COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Novel coronavirus, COVID-19

In response to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, provincial testing and isolation guidelines continue to evolve. Public Health will focus on case management of high-risk individuals as well as high-priority contact tracing and outbreak management for individuals and settings such as hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, other congregate living settings and institutions, and other evolving groups. Across the province, PCR testing will be prioritized for high-risk individuals and settings. (Government of Ontario, PDF 314 KB)

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (Government of Ontario), assume that you may have the virus. You and anyone you live with must stay home and isolate. Please check back frequently to learn more about new public health measures to respond to Omicron.

Mandatory measures across Greater Sudbury and the districts of Manitoulin and Sudbury

Instructions issued by the Medical Officer of Health

Requirements within a Letter of Instructions (LOI) are mandatory and legally enforceable under the provincial Reopening Ontario Act (ROA). Review the current Instructions issued by the Medical Officer of Health. The time-limited measures will be in place until the situation improves based on ongoing risk assessments and monitoring of key public health and health indicators.

Class Order

Read the Class Order in effect made pursuant to Section 22 (5.0.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.H.7

A plan to safely reopen Ontario and manage COVID-19 for the long-term

The Ontario government has released A plan to safely reopen Ontario and manage COVID-19 for the long-term. The plan outlines a gradual approach (Government of Ontario, PDF) to lifting remaining public health and workplace safety measures by March 2022. The plan will be guided by the ongoing assessment of key public health and health care indicators and supported by local or regional tailored responses to COVID-19.

What’s on this page

Protect yourself from COVID-19

If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911.

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Symptoms of COVID-19

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

For a complete list of COVID-19 symptoms, visit ontario.ca/exposed.

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What to do if you suspect you have symptoms of COVID-19

IMPORTANT: If you have symptoms of COVID-19, assume that you may have the virus and may be contagious. Stay home and self-isolate right away, along with your household members. Learn how to self-isolate. If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911.

The COVID-19 self-assessment tool

Take the COVID-19 self-assessment (Government of Ontario) to learn what to do next and to help determine if you need to seek further care.

Telehealth Ontario

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.

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Testing for COVID-19

Who is eligible for COVID-19 testing?

PCR Testing

PCR testing is prioritized based on clinical and public health needs. If you have tested positive on a rapid antigen test, you don’t need a PCR test to confirm the result. You must isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19 (Government of Ontario).

You are eligible for publicly funded PCR testing if you meet at least one of the criteria (Government of Ontario), as set out by the province, for example, those in high-risk settings such as hospitals, or congregate living settings.

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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, physical distancing and wearing a well-fitted mask.

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Who determines who gets tested for COVID-19?

Public Health Sudbury & Districts will provide recommendations for testing based on clinical and public health needs (for example, hospital patients, ER, long term care homes, retirement homes, corrections, shelters, and other high-risk settings, out-patients eligible for treatment, outbreak management). Health care providers may also recommend testing following a clinical assessment. All specimens from PCR testing will be tested by the laboratory, but the tests will be analyzed in priority sequence.

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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 and provincial testing priorities (Government of Ontario, PDF 314 KB).

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Who is responsible for COVID-19 testing?

COVID-19 PCR testing (the actual lab-based swabbing) is done in a number of different venues in the region. PCR 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.
To find your closest Ontario testing location to get a COVID-19 test, visit COVID-19 testing locations (ontario.ca).

COVID-19 assessment centres

Important: These centres are for eligible (Government of Ontario) individuals who qualify for PCR testing.

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

Espanola and area communities assessment centre

Chapleau assessment centre

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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).

Rapid antigen testing

Rapid antigen testing may be used for screening of people who don’t have a known exposure to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms to identify and prevent cases of COVID-19, in hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, schools and other high-risk settings as an added layer of safety, pending available supply.

Rapid antigen testing may also be used to test people with symptoms to find out the likelihood that their symptoms are related to COVID-19.

Rapid antigen testing may also be used for the purpose of test-to-work; a strategy to support the management of critical staffing shortages in highest risk settings. Through this strategy, staff may be able to return to work when they would otherwise be required to self-isolate or otherwise no attend work for 10 days from last exposure. Highest risk settings considering this approach are to consult with Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

Rapid antigen test results will be provided to you immediately following use of the test. Rapid antigen test results do not need to be reported to Public Health.

If you or someone you live with tests positive on a rapid antigen test, you don’t need a PCR test to confirm the result. A positive rapid antigen test is a good indication that you have COVID-19. Stay home and isolate following isolation guidelines (Government of Ontario).

A single negative result cannot be used to rule out COVID-19 infection on its own. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you and your household should isolate, regardless of a negative rapid antigen test result.

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How does Public Health conduct follow-up after a positive test result?

Case management

When Public Health Sudbury & Districts receives notification of a positive PCR test, our staff or a member of the Provincial Workforce (PWF) 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”.

Due to an increased number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the now dominant Omicron variant, there may be a delay between the time you get a positive COVID-19 test result and when you are contacted by Public Health Sudbury & Districts or the Provincial Workforce (PWF). We ask for your patience while waiting and that you and your household members self-isolate.

Cases will be asked to identify and notify close contacts to follow the direction provided at ontario.ca/exposed.

It is critical that individuals with COVID-19 (cases) maintain self-isolation, including from people living in the same household, to not spread the infection to others.

Contact tracing

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive on a COVID-19 test, tell your close contacts that they have been exposed. It is the responsibility of a person with COVID-19 to identify and notify close contacts and provide them with the direction on what to do next by visiting ontario.ca/exposed.

A close contact is anyone who has been less than two metres to someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes or for multiple short periods of time without appropriate personal protective equipment (as per Management of Cases and Contacts of COVID-19 in Ontario).

The purpose of identifying contacts is to provide these individuals with important instruction on how to reduce the spread of infection to others (for example, self-monitoring, work-related direction, self-isolation).

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Examples of people who are considered close contacts of a case of COVID-19 are:

Not all contacts of a person with COVID-19 will develop infections. The risk of infection depends on a number of factors.

Contacts can call Public Health Sudbury & Districts with any concerns or questions.

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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).

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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:

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How to protect yourself and your family

Simple actions and personal protective measures will go a long way to protect yourself and your family.

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.

Wear a well-fitted mask in enclosed indoor public spaces and when you can’t keep 2 metres distance outdoors. Keep a mask with you so you can use it when you need it. When wearing a mask make sure it fits properly (covers your nose, mouth, and chin).

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 should you become a case and need to notify your close contacts. 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.

If you are caring for someone who has COVID-19, limit your contact with them as much as possible. Download the instructions for caregivers of someone who has COVID-19.

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How to self-monitor

Download the how to self-monitor instructions (Public Health Ontario, PDF).

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How to self-isolate

Self-isolation means you should not leave home for any reason expect for medical emergencies or to get tested. Stay home and isolate away from others in your 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 essentials. Use the phone or the internet for services and supplies where relevant.

These are some scenarios in which individuals will be required to self-isolate:

Visit ontario.ca/exposed for more information on who should self-isolate. Download the instructions for people who have been asked to self-isolate (Public Health Ontario, PDF). For travellers, please visit https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid (Government of Canada) for the latest travel advice, advisories, and quarantine instructions.

For more information on self-isolation visit our frequently asked questions.

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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).

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This item was last modified on January 17, 2022