Last updated May 6, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you may be eligible for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Treatment must be taken within the first 5 to 7 days from the start of your symptoms. For more information, visit the COVID-19 Treatment page.

 

Most people no longer require testing to confirm they have COVID-19. Publicly-funded PCR testing may be available for eligible population groups, including for those living or working in high-risk settings. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, take the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment for recommendations on what to do next.

If you take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), please visit our COVID-19 Testing page for next steps.

 

COVID-19 symptoms can vary from person-to-person and may take up to 14 days after a COVID-19 exposure to appear.

If you have ONE or more of the following symptoms (that is new or worsening), it is highly likely you have COVID-19 and are contagious:

  • Fever (37. 8˚ C or higher) and/or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Decreased or loss of taste or smell

If you have TWO or more of the following symptoms (that is new or worsening), it is highly likely you have COVID-19 and are contagious:

  • Runny nose or nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)

If it is highly likely you have COVID-19, you need to self-isolate. Visit our page for people who have COVID-19 for more information.

If you only have one of the symptoms in the list above, you should self-isolate (stay home) until your symptoms are getting better for at least 24 hours (48 hours if you have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea). Your household members are not required to self-isolate. If you are a close contact, continue to follow the direction for household contacts or for non-household contacts. Your symptom must be getting better for at least 24 hours (48 hours if you have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea) before you can end your isolation.

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.

If your symptoms feel worse than a common cold, call your health care practitioner or Health Connect Ontario at 811.

If you have ANY of the following signs of severe illness, you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy or drowsiness
  • Dizziness

If you do not feel well enough to take personal transport, call 911:

The following infants and children should also be assessed in the emergency department:

  • Infants under 3 months of age with fever or trouble breathing or appear unwell
  • Children and infants over 3 months of age with any of the following:
    • Fever longer than 7 days
    • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    • Bluish skin colour
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or not interacting
    • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
    • Fever with a rash
    • Constant vomiting
    • Immune compromised with a fever
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.

Before going for in-person medical care, tell them that you likely have COVID-19.

Long COVID (also called post-COVID condition or syndrome, long-term COVID, or chronic COVID) is when a person has ongoing or new symptoms at least four weeks after getting COVID-19. People who have long COVID are sometimes known as “long haulers.”

In North America, it is estimated that one out of three people (30%) who had COVID-19 will get long COVID. Anyone who gets COVID-19 can develop long COVID. It can occur in people with a mild to severe COVID-19 infection with or without symptoms, but is more likely after a severe infection.

Diagnosing Long COVID

Long COVID is diagnosed when someone has ongoing or new symptoms at least four weeks after a COVID-19 infection that are not from another health condition or illness. There is currently no test to diagnose long COVID.

Symptoms of Long COVID

Symptoms of long COVID may continue from the initial COVID-19 infection, or may be new, change or get worse over time. People with long COVID are not contagious and cannot spread COVID-19 to others, even though they have symptoms.

Long COVID can affect both adults and children differently.

Common symptoms in adults include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shortness of breath or cough
  • Changes in mood
  • General pain (e.g., chest, joint, muscle) or muscle weakness
  • Difficulty with memory, thinking or concentration (“brain fog”)

Common symptoms in children include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Cough, stuffy or runny nose
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Difficulty with concentration (e.g., having new difficulties learning at school)

Other symptoms can also occur. Someone with long COVID can get COVID-19 again. People who have new COVID-19 symptoms should get tested, if they are eligible. Some people are also eligible for COVID-19 treatment.

Treatment and Prevention

There is currently no specific treatment for long COVID.

We do not know why some people develop long COVID while others are not affected. The best way to reduce your risk is to avoid getting COVID-19 by staying up-to-date with vaccines plus any booster dose(s), and continuing to follow public health measures whenever possible.

People who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to develop long COVID. Vaccination can also protect from severe COVID-19 infections. If you are vaccinated and get COVID-19, the vaccine may also prevent long COVID symptoms compared to someone who did not get the vaccine.

Speak to your healthcare provider if you think you have long COVID.

Stay up-to-date on vaccination for the best protection against COVID-19.