Need a refresher? Here's what to do if you get COVID-19 in Ontario right now
Ontario entered a new phase of the pandemic this week, dropping its provincial mask mandate in most public settings.
At the beginning of March, the province also lifted its proof of vaccination requirements, meaning patrons no longer have to show they've been fully vaccinated in order to enter non-essential settings such as restaurants, movie theatres, gyms and more.
As restrictions lift and Ontarians begin to venture outside and congregate more frequently, you may need a refresher on what to do if you are infected or exposed to COVID-19.
CTV News Toronto has compiled some of the most common questions on COVID-19 as the province enters a new phase of reopening:
What should I do if I start feeling sick?
If you start feeling sick, you can use the Ontario government’s COVID-19 self assessment tool. While this tool does not provide official diagnosis, it will provide guidance on next steps.
If you start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you must isolate. You should attempt to seek out a COVID-19 test.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- fever and/or chills;
- OR a cough;
- OR shortness of breath;
- OR a decrease or loss of taste or smell;
OR Two or more of:
- runny nose/nasal congestion
- extreme fatigue
- sore throat
- muscle aches/joint pain
- gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e. vomiting or diarrhea)
Can I get COVID-19 again if I’ve already gotten it?
Yes, reinfections of COVID-19 are possible, while less likely than initial infections.
While reinfection was less common with the Delta variant, early studies suggest that mild Omicron cases don't render enough immunity to prevent future infections.
Where can I get a COVID-19 test in Ontario and what kind should I use?
For a majority of the general public, the most accessible COVID-19 test to acquire is a rapid antigen test.
Beginning in early February, the Ontario government began handing out rapid tests for free at participating pharmacies, doctor’s offices and grocery stores.
To find the nearest location to you handing out tests, use the provincial rapid test locator.
If you test positive on a rapid test, you do not need to book a lab test to confirm the result.
If you need instructions on how to administer a rapid test, click here.
Can I still book a PCR test in Ontario?
In late 2021, Ontario limited access to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 tests, or lab tests, in an attempt to preserve resources.
As of now, you need to be experiencing at least one COVID-19 symptom and fall into one of the following categories in order to qualify for a PCR test:
- Individuals aged 18 and up who are immunocompromised
- Individuals aged 70 and up
- Individuals aged 60 and up with fewer than three vaccine doses
- Individuals aged 18 and up with fewer than three vaccine doses and at least one risk condition
- A patient-facing health care worker
- A patient in an emergency department, at the discretion of the treating clinician
- A staff member, volunteer, resident, inpatient, essential care provider, or visitor in a highest risk setting
- A home and community care worker
- A Provincial Demonstration School and hospital school worker
- Aomeone who lives with a patient-facing health care worker and/or a worker in the highest risk settings
- An outpatient being considered for COVID-19 treatment
- An outpatient who requires a diagnostic test for clinical management
- A temporary foreign worker living in a congregate setting
- Underhoused or experiencing homelessness
- A first responder, including firefighters, police and paramedics
- An elementary or secondary student or education staff who has received a PCR self-collection kit, if available through your school
- Directed by your local public health unit
If you fall into one of the following categories, you qualify for PCR testing regardless of whether you’re experiencing symptoms:
- are from a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community or self-identify as First Nation, Inuit or Métis or live with someone who does
- are travelling into First Nation, Inuit or Métis communities for work
- are being admitted or transferred to or from a hospital or congregate living setting
- are a close contact in a confirmed or suspected outbreak in a highest risk setting, or other settings as directed by the local public health unit
- have written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager of OHIP or are a caregiver for someone who does
- are in a hospital, long-term care, retirement home or other congregate living setting, as directed by public health units, provincial guidance or other directives
How long do I need to isolate for if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12-years-old, you must isolate for five days.
If you are over the age of 12-years-old and are not fully vaccinated, or you are immunocompromised, you must isolate for at least 10 days.
In both cases, if you reach the end of your isolation period and still have symptoms, you must continue to isolate until your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system) and you have no fever.
Am I supposed to report my positive result of COVID-19?
If you test positive on a rapid test, you don't need to report your results. If you test positive on a PCR test, your public health unit should report your results for you.
Should I call a doctor if I test positive COVID-19?
You don’t necessarily need to call a health practitioner following a positive COVID-19 result, especially if you are not experiencing symptoms.
However, the Ministry of Health recommends visiting a clinical assessment centre if you develop symptoms and you are at high-risk for severe illness, or if you have symptoms that cannot be safely monitored at home, but are not experiencing severe symptoms that require emergency care.
If you develop severe symptoms requiring medical attention, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911.
Who do I need to tell after I’ve tested positive?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, you should tell your close contacts they’ve been exposed.
The Ministry of Health defines a close contact as “anyone you were less than two metres away from for at least 15 minutes,” or “multiple shorter lengths of time, without personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first.”
Can I access COVID-19 medical therapies if I test positive?
On Jan. 17, oral antiviral Paxlovid was approved by Health Canada and soon after Ontario received limited quantities from the federal government.
According to the Ministry of Health, patients must begin Paxlovid within five days of symptom onset for the treatment to be effective.
A full course of treatment is three pills twice daily for five days in a row.
Currently, only the followings groups who have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis are eligible to receive Paxlovid:
- immunocompromised individuals aged 18 and over regardless of vaccine status
- unvaccinated individuals aged 60 and over
- unvaccinated First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals aged 50 and over
- unvaccinated individuals aged 50 and over with one or more risk factors
If you think you may be eligible, you can contact your primary care provider or Teleheath Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. Clinical assessment centres can also help determine eligibility for Paxlovid.
Do I need to isolate if someone in my house tests positive?
If you have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days and do not have symptoms, or if you’re over 18-years-old and have received either two or three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, you don’t need to isolate.
Instead, the Ministry of Health recommends self-monitoring for symptoms for 10 days. It is also recommended to wear a mask when in public, maintain social distancing and not visit high-risk individuals.
If you begin experiencing symptoms, you must isolate. If you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, you must isolate regardless of the presence of symptoms.
Do I need to isolate if I’m exposed to COVID-19 from outside my household?
If you are exposed to a COVID-19 case from outside your household, you must monitor for symptoms for 10 days.
If you start to experience symptoms, then you have to isolate.
What should I do if I’m exposed and I live or work somewhere high-risk?
If you are not experiencing symptoms, you don’t need to isolate — but the Ontario government asks that you inform your place of work or residence, and do not attend the specific location for 10 days.
The Ministry of Health defines high-risk settings as:
- hospitals and health care settings, including complex continuing care facilities and acute care facilities
- congregate living settings, such as long-term care and retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, correctional institutions and Provincial Demonstration Schools and hospital schools
- home and community care settings
The Shopping Trends team is independent of the journalists at CTV News. We may earn a commission when you use our links to shop. Read about us.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Donald Trump said Sunday he has decided against testifying for a second time at his New York civil fraud trial, posting on social media that he "VERY SUCCESSFULLY & CONCLUSIVELY" testified last month and saw no need to appear again.
Buckingham Palace released an image of the Christmas card that King Charles III and Queen Camilla will be sending out this year.
A Catholic priest in a small Nebraska community died Sunday after being attacked in a church rectory, authorities said.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is working hard to use a global climate change conference as an opportunity to market the province’s non-renewable resources.
Climate advocate and former Vice President Al Gore on Sunday called into question the decision to hold the COP28 climate talks in the United Arab Emirates, a leading producer of the world’s oil.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault says the delay in announcing details of his government’s proposed oil and gas sector emissions cap is due to its uniqueness and to wanting to get it right.
In a theatre in St. John's, N.L., a murmur spreads through the audience as people timidly raise their hands. They have been asked if they saw their own stories reflected in the film they just watched -- 'A Quiet Girl.'
It wasn't the most uplifting of inaugural addresses. Rather, Argentina's newly empowered President Javier Milei presented figures to lay bare the scope of the nation's economic 'emergency,' and sought to prepare the public for a shock adjustment with drastic public spending cuts.
Dozens of families in the West Island are demanding their money back because the man they paid to do their snow removal never showed up to clear their driveways after the first snowstorm of the season.
While Quebec Premier Francois Legault is calling for 'flexibility' on working conditions in the public sector, unions are denouncing the government's lack of urgency to reach an agreement.
Montreal, Laval and the South Shore can expect 10 – 20 millimetres of rain and about five centimetres of snow Sunday into Monday.
Via a video shared on social media, Norfolk County OPP have provided an update on their ongoing investigation into a hit-and-run that killed a 14-year-old boy.
The TLC Foundation treated more than 40 children and their siblings to a shopping spree at Toys R Us in southwest London, Ont.
St. Thomas police are investigating a break and enter and theft at a downtown business.
Newcomers from Ukraine are having a hard time finding a new place to call home amid the ongoing housing crisis in Ontario.
A pedestrian was struck by an ION train Sunday afternoon in downtown Kitchener.
Police are investigating a shooting in a Kitchener neighbourhood that sent one person to hospital.
A 65-year-old driver from L'Île-Cadieux, Que. is facing multiple charges following an incident on Highway 11 Wednesday evening.
Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu is expected to table much-anticipated legislation to improve water quality in First Nations communities as early as Monday.
Provincial police arrested a wanted suspected drug dealer while on patrol in northwestern Ontario.
It was a sombre morning for Debbie Warren as she joined dozens at Beechwood Cemetery to remember Canada's fallen soldiers and veterans.
Ontario Provincial Police are asking for the public's help in locating a driver who is accused of driving away from the scene of a crash on the Queensway.
Photo radar cameras caught an average of 627 speeders a day on Ottawa roads in October, as the extra sets of eyes on the road continue to detect speeders in school zones and community safety zones.
Sandwich Street between Ojibway Parkway and Chappell Avenue is now fully open to all traffic.
Windsor dad mourned after fatal crash, Chatham man sentenced to life in prison, and Windsor’s newest lotto winner: Top Windsor stories this week
Friends and family are mourning the loss of a 27-year-old Windsor man who died in a car accident on Dec. 2, A Chatham man has been sentenced to life in prison for the “horrific” murder of his girlfriend, and a Chatham woman said she was “stunned” to see she was the lucky winner of $100,000. Here’s a look at the top stories on ctvnewswindsor.ca this week.
The Municipality of Chatham Kent says contractors are expected to be on site in downtown Wheatley as the town moves forward with their plans for revitalization.
South Simcoe Police were out in full force over the weekend collecting donations for CTV's Toy Mountain campaign.
Barrie's Jewish community gathered for a whole afternoon of activities on the first Sunday of a bittersweet Hanukkah.
Provincial police in Orillia say three impaired drivers have been taken off the roads in less than 48 hours.
At the end of a long country driveway a new beginning awaits for 21 individuals who need a fresh start in life.
A clinic that provides primary health care services to Moncton’s vulnerable population is still looking for a permanent home.
Like elves in Santa's workshop, volunteers were busy collecting money, and ticket stubs, for Glace Bay Minor Hockey’s 50/50 draw on Sunday for what could be the biggest draw yet.
On Sunday, 475 children and their families were invited by the Northmount Kiwanis Club to Toys R Us in Sunridge for a Christmas celebration.
Okotoks RCMP are asking for public assistance identifying a suspect in relation to an armed robbery that took place at the Saskatoon Farm Saturday afternoon.
The Tsuut'ina Nation celebrated the unveiling of a new mural Saturday.
A newly-created non-profit group is attempting to give out three times more holiday hampers this year, as the high cost of living leaves many Manitobans struggling this holiday season.
A sporting event putting a twist on one of Manitoba's favourite games has returned for its second year, raising both money and awareness for a good cause.
With inflation still high and the cost of living skyrocketing, some vendors at craft and Christmas bazaars are struggling to market their markets. This is prompting many small businesses in Manitoba to make a plea to purchase locally.
British Columbia has announced a new three-year action plan that it says aims to end stigma around gender-based violence and ensure access to supports.
Workers at the Hudson's Bay store at Aberdeen Mall in Kamloops, B.C., have walked off the job after their union and the company were unable to reach a wage agreement.
Mounties in Salmon Arm, B.C., are asking for witnesses to come forward after a woman was seriously injured in a hit-and-run in the city on Friday night.
A pilot project dealing with problem properties in Edmonton has been made permanent due to its success.
A local charity is looking for some elves to help make holiday deliveries.
No Canadians made it to the podium at Saturday night’s FIS World Cup Big Air Snowboard event at Commonwealth Stadium. But the night saw some snowboarding history being made.