About COVID-19


Protect Yourself

Protect your health and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community by using these simple, easy and routine practices:
  • Practice physical distancing – stay 2 metres from those who are outside of your social circle (up to 10 people)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge and in enclosed public spaces, unless exempt
  • Clean high touch surfaces frequently
  • Avoid contact with people who have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, immediately isolate yourself and arrange to be tested.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): What you need to know to help you and your family stay healthy

Can people who recover from COVID-19 get it again?

It is not yet known if a person can get COVID-19 more than once. To protect yourself and others, the Health Unit recommends that people who recover from COVID-19 continue to practice physical distancing and prevention practices (e.g., hand washing).

Higher Risk Individuals

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, strongly recommends that individuals over the age of 70, individuals who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions self-isolate. 


Symptoms of COVID-19, which is the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, range from mild — like the flu and other common respiratory infections — to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Call 911 if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words)
  • severe chest pain (constant tightness or crushing sensation)
  • feeling confused or unsure of where you are
  • losing consciousness

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • chills
  • cough that's new or worsening (continuous, more than usual)
  • barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup)
  • shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)
  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • runny, stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)
  • lost sense of taste or smell
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • headache that’s unusual or long lasting
  • digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain)
  • muscle aches
  • extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy)
  • falling down often
  • for young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite

Complications from COVID-19 can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure and, in some cases, death.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs.

They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • Respiratory droplets generated when you 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

How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Can the virus survive on my groceries?

At this time, food has not been identified as a mode of transmission for COVID-19.

You should always handle and prepare food safely. This includes:

  • wash your hands before and after you handle groceries and packaging
  • wash fruits and vegetables before preparation and consumption

For more information on proper food handling practices visit our food safety page.

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