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
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Canadian military would be 'challenged' to launch a large scale operation: chief of the defence staff
Canada’s military forces are 'ready' to meet their commitments should Russia's war in Ukraine spread to NATO countries, but it would be a 'challenge' to launch a larger scale operation in the long term, with ongoing personnel and equipment shortages, according to Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre.
Health officials across the country have stopped short of issuing mask mandates, despite rising cases of flu, RSV and COVID-19 in many regions. CTVNews.ca looks into how each province and territory is approaching whether to require masks in indoor public spaces.
A man went missing from a Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. What happened next might well be a 'Thanksgiving miracle'
A passenger went missing from a Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. Quick thinking and a 'miracle' saved the man's life.
With a seemingly endless list of choices, finding the right toy this holiday season may seem like a daunting task. Industry observers share the toys that caught their eyes this year.
Oscar, Golden Globe and two-time Grammy winning singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie 'Fame' and then belted out the era-defining hit 'Flashdance ... What a Feeling' from 1983's 'Flashdance,' has died. She was 63.
Day 7 at World Cup 2022: Magic Messi saves Argentina; France reaches knockouts; Poland, Australia stay alive
The World Cup action in Qatar continued with Tunisia, Australia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, France, Denmark, Mexico, and Argentina all playing. CTVNews.ca takes a look at everything you need to know from Day 7 of the tournament.
Fleeing shelling, civilians on Saturday streamed out of the southern Ukrainian city whose recapture they had celebrated just weeks earlier as the country remembered a Stalin-era famine and sought to ensure that Russia's war in Ukraine doesn't deprive others worldwide of its vital food exports.
Canada is importing more children’s medication amid an unprecedented surge in demand, but the head of the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association warns that the supply will still need to be rationed if it’s going to last.
After six weeks, more than 70 witnesses, and the submission of more than 7,000 documents into evidence, the public hearing portion of the Public Order Emergency Commission wrapped up on Friday.
Montreal-based Warner Bros. Entertainment release of Gotham Knights prompted calls for gaming companies to properly credit their workers. The issue is one that extends to many leading video game companies.
The City of Montreal will pay more than $3 million to hundreds of protestors whose rights were violated by city police. The settlement will end eight long-running class action lawsuits against the city that allege participants in six protests were illegally arrested or detained by police and were unable to exercise other fundamental rights.
Revenu Quebec confirmed on Friday citizens will start receiving their $400 to $600 cheques to combat inflation in early December. At the same time, the agency is cautioning Quebecers to beware of fraud text messages and emails.
This weekend local army reservists are taking part in training exercises across the province as the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have had to respond to more natural disasters in recent years.
Get ready to lace those skates up, city ice rinks will be opening soon.
Commercial flights in and out of Region of Waterloo International Airport were cancelled Friday after a Flair Airlines plane carrying 140 people overran the runway during landing.
A crash in downtown Kitchener has caused a partial road closure and injuries to a pedestrian, police report.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) is looking for two suspects after a Kitchener business was allegedly robbed at gunpoint.
Throughout the afternoon Saturday, the Sudbury Five basketball team held an open tryouts at Notre Dame College on Lévis Street. Around a dozen people from across Ontario made their way to the city in hopes of making the team.
A Goulais, Ont. based tour agency was among eight award winners at the annual Northern Ontario Tourism Awards Summit this week.
About 17,500 people have now signed a petition asking the federal government to intervene and stop Ontario’s plan to build Highway 413.
The city councillor who represents the Mooney’s Bay area is speaking out after city staff decided to install fencing this winter to prevent people from sledding at Mooney’s Bay Park.
The Brockville community is showing their support this weekend for a teenager battling a deadly disease.
An iconic stopover for students at the University of Windsor is closing its doors after more than three decades in business.
A Bracebridge resort has been convicted of violating Ontario's Public Lands Act, receiving upwards of $180,000 in fines.
The Anne Street bridge project in Barrie is experiencing delays, with the Ministry of Transportation saying it likely won't be finished until sometime next year.
Traffic along Highway 11 in Orillia came to a standstill Friday evening after police closed a section of the highway in both directions because of downed power lines.
A Moncton family is breathing a sigh of relief after police misidentified a body found, but questions remain about how law enforcement made the serious mix-up.
A new proposal from Nova Scotia Power would see electricity rates rise nearly 14 per cent by 2024, despite efforts to limit increases by the province.
Fire crews in the Halifax area had battled a fire at a recycling plant off of Prospect Road Saturday morning.
Twelve new Calgary Transit and community peace officers are ready to hit the streets.
Anyone up for a virtual muffin fight?
Nineteen years after pulling on the Canadian jersey for the first time at the senior level, 39-year-old Atiba Hutchinson from Brampton, Ont., is in line to win his 100th cap, adding to his men's national team record.
Manitoba RCMP are on the hunt for a Winnipeg man after a woman and her daughter were briefly kidnapped near Portage la prairie Friday afternoon.
Winnipeg police are looking for suspects in the city's 47th homicide of the year.
WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have started assembling their forces for a run at a fourth straight Grey Cup appearance.
Police in Abbotsford say they stopped seven people for impaired driving in a span of six hours Friday night, though one of the seven was only arrested after crashing through a fence and into a backyard.
Most of British Columbia is subject to warnings and special weather statements as Environment Canada forecasts blustery and snowy conditions this weekend.
The City of Vancouver is ending its contract with a Downtown Eastside organization that it hired to help keep streets in the neighbourhood clean.
Edmonton transit drivers are sharing images of what they are seeing on buses and the LRT on a sometimes daily basis in the hopes it will push the city to hire more transit peace officers.
Leon Draisaitl scored a power-play goal with 2:02 remaining as the Edmonton Oilers stormed back from a three-goal deficit and beat the host New York Rangers 4-3 Saturday afternoon.
There are plenty of holiday events taking place in and around Edmonton throughout the weekent for people looking to enjoy the mild temperatures.