Information, awareness, advice, concerns


Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause respiratory illness in people, ranging from mild common colds to severe cases of pneumonia, while others cause illness in animals only. Novel coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.

Source: World Health Organization
COVID-19 is believed to be spread most commonly from an infected person through:
  • Respiratory droplets generated when they cough or sneeze
  • Close, prolonged personal contact such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Symptoms for COVID-19 are similar to those for influenza or other respiratory illnesses. The most common symptoms include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Less common symptoms can include extreme tiredness, sore throat, and runny nose

Most people (about 80%) recover from this disease without needing special treatment, but it can also cause serious illness. Those who are older and those with other medical problems are more likely to develop serious illness, which can include difficulty breathing and pneumonia; there is also a risk of death in severe cases

While we are still learning about how COVID-19 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, active cancer, dialysis, or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others

Source: Public Health Ontario
At this time, there is no vaccine, medication, or natural health products that have evidence of protecting against COVID-19. We would encourage you to practice “social distancing”: Stay home as much as possible, refrain from attending large gatherings of people, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer made up of at least 60% alcohol), avoid touching your eyes nose or mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and avoid all non-essential travel

As well, clean high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water): such as toys, toilets, phones, electronics, door handles, bedside tables, and television remotes

For a list of cleaners and disinfectants effective against COVID-19, refer to the following Government of Canada resource: List of hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19)

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If you are seeking help for mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms, you can contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, your local public health unit, or your primary care provider, but know that there are no treatments at this time and you will be instructed to stay home and practice methods of social distancing (described below). Do not visit an assessment centre unless you have been referred by a healthcare professional.

If you are seriously ill or experiencing severe symptoms (severe shortness of breath, chest pain, serious weakness or lethargy that impairs the ability to carry out your regular activities) call your healthcare provider for medical advice. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.

Sources: Government of OntarioCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Social distancing is used to minimize COVID-19 transmission in the community. This means minimizing close contact with others during the peak of an outbreak. Where possible, we would encourage you to: avoid public transit, stay 6 feet away from others, reduce your exposure in the community by avoiding areas such as shopping malls, recreation centers, movie theatres, and avoid social gatherings. Overall, try to limit your exposure outside the home.
While diseases can make anyone sick, some Canadians are more at risk of getting an infection and developing severe complications due to their health, social and economic circumstances.
Vulnerable populations may include anyone who is:
  • an older adult
  • has underlying medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer)
  • at risk due to a compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment (e.g. chemotherapy)
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
A person:
    • with fever (over 38 degrees Celsius) and/or new onset of (or exacerbation of chronic) cough
  • who meets the COVID-19 exposure criteria where:
    • In the 14 days before onset of illness, a person who has: travelled to an affected area OR has had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 OR had close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to an affected area within 14 days prior to their illness onset OR had laboratory exposure to biological material (e.g. primary clinical specimens, virus culture isolates) known to contain COVID-19.
  • in whom laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is:
    • inconclusive
    • negative (if specimen quality or timing is suspect)
    • positive but not confirmed by the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) or a provincial public health laboratory by nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT).
  • at risk due to a compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment (e.g. chemotherapy)

Note: A close contact is defined as a person who provided care for the patient, including healthcare workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact or who lived with or otherwise had close prolonged contact with a probable or confirmed case while the case was ill.

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada


A person with laboratory confirmation of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is performed at a reference laboratory (NML or a provincial public health laboratory), and consists of positive nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) on at least two specific genome targets or a single positive target with nucleic acid sequencing.

Positive laboratory tests at a non-reference laboratory require additional testing at a reference laboratory for confirmation.

Note: Nucleic acid amplification tests must be validated for detection of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Note: Laboratory tests are evolving for this emerging pathogen, and laboratory testing recommendations will change accordingly as new assays are developed and validated.

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
Our team is advised by an intensivist, Dr. Jain, as well as Dr. Bhuyian, Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research. We are also working with Internationally Trained Medical Doctors (ITMD’s) and public health networks affiliated with Dr. Bhuyian. We have had Dr. Jain, 36 ITMD’s, Dr. Bhuyian, and public health experts provide us with the guidance necessary to ask the right questions and ensure we provide the right information for Canadians today to help flatten the curve.

Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment

Government of Canada Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Outbreak Updates

World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Advice

Successful completion of the external quality assessment.