Novel coronavirus, COVID-19
What is the current situation in Sudbury and districts?
State of emergency and stay-at-home order
The Provincewide Shutdown (Government of Ontario) remains in effect.
On January 12, 2021, Ontario declared a province-wide state of emergency (Government of Ontario) to protect Ontarians from COVID-19. A stay-at-home order is in effect requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise, or for essential work.
Enhanced public health and workplace safety measures (Government of Ontario) are also in effect and are anticipated to be in place until at least February 11, 2021.
Locally, we have seen very few cases among school-aged children and at this time the benefits to in-person learning outweigh the risks. We are fortunate that schools remain open for in-person learning in Sudbury and districts. As always, through case and contact management, we monitor our local situation and context to inform our decisions and recommendations.
To continue to keep students, staff, and communities safe, the following new health and safety measures will be put in place for in-person learning:
- masking for Grades 1-3 and requirements for mask-wearing outdoors
- enhanced screening protocols
- expanded targeted testing
Vaccines have shown to be an effective way to prevent disease and limit the transmission of viruses. Find out what we know about the COVID-19 vaccine so far and stay up to date by checking back regularly and visiting credible sources of information.
COVID-19 vaccine bulletin
Public Health is also committed to keeping the public updated on the COVID-19 vaccine. To keep our local communities informed, we issue a COVID-19 vaccine bulletin on a periodic basis to provide timely COVID-19 vaccine updates, resources, and information on local planning.
The Public Health Sudbury & Districts COVID-19 Vaccination Program Playbook provides the essential pillars for the development of plans to achieve a vaccine coverage level of at least 75% of eligible recipients in our service area, within the prescribed timeframe, and respecting provincial direction on vaccine recipient sequencing.
Protect yourself from COVID-19
If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911.
All residents who are planning to travel should be aware that COVID-19 is still circulating at different levels around the province. The safest options are to stay in the area of your home community or to stay in the region. If you think you have travelled somewhere (within or outside of Ontario) where you may have been exposed to COVID-19, call us at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
When you go out, make sure to follow public health guidance—wash your hands, cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a tissue, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, follow all the steps of physical distancing, wear your face covering, and stay home when ill.
What is the current situation in Sudbury and districts?
Fall 2020 return to school
With schools reopening their doors in a pandemic, the focus is on safety for students and staff. Public Health Sudbury & Districts is working actively with school boards in our service area to ensure they have the Public Health supports they need for a healthy and successful return to school.
Face coverings and Public Health Sudbury & Districts instructions
Currently in effect: All persons responsible for a business or an organization that is currently open in the area served by Public Health Sudbury & Districts must have a policy in place to ensure that no one is permitted to enter or remain in an enclosed public space (public indoor spaces) unless they are wearing a face covering. This includes public transit. They must also have a policy in place for enclosed employee spaces to ensure physical distancing or face coverings, where physical distancing is not possible, among other responsibilities. Exemptions to wearing a face covering apply, for example due to medical conditions or age. No proof is required for exemption. For more information about face coverings and exemptions read our frequently asked questions. Learn more about these instructions in our letter to employers (322 KB, PDF).
- Workplaces: what you need to know (244 KB, PDF)
- Community members: what you need to know (163 KB, PDF)
- Frequently asked questions
- Face covering signage, 8.5 x 11″ (214 KB, PDF)
Ontario COVID-19 response framework
Current status of public health measures in Sudbury & districts: Provincewide Shutdown
The Government of Ontario has implemented the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open as a regional approach to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. The Framework will use the most current information about new COVID-19 cases, outbreaks, hospitalizations, and testing rates to determine regional (defined by each of the 34 public health unit service boundaries) public health measures. The five categories include green-prevent (standard measures), yellow-protect (strengthened measures), orange-restrict (intermediate measures), red-control (stringent measures), and grey-lockdown (maximum measures).
Do you have questions about COVID-19?
If you have general or personal health-related questions about COVID-19, use our COVID-19 information request form to submit your information and Public Health staff will call you. Or, try our COVID-19 call centre at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
COVID-19 guidance (related pages)
You may also be interested in (related pages):
- Indigenous peoples (COVID-19)
What’s on this page
COVID-19 call centre
If you have questions related to COVID-19, call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200)
- Availability during regular business hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m (subject to change based on call volumes)
- Callers can leave messages and Public Health staff will call back within one business day
Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- new or worsening cough
- difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
Other symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- sore throat
- difficulty swallowing
- loss of taste and smell
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
- runny nose, or nasal congestion (in absence of an underlying reason for these symptoms such as allergies and post-nasal drip.)
Atypical/less common signs and symptoms:
- muscle aches
- unexplained fatigue/malaise
- delirium (acutely altered mental status and inattention).
- unexplained or increased number of falls
- acute functional decline, worsening of chronic conditions
- conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- difficulty feeding in infants (if no other diagnosis)
- a decrease in blood pressure
- unexplained hypoxia (decrease in body oxygen supply)
- unexplained tachycardia, including age-specific tachycardia for children
- lethargy (lack of energy)
- multisystem inflammatory vasculitis in children (inflammation of blood vessels)
- Parents should contact their health care providers immediately if their children experience these symptoms.
- While the link between this inflammatory illness and COVID-19 is not confirmed at this time, the COVID-19 list of symptoms was updated to include the illness as an atypical presentation in children. Read more at Ontario.ca
Complications from the 2019 novel coronavirus can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure, and in some cases, death.
What to do if you suspect you have symptoms of COVID-19
IMPORTANT: If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, follow these steps:
- Isolate yourself right away. Learn how to self-isolate.
- If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911.
- Find out if you should seek medical attention. Call a local COVID-19 assessment centre, use the online COVID-19 self-assessment tool, the COVID-19 school screening tool (Government of Ontario) or call your health care provider or Telehealth Ontario.
- For general information about COVID-19, call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
Ministry of Health COVID-19 online self-assessment
Use the Ministry of Health self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care.
Call Telehealth Ontario for medical advice at 1.866.797.0000 (TTY 1.866.797.0007). Be sure to mention your symptoms and your travel history, including the countries you visited.
Your health care provider
If you are ill and must visit a health care professional, call ahead and tell them if you have a respiratory illness. You may be asked to wear a mask or face covering while waiting for or receiving treatment to prevent the spread of illness.
- Health Sciences North (HSN) assessment centre
- Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC)
- Espanola and area communities (mobile assessment centre)
- Chapleau assessment centre
Testing for COVID-19
- Who is eligible for COVID-19 testing?
- What does testing tell you?
- Who determines who gets tested for COVID-19?
- What is the role of public health in testing?
- Who is responsible for COVID-19 testing?
- How can you find out your test results?
- How does Public Health conduct follow-up after a positive test result?
Who is eligible for COVID-19 testing?
Testing for COVID-19 is based on a clinical assessment of each person. The priority as a health system is for testing to inform clinical and public health management.
Testing is available for:
- All people with at least one symptom of COVID-19, even for mild symptoms.
- People who are asymptomatic and are contacts of a confirmed case.
- Asymptomatic workers and residents at specific outbreak sites may be considered for testing at the direction of Public Health.
- Asymptomatic individuals from certain high-risk populations may be considered for testing. This includes workers and residents of high-risk settings such as long-term care homes, visitors of long-term care homes, workers and residents of homeless shelters and other congregate settings.
Priority groups include
- hospital inpatients
- residents of long-term care and retirement homes
- health care workers, caregivers, care providers, paramedics, and first responders, including police and firefighters
- remote, isolated, rural and Indigenous communities
- other congregate living centres, including homeless shelters, prisons and group homes
- specific vulnerable populations, including patients undergoing chemotherapy or hemodialysis and requiring transplants, as well as pregnant persons, newborns and cross-border workers
- other essential workers, as defined by provincial orders
What does testing tell you?
The test detects COVID-19 virus in your body at the time of testing. If you have been exposed and are in the early days of incubating the virus, it might not be detected. Testing will not tell you if you were previously infected, as the antibody test is not yet available. It is important to maintain other public health measures such as handwashing and physical distancing.
Who determines who gets tested for COVID-19?
Public Health Sudbury & Districts does not decide who gets tested. Our agency will refer individuals to a health care provider who will make a clinical assessment and decide whether testing is recommended or not. All specimens will be tested by the laboratory, but the tests will be analyzed in priority sequence. Those who are at risk of more severe disease or those who live or work in settings that are higher risk are given higher priority.
What is the role of public health in testing?
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is one agency individuals may contact if they are concerned about their symptoms as it relates to COVID-19. Our agency may make a recommendation about whether an individual should receive testing; however, the final decision to test an individual is made by health care providers, based on a clinical assessment.
Who is responsible for COVID-19 testing?
COVID-19 testing (the actual swabbing) is done in a number of different venues in the region. Testing is done at Ministry of Health funded and approved COVID-19 assessment centres, but may also be done by others, including local health care providers.
COVID-19 assessment centres
Important: These centres are for clients who require further assessment and possibly testing.
- Appointments are required. Walk-ins will not be seen.
- DO NOT present yourself at an emergency department or health care provider’s office.
- Drive-through or mobile testing options may be provided.
Check with your nearest assessment centre for more information and follow these instructions:
Health Sciences North (HSN) assessment centre
Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) assessment centre
- Clients MUST call MHC (Mindemoya 705.377.5311, Little Current 705.368.2300). Calls are answered between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (seven days a week).
- The MHC Centres are open Monday to Friday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Assessment centre online information
Espanola and area communities assessment centre
- For clients in Nairn, McKerrow, Massey, Sagamok, Webwood, Espanola, and Birch Island.
- Clients MUST call 705.869.1420, ext. 4500 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., 7 days per week.
- Assessment centre online information
Chapleau assessment centre
- Clients MUST call 705.864.2568 (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
- Clients must come alone to an appointment unless directed otherwise.
- The assessment centre is open Monday to Thursday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Assessment centre online information
How can you find out your test results?
You will be able to access your COVID-19 lab test results through a secure online portal (Ministry of Health).
How does Public Health conduct follow-up after a positive test result?
When Public Health Sudbury & Districts receives notification of a positive test result, our staff will follow-up with the individual who has the positive test result for COVID-19. A person with a positive test result is called a confirmed “case”.
Public Health gets in touch with the individual who is a case as soon as possible following reporting of the case to Public Health. Public health professionals discuss the test results and explore possible exposure settings as well as close contacts of the case. Instructions and follow up actions are provided based on this conversation.
These instructions will cover how to self-isolate, how to self-monitor for signs and symptoms, ways to prevent or control the spread of infection, and how to properly clean living environments. Public health professionals will also answer any questions an individual or family may have.
Individuals with COVID-19 (cases) will receive daily follow-up by public health professionals to monitor their symptoms and the progression of the illness, monitor resolution of symptoms, and to ensure ongoing self-isolation.
It is critical that individuals with COVID-19 (cases) maintain self-isolation, including from people living in the same household, until told otherwise by Public Health so that they do not spread the infection to others.
At the same time that Public Health conducts follow up with confirmed cases, our public health professionals also begin a process called contact tracing.
Through this process, public health professionals identify people who may have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19 during the period of time when the person may have been able to spread the infection.
Examples of people who are considered close contacts of a case of COVID-19 are:
- people living in the same household
- people having direct or close physical contact with a case
- people having direct contact with respiratory droplets of a case (i.e. shaking hands, having been coughed or sneezed on, or touched used tissues with bare hands)
Close contacts of a case
Once public health professionals identify close contacts, they immediately follow-up with each person individually to provide public health information and direction. Close contacts of cases receive regular contact to ensure they are following any public health direction provided.
Not all contacts of a person with COVID-19 will develop infections. The risk of infection depends on a number of factors to determine the level of exposure. Public health professionals use the level of exposure of each contact to determine the required public health direction.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts will continue to follow-up with both cases and contacts until they meet the criteria for resolution and can discontinue their isolation and/or monitoring.
Declaring an outbreak
Public Health assesses each unique situation in determining if an outbreak should be declared, including, for example, occupation, exposures in the home, symptoms of the case, specific risk factors, and local epidemiology. Learn more about what leads to the declaration of an outbreak in long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other congregate settings in our guidance for health care providers, long-term care homes, and retirement homes (COVID-19).
How does COVID-19 spread
Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace, or health care centre.
Watch this video from the World Health Organization to learn more:
How to protect yourself and your family
Simple, easy, and routine hygiene practices can reduce the spread of germs and help you stay healthy.
Wash your hands as an important part of your daily routine. Washing your hands is your best defense against spreading illness such as coronavirus, influenza, colds, food-borne diseases, and norovirus.
Learn more about handwashing and tips to help reduce the chances of getting an infection or spreading it to others. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or cough or sneeze into your sleeve, if a tissue is not available. Throw used tissues into the garbage right away.
Keeping track of who you see and where you go is another easy way to help protect your friends, your family and your community. Can you remember all of the places you went and the people you spent time with over the last two weeks? If not, consider keeping a contact log. This will help Public Health with thorough contact tracing in the event you get sick. Record information in your calendar, the notes section of your phone, on a piece of paper, or using an app. You can also download or print our contact log.
How to take care of someone who is ill
Download the instructions for caregivers of someone who has, or who may have, COVID-19.
If you are caring for someone who has, or who may have, COVID-19, limit your contact with them as much as possible. Public Health Sudbury & Districts will give you special instructions about how to monitor your own health, whether you should self-isolate, and what to do if you start to feel sick.
Follow the advice of your health care provider and/or Public Health Sudbury & Districts. If you have questions, or you or the person you are caring for start to feel worse, contact Public Health, and your health care provider or Telehealth Ontario.
Special instructions for caregivers (recommendations)
- Wear gloves, a mask, and eye protection (goggles or a face shield) while you provide care or are in the same room as the person.
Taking protection off
Follow these steps when you remove your protective equipment:
- Take your gloves off.
- Wash your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or sanitizer (preferred method). Use of plain soap and water is acceptable if alcohol-based hand rub or sanitizer is not available. If your hands are visibly soiled, clean them with plain soap and water. Wash your hands for 15 seconds (count out loud as a reminder).
- Remove your eye protection.
- Remove your mask by only holding the ear loops or ties—do not touch the front of the mask that was over your face.
- Put the mask in a waste container or disposable bag right away.
- Use a cleaner or disinfectant to clean your eye protection. Follow the product instructions.
- Wash your hands a second time. If your hands look dirty or came into contact with respiratory secretions or other body fluids, clean them with plain soap and water.
Stop the spread of infection
- Avoid sharing items that might be contaminated, for example, toothbrushes, cigarettes or vapes, eating utensils, drinks, towels, washcloths, or bed linen. Do not share a bed.
- Clean dishes and eating utensils with dish soap and water after use. Use of a dishwasher with a drying cycle will also provide a sufficient level of cleaning.
- Clean high-touch areas such as toilets, sink tap handles, doorknobs, and bedside tables daily. Use regular household cleaners and clean more often, if visibly soiled.
- Wash laundry thoroughly using regular laundry soap and water.
- Wash your hands frequently. The infected person should do the same. Wash your hands for 15 seconds (count out loud as a reminder). Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is preferred. If alcohol-based hand sanitizer is not available, plain soap and water is acceptable. If hands are visibly soiled, clean them with plain soap and water.
Monitor your health
- Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscles aches, loss of appetite, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea).
- If you think you are ill, isolate yourself right away and call Public Health. See the self-isolation fact sheet for instructions.
- Follow the instructions below if you need to go to the hospital or if you seek medical care.
If you need to take someone with COVID-19 to the hospital or an appointment
- Do not use public transportation such as buses, taxis, airplanes, or trains.
- Call Public Health if you need to take the person you are caring for to the hospital or to a medical appointment. We will discuss transportation options for you, and we will call the hospital or clinic to make sure they are prepared when you arrive.
- The person you are caring for should wear a mask (surgical or procedure mask) over their nose and mouth, and travel in a private vehicle if possible.
- If you need to call an ambulance, tell them that the person you care for has COVID-19 (coronavirus) so they can take special precautions.
How to self-monitor
Download the how to self-monitor instructions (Public Health Ontario, PDF)
How to self-isolate
- All persons over 70 years of age and individuals who are immunocompromised are advised to self-isolate for their own health and safety.
- All returning travellers to Canada (including those returning from the United States) must self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
This means you should stay home. Do not go to work or school or other public places. Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares. Call on family, friends or neighbours for essential errands or use the phone or the internet for services and supplies where relevant.
Download the instructions for people who have been asked to self-isolate (Public Health Ontario, PDF). This information is important if:
- You have been asked to self-isolate OR you live with someone who is self-isolating.
- It does not take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Treatment for COVID-19
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, and there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19. Most people with common human coronavirus illnesses will recover on their own.
- 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
More tips for self-care
Credible sources of information
Canadians’ best defense against COVID-19 is to stay informed and be prepared. The following are credible sources of information.
What Public Health Sudbury & Districts is doing to respond to novel coronavirus
Public Health is closely monitoring the global situation and working alongside stakeholders to coordinate activities at a local, provincial, and national level with the assistance of health care professionals and other agencies.
Public Health assesses each unique situation in determining if an outbreak should be declared. During an outbreak in the community, Public Health Sudbury & Districts works with partners to implement measures to help keep people healthy, reduce exposures to COVID-19, and slow the spread of the disease. Decisions about what actions to take are made in consultation with local, provincial, and federal partners.
This item was last modified on January 15, 2021