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 nearest COVID-19 assessment centre 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.

How coronavirus spreads?

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

Risk of getting coronavirus

COVID-19 is a serious health threat, and the situation is evolving daily. The risk will vary between and within communities, but given the increasing number of cases in Canada, the risk to Canadians is considered high.

This does not mean that all Canadians will get the disease. It means that there is already a significant impact on our health care system.

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

  • 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
  • Have you been on a recent flight, cruise, train, or at a public gathering? Check the listed exposure locations to see if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Difference between quarantine (self-isolate) and isolate

There is a difference between advice to quarantine (self isolate) and advice to isolate. These measures are in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

Quarantine (self-isolate)

Quarantine for 14 days if you have no symptoms and any of the following apply:

  • you are returning from travel outside of Canada (mandatory quarantine)
  • you had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19
  • you have been told by the public health authority that you may have been exposed and need to quarantine.

You must isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are waiting to hear the results of a lab test for COVID-19
  • you have symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild
  • you have been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19
  • you have been told by public health that you may have been exposed to COVID-19
  • you have returned from travel outside of Canada with symptoms of COVID-19

Preventing coronavirus

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within communities and across the country, all Canadians are advised to practice physical (social) distancing.

  • Stay at home unless you have to go to work; talk to your employer about working at home, if possible
  • Avoid all non-essential trips in your community
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Limit contact with people at higher risk, such as older adults and those in poor health
  • Go outside to exercise, but stay close to home
  • If you leave your home, always keep a distance of 2 metres (2 arm lengths) from others. Household contacts do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick or have travelled in the last 14 days.


Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food.
  • Use alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • When coughing or sneezing: cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Dispose of any tissue as soon as possible and wash hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfecting your home if someone is sick (PDF download)

Wearing face masks or face coverings

Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering while out in public is optional. If you do choose to wear one, refer to Government of Canada’s website guidelines on wearing non-medical masks and how to make your own.

DIY Face Coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Masks alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must consistently and strictly adhere to good hygiene and public health measures, including frequent hand washing and physical (social) distancing.


Considerations in the use of homemade masks to protect against COVID-19 (Link)


Think you might have COVID-19?

Take a self-assessment

You can take a self-assessment to help you decide if you need a test.

Find a testing location

Find a testing location and learn what to expect during your test.

Check your results

After you’ve been tested, get your results online.

Screen before school

Answer these questions before leaving for school.

If you are experiencing Symptoms of COVID -19 or would like to know more information please contact:
Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000
Northwestern Health Unit www.nwhu.on.ca
COVID-19 hotline: 1-866-468-2240

Download the COVID Alert mobile app to protect yourself and your community

Get a phone alert if you may have been exposed to covid 19 (coronavirus), and let others know if you test positive without sharing any personal information.

Download Here

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 Ontario.ca.
  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.

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 to section 3.3, “Prescription Quantities”.

If you have questions about the NIHB Program, please contact us by email at nihb-ssna@hc-sc.gc.ca 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

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, watch out for associated scams. Fraudsters want to profit from consumers’ fears, uncertainties and misinformation. Fraudsters are exploiting the crisis to facilitate fraud and cyber crime.