Self-Isolation Class Order.

If you cannot safely self-isolate in your own home, you may be eligible to stay at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre.

For your protection, you should take extra precautions if:

  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have a medical condition

You must isolate yourself from others if:

  • You have COVID-19, or
  • You have COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • You have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or
  • Someone in your household was exposed to someone who has COVID-19, has symptoms and is awaiting their test results, or
  • You have returned from anywhere outside Canada, including the United States, within the past 14 days, or
  • You received a notification on the COVID Alert app and you are awaiting test results.

To safely self-isolate, you should:

  • Isolate yourself (stay in your own room) as much as possible
  • Wear a mask or face covering when leaving your room
  • Maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) when outside your room
  • Use separate kitchen/bathroom if possible; if using a kitchen/bathroom that others use, use it at a separate time and clean any high-touch surfaces after use
  • Not eat meals in the same area with others in your home
  • Not share a bed

Follow Public Health Ontario’s instructions on how to self-isolate.

Instructions on how to self-isolate are also available in: French | Arabic | Bengali | Simplified Chinese | Traditional Chinese | Eastern Ojibwe | Farsi | German | Greek | Gujarati | Hindi | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Mohawk | Oji-Cree | Polish | Portuguese | Punjabi | Romanian | Russian | Somali | Spanish | Swampy Cree | Tagalog | Tamil | Ukrainian | Urdu | Vietnamese

Not Tested but Have Symptoms

If you were not tested but have symptoms of COVID-19, and you were not a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you will have to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started.  Household members should continue to self-monitor for 14 days. Household members can continue to attend school or work as long as they do not have symptoms.

If you were not tested but have symptoms of COVID-19 and were a close contact of someone who had COVID-19, you will have to continue to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started.  Household members will need to self-isolate for 14 days and get tested if they develop symptoms.  They cannot attend school or work until COVID-19 is ruled out.

Temporary Change to Contact Tracing: With the high number of COVID-19 cases in Toronto, Toronto Public Health (TPH) is not able to directly notify all close contacts.

 

Notify close contacts who you spent time with while you were infectious (could transmit the virus). People are infectious from 48 hours before symptoms start. If you had no symptoms then use 48 hours before your test date.

When you notify your close contacts tell them they must self-isolate and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from the last time you were in close contact with them.

You should also notify your employer and/or school that you tested positive for COVID-19.

Close Contact

  • You were within 6 feet/2 metres for 15 minutes or more, even if you were both wearing a mask.
  • You had multiple close encounters with someone over a 24-hour period (even if each was less than 15 minutes).
  • You had close, physical contact with the person, such as a hug.
  • You live or provide care in the same home.

Not a Close Contact

  • You had brief, close contact while wearing a mask and/or with a barrier (e.g. plexiglass) in place.
  • You passed someone quickly.
  • You greeted someone and kept your distance.
  • You made a delivery to someone who was self-isolating but had no contact with them.

Note: TPH will be using an online survey to collect information on how people got infected to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our city. TPH continues to investigate and respond to outbreaks in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, shelters, schools, and child care settings.

Resources

COVID-19 causes a range of symptoms that vary from person-to-person.

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 new or worsening:

  • 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 (also available in French), 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.

Monitor Your Symptoms

If you have been advised by Telehealth, your health care provider, or your local public health unit to self-monitor, follow Public Health Ontario’s instructions on how to self-monitor.

Instructions on how to self-monitor are also available in: French | Arabic | Bengali | Simplified Chinese | Traditional Chinese | Eastern Ojibwe | Farsi | German | Greek | Gujarati | Hindi | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Mohawk | Oji-Cree | Polish | Portuguese | Punjabi | Romanian | Russian | Somali | Spanish | Swampy Cree | Tagalog | Tamil | Ukrainian | Urdu | Vietnamese

Treatment

Most people who have COVID-19 will be able to recover at home. Many of the same things you do to feel better if you have the flu can also help with COVID-19:

  • 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

If symptoms feel worse than a standard cold, call your health care practitioner. They can relieve symptoms by prescribing a pain or fever medication.

People with more severe illness may require hospitalization. People who are hospitalized with COVID-19 may receive other treatments.

The Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre is available for individuals living with others who need a safe and comfortable space to self-isolate.

When someone has COVID-19, they must stay home and self-isolate to prevent further virus spread. Unfortunately, some people may not be able to do this safely in their own home. There may be other people living in their household and/or they may not have enough space to self-isolate from others. They may also have an underlying health condition and live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If someone is not able to self-isolate they risk spreading COVID-19 to others in their household, which means it could spread in the community too. The Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre helps reduce these risks.

Eligibility

Toronto Public Health may identify individuals who can benefit from this program through its process of contacting COVID-19 cases in the City. In addition, individuals in the City of Toronto can self-refer through calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600 to complete an eligibility assessment.

You may be eligible to stay at the voluntary isolation centre if you:

  • Have COVID-19 (within 5 days of symptom onset or test date);
  • Are a close household contact of someone who has COVID-19 (within 5 days of the person’s symptom onset);
  • Are over the age of 18;
  • Are a non-smoker or able to isolate for the duration without smoke breaks (e.g. nicotine replacement therapy);
  • Do not have any existing acute or chronic health conditions requiring ongoing medical care; or
  • Do not require hospitalization for COVID-19.

Planning for Your Stay

Toronto Public Health will organize your stay at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre.

If you need transportation to and from the Centre, Toronto Public Health can arrange that for you. You will have free access to a comfortable and safe room along with Wi-Fi, a landline phone, television, and three meals and two snacks a day. Learn more about what to bring if you are staying at the Centre.

You may bring food from home, receive outside deliveries or have family or friends drop off food or packages. You may also receive deliveries from community agencies. Only designated staff or guests are allowed to enter the Centre and so all deliveries are received at the front door.

Hotel staff will not enter your room during your stay. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, your room will only be cleaned after you leave the hotel.

Image of Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre guest room
Image of Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre guest bathroom
Image of Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre check in area

Call the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600, seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. to learn more.

The Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre is made possible through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Testimonials

Read what guests who stayed at the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre had to say about their experience:

Thank you so much for allowing me to come here. I appreciate this so much. I’m really so, so happy that I made sure that I didn’t pass COVID to my family. I have two children that I wanted to protect. My daughter has severe asthma and both of my children got tested and they tested negative. I am so grateful and appreciate that you gave me a place to stay and all my meals. While, I was here I was able to sew my daughter a new dress by hand and a matching red face mask. Thank you so much.

Thank you for taking care of me and for the daily check-up calls to make sure that I am safe and comfortable while here in isolation.”

I have never been happier to be Canadian. I am grateful to have this service to be able to isolate… it is truly a blessing to be Canadian; to have Toronto Public Health and OHIP to support me. Thank you for being here for me today and each day as I move through this uncertain virus.

Resources

Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre Information for Community Members and Providers Video

 

 

 

  • Toronto Public Health (TPH) does not recommend that you get re-tested after finishing your isolation.
    • Re-testing is not recommended because you may still test positive for several weeks even though you are no longer able to spread the virus.
    • A negative test, doctor’s note, or clearance letter is not a TPH requirement for you to return to work.
    • TPH does not provide return to work letters.
  • In general, you are no longer infectious and can return to work 10 days after your symptoms began.
  • If after 10 days you still have a fever, or if it’s been less than 24 hrs since your symptoms started to improve, you should stay at home and not go to work.
  • Even if you are no longer infectious after 10 days, you may feel lingering effects of your illness. Please speak with your health care provider or call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000.
  • If you were admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or you have been told that you are severely immune-compromised you should isolate for 20 days (from when symptoms began).
    • If you never had symptoms, you can return to work 10 days after your testing date.
    • When you return to work you must continue to take precautions, including physical distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands.
  • For any other illnesses, or if you had symptoms and tested negative for COVID-19, you should not return to work until you no longer have a fever and symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.
  • If you are a close contact of someone who had COVID-19, you must self-isolate for the full 14 days, even if you test negative for COVID-19.
  • If you have questions about your isolation period or whether you can return to work, call the COVID-19 Hotline 416-338-7600.

Toronto Public Health is asking people who get tested for COVID-19 to complete a confidential and voluntary online survey about their activities in the days before their test. The survey is part of a new study that compares the activities of people who test positive to those who test negative around the same time, to help us better understand how the virus is spreading in Toronto.

People who test positive will receive a link via email from the Communicable Disease Investigator who contacts them to follow up on their test results. People who test negative will receive an automated text message with a link to complete the survey. The text message will come from a toll-free number starting with an 833 area code.

The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete and is voluntary. Participation will not affect any services that you receive from the City of Toronto.

All survey responses will be kept confidential, secure and private. The survey tool adheres to all necessary security measures for storage of personal and health information in Ontario. The information will only be used for the purposes of the provincial Health Protection and Promotion Act. Survey results will only be reported at an aggregate level and individuals cannot be identified from the data being collected.

Know Where to Get Help

  • If you have any questions, call the COVID-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600, 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • If you need social supports and community resources, please call/text 211.
  • If you need medical assistance, please call Telehealth Ontario 24 hours a day at 1-866-797-0000 or call 911 in an emergency.

Resources

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