Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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We are responding to calls from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call: 1-800-563-2808

Risk Level to Canadians:

There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians: aged 65 and over, individuals with weakened immune systems, and individuals with underlying medical conditions. There are also increased health risks for Canadian travellers abroad. Because of these risks, the Government of Canada advises you to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. This includes cruise ships.

Cases in Our District

Case counts are updated at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Updated: March 31, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

COVID-19 Case Status Count
Positive Confirmed Case 4
Repatriated Confirmed Case 2
Total Confirmed Cases 6

Status of cases

A list of confirmed positive cases in the Health Unit district and their current status are available on our COVID-19 Cases page.

Testing Status

Test counts are updated Monday to Friday.

Updated: March 30, 2020 at 5:25 p.m.

COVID-19 Testing in Health Unit Region Count
Negative result for COVID-19  157
Pending result 1  112
Total tested 2  275

1 Due to the volume of testing across the province, current turnaround time is 4 – 6 business days from when the specimen is received by the laboratory. There are currently four laboratories in Ontario processing COVID-19 tests.

2 Of which the Health Unit is aware.

Health Unit News

Dr. Chirico, Medical Officer of Health Speaks to the First Case in our District

March 26, 2020

Status of Cases in Ontario

The Ministry of Health updates their website every weekday at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. EST with the most up-to-date information on the status of cases in Ontario. 

When to Call the Health Unit 

If you develop a fever, cough and/or have shortness of breath AND within 14 days have traveled to an impacted area OR, had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, OR close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to an impacted area - isolate yourself from others immediately and call the Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808.

Self-assessment tool

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment tool can help you determine if you need to seek further care.

Protect Yourself 

Simple, easy and routine hygiene practices can reduce the spread of germs and help protect your health:

  • 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

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick

  • Practice physical distancing - this means putting distance between yourself and other people this is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick
  • Stay home if you are sick

  • Clean high touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach

  • Change how you greet one another - instead of a handshake, hug or kiss give a friendly wave from at least 2 meters away

  • Self-monitor and if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing consult this self assessment tool

Also, take a few simple, practical steps to prepare yourself and your household.

Health Canada is advising the public, as well as healthcare professionals (HCPs) to use caution when considering the use of homemade masks to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

Testing and Symptoms 


Individuals are encouraged to call their health care provider or the Health Unit if they believe they may have or been exposed to COVID-19. 
An assessment for COVID-19 will be done by a primary health care provider, they will then decide if a test for COVID-19 is required. Considerations include an individual with a fever – over 38 degrees Celsius – and/or a cough and any of the following exposures within 14 days prior to onset of illness: 

  • Travelled outside of Canada or 

  • Was in close contact with a confirmed or possible case of COVID-19 (determined by a health care professional) or 

  • Was in close contact with a person who has been to an impacted area and has breathing issues (acute respiratory illness) 

Once a specimen is taken, it is transported to one of four labs in the province for testing. The current turnaround time for test results, is approximately 4-6 business days from when the specimen is received by the laboratory. You will receive a call whether the results are positive or negative. 

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and, at this time, there is no vaccine. It is important to remember that four out of five people with COVID-19 have no symptoms or mild symptoms. People who are mildly ill should isolate and care for themselves at home. Most will recover in one to two weeks by simply treating the symptoms.


Symptoms of COVID-19 positive cases have ranged from mild to severe illness and death.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

If you show mild symptoms and have called the Health Unit or your health care provider you should:

  • Stay at home
  • Self-isolate (limit your contact with other people)
  • 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 you develop severe symptoms call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. Severe symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Make sure you mention your travel history and symptoms.

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

It is recommended that individuals monitor their own health before visiting older family members, and do not visit if they are feeling unwell. People of all ages can be affected by COVID-19, however, older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as, asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are more likely to become severely ill.

COVID-19 mainly spreads by person-to-person contact (within 2 meters) and usually through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is recommended to practice physical distancing.

It may be possible for a person to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands frequently, using alcohol based hand sanitizers, not touching your face, eyes or mouth, coughing/sneezing into your sleeve, and clean frequently touched surfaces with regular household cleaners.

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.

Watch this video from the World Health Organization to learn more:

Myths about COVID-19

Unsure what to believe?

Visit the World Health Organization's COVID-19 myth busters page for the facts.

Higher Risk Individuals

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.

Higher risk individuals may include:

  • An older adult
  • Anyone at risk due to underlying medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer)
  • Anyone at risk due to compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment (e.g. chemotherapy)
  • Anyone who has difficulty communicating, accessing health services, doing preventative activities, ongoing supervision needs or barriers to transportation
  • Anyone who has economic barriers, unstable employment or inflexible working conditions, social or geographic isolation, or insecure/inadequate/non-existent housing conditions

Organizations, staff and volunteers play an important role in helping to prevent these populations from getting or spreading the COVID-19 virus. Start by sharing simple things they can do to help keep themselves and others healthy, guide them to help if they develop any signs and symptoms and learn ways to help care for sick clients recovering from COVID-19: Vulnerable Populations and COVID-19 Fact Sheet

How the Health Unit is Preparing 

Our top priority is the health and safety of individuals in our district.

The Health Unit works closely with the Ministry of Health and the hospitals to ensure ongoing monitoring of the situation. The Health Unit is planning for all possible scenarios and will base our response on evidence as the science of the novel coronavirus continues to emerge.

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More Information

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345 Oak Street West

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302

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17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)