The Coronavirus Explained & What You Should Do

What is the new coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, causing from the common cold to more severe diseases. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new coronavirus identified in China in late December 2019. It has spread to other countries in the world.

Is there treatment for the coronavirus?

There are no specific treatments or vaccines for corona viruses. Most people will recover on their own and are advised to drink lots of water or fluids, get rest and sleep, and try a humidifier or a hot shower to help with a sore throat or cough. People who are very sick with symptoms (such as difficulty breathing) or at risk of complications, should go to the emergency department or nursing station to be assessed.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of novel Coronavirus are similar to influenza (Flu) and include: fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing. In severe cases, the infection can lead to hospitalization or death.

Am I at risk of getting it?

At this time, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) states the risk of coronavirus to Canadians is low.

You are at risk of COVID-19 if you have:

  • recently traveled to a country affected by COVID-19 (mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea) *Please see PHAC travel advisory website below for updates countries
  • been in close contact with someone tested and has the virus
  • been in close contact with someone with a suspected case of the virus
  • been in close contact with someone who has recently traveled to the affected area and has symptoms of respiratory illness
  • if you are at risk of getting the virus and you have symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider or nursing station right away
  • your risk of becoming very sick may be higher if you have a weakened immune system – this includes older adults and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart problems or cancer

(PDF) COVID-19 Factsheet

How can I protect myself?

You can protect yourself the same way as you would from the flu, such as:

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or arm when coughing and sneezing.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick and limit visitors.
  • Stay away from large gatherings.
  • No hand shakes or hugs, practice elbow greetings.
  • Maintain social distancing, at least 1 meter (3 feet) between anyone who may be coughing or sneezing.



If you are experiencing Symptoms of COVID -19

Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000

Northwestern Health Unit
COVID-19 hotline: 1-866-468-2240

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-Assessment

Take the COVID-19 self-assessment if you think you have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it. This will help you determine if you need to seek further care.

Self-Assessment Tool

COVID-19 Assessment Centres

COVID-19 Assessment Centre’s (assessment centre) are dedicated for individuals experiencing possible symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

These assessment centre’s are by appointment only. For safety reasons, “walk in” appointments are strictly prohibited. Not everyone who attends the clinic will be swabbed.

How to access the centre:

  1. It is recommended you complete the ministry online assessment tool at
  2. Please contact Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) or the Northwestern Health Unit (1-807-468-7109) so they may determine if you require an appointment at the assessment centre.
  3. If you require an appointment, Telehealth Ontario or the Northwestern Health Unit will contact the COVID-19 Assessment Center to identify your need for an appointment.
  4. Our assessment centres will then contact you to schedule the appointment.
  5. Once you arrive, please read the instructions posted, and ensure you follow them.

What will happen at the assessment centre:

  • You will be required to wear a disposable mask provided by the nurse and use hand sanitizer when entering the facility.
  • You are to attend your scheduled appointment alone; except an adult may accompany a child, frail elderly, person with disability, or an individual acting as an interpreter.
  • You will be asked for your OHIP card.
  • You will be screened for symptoms, travel and contact history.
  • Nurses will assess vital signs, such as temperature and blood pressure.
  • Screening will determine if you require a nose swab.
  • The Northwestern Health Unit will follow up with you after your results are received and ensure that any further direction/instruction is provided to you.

COVID-19 Assessment
Centres Locations:


Community: Fort Frances
Location: Community Counselling Building (206 Victoria Avenue)
Entrance: Victoria Street entrance. On-site directions will be given.
Hours: Open (7 days a week 8:00am till 4:00pm)


Community: Rainy River
Location: Rainy River Health Centre (115 Fourth Street)
Entrance: Entrance off Mill Avenue near back of health centre. On-site directions will be given.
Hours: Open (7 days a week 1:00pm till 3:00pm)


Community: Dryden
Location: Dingwall Medical Clinic Building (40 Goodall Street)
Entrance: Patients may enter at the first exterior entrance on the left (old Hearing Centre). The entrance is marked, do not enter the Dingwall Medical Clinic.
Hours: Open (Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm)


Community: Kenora
Location: Lake of the Woods District Hospital (21 Sylvan Street)
Entrance: Entrance is at the former land ambulance base next to Paterson Medical Clinic.
Hours: Open (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm)


Community: Sioux Lookout
Location: Meno Ya Win Health Centre (1 Meno Ya Win Way)
Entrance: Out-of-hospital clinic located in the parking lot at the hospital’s Main Entrance.
Hours: Open (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)


*Hours of assessment operation may change, as required.

Communicable Disease Emergency Plan Template

Word Document Format PDF Format

How to Prepare for a Pandemic Situation

Get Ready

Should you become ill, you would likely need to stay home to limit spread.

  • Gradually stock up on supplies and nonperishable foods over the next couple weeks. Be considerate of how much you need to buy.
  • Make plans for your children or other dependants in case you become ill.
  • Make preparations with your employer and discuss work-from-home arrangements.
  • Stock up on cleaning supplies, hand soap, hand sanitizer, bleach and nitrate/latex gloves.

Fill Prescriptions

Fill prescriptions and stock up over-the-counter medications. Be considerate on how much you actually need to buy.

  • Don’t wait to fill essential prescriptions.
  • Fill prescriptions for an extra month, if you’re able.
  • Purchase pain and fever medicine (acetaminophen)

Direct Link:

If you have questions about the NIHB Program, please contact us by email at or via our online form.


Limit the spread of germs

Adopt good hygiene, and avoid others if you become sick.

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth unless you have just washed your hands.
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your arm, not your hand.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Do not visit people in hospitals or long-term care homes if you are sick.
  • Get your flu shot. By protecting yourself from the flu, you can ease the burden on the healthcare system and protect

List of Essential Supplies

It is important to have extra food at home that provides adequate nutrients and energy. You don’t need to rush and “Stockpile” supplies. The goal is to be prepared and purchase items gradually. The next time you’re at the store, pickup extra supplies. Do this gradually.


  • Fresh veggies with longer shelf life, such as beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, potatoes, yams, cabbage, squash, onions
  • Fresh fruit with longer shelf life: apples, melon, oranges, grapefruit
  • Frozen vegetables and fruit, canned vegetables and fruit, fried fruit, applesauce, tomato sauce, 100% veggie & fruit juice
  • Grains like rice, quinoa, couscous, bread (with a longer shelf life), tortillas, pasta, cold & dry cereals, crackers
  • Frozen and canned meat and fish, soup, stews
  • Yogurt, eggs, hard cheese, non-refrigerated milk, evaporated milk
  • Canned and dried beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds
  • Flour, oil, butter or margarine, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, jam/honey, sugar, granola bars, cookies, spices, condiments
  • Infant formula (if applicable)
  • Pet food and supplies (if applicable)

Sanitary/hygiene supplies

  • Hand soap, alcohol based hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, bleach
  • Toilet paper, diapers, female hygiene products, tissues, wipes, toothpaste
  • Laundry detergent, dish soap, garbage bags, nitrate/latex gloves
  • Surgical masks (face masks) for those who are infected or taking care of ill
  • Floor cleaner, mop and bucket, toilet cleaner

(PDF) How to Prepare for a Pandemic Situation