Niagara is in the 'Orange-Restrict' level of the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework
The health and well-being of our residents is our top priority. We work daily with local hospitals, primary care, emergency services, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, and other provincial and federal partners in response to this new virus.
Everyone in Niagara is urged to:
Limit in-person social interactions to people within your household. Minimize interactions with people who don’t live in your house and one or two persons who are essential to maintaining physical and mental health, such as caregivers and social supports to someone who lives alone. This means you should avoid in-person social interactions with friends, with co-workers when not at work, and with extended family. When dining at restaurants, going to the movies, or partaking in other social activities, you should limit it to your household members.
Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness, however mild. While it's cold season now and many of us are used to mild infections at this time of year, a mild illness could be COVID-19 and may be much more severe for someone else who might catch it from us. By staying home if sick, we protect everyone else in our community.
Restrictions have been issued for food and drink premises in Niagara, including restaurants, bars, banquet halls, wineries and breweries.
As of Oct. 2, 2020, provincial regulation requires children age three years and up to wear a face covering, unless they are exempt. Not everyone can wear a mask and many disabilities are invisible. There's no requirement for people to prove their condition or disability.
The Province of Ontario amended the Ontario Regulation 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3. As a result, the age of exemption for wearing a face covering is two years of age or younger. Where the requirements of the provincial order conflict with the requirements of the Niagara Region face covering by-law (By-law 2020-46), the requirements of the provincial order prevail.
Everyone must do their part to keep each other, our families and our communities safe. Staying healthy through the rest of this pandemic depends on the collective efforts of the individuals, families and businesses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The most effective measures to protect yourself and those around you is to always be mindful of your health. If you get sick, stay home and get tested. Continue to maintain a two metre physical distance from others, wear a face covering if you can't maintain physical distancing, and frequently clean or sanitize your hands.
People are encouraged to stay local, so we don't bring back infections from elsewhere or take it to another region. Support small businesses in our community, shop local and look for products that are locally grown and made.
You may not go into public areas, go for a walk or for a leisurely drive if:
Let's work together to successfully beat COVID-19.
Niagara businesses looking to get masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment to manage the risks of COVID-19 should visit the Niagara PPE Provider Directory to help you find what you need.
No. We're seeing COVID-19 in every municipality. We're all in this together and we all need to take precautions to protect ourselves and our community.
Regardless of where you live in Niagara, it's important for all community members to continue doing their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by following these simple steps. COVID-19 doesn't respect municipal boundaries or land borders. Our COVID-19 statistics show what municipality confirmed cases live, but this doesn't necessarily mean this is also where they were exposed.
It's also important for all community members to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, even if you live in a municipality with lower case numbers. If you have even mild symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and contact your health care provider or our COVID-19 Info-Line to speak with a public health professional.
Watch this video where Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Medical Officer of Health (Acting), explains the municipal data as part of the COVID-19 statistics in Niagara webpage.
Yes. On Oct. 2, the Province of Ontario amended Ontario Regulation 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3. This regulation contains new requirements on face coverings and other restrictions. See Ontario's latest updates to make sure you're in compliance.
Visit our face coverings page for Regional by-law details. Learn how to create, safely clean, wear and remove your face covering, as well as review frequently asked questions about face coverings.
Provincial and federal messaging does not state for the public to wear a face shield or a plastic mouth shield as a substitution for a face covering.
Face shields are intended to be used by health care workers and worn in addition to other personal protective equipment. A face covering creates a complete or near-complete barrier on the sides of the wearer's face. A face shield is open on the sides which allows particles and aerosols to enter and exit.
Plastic mouth shields are not on the Health Canada medical device licence product list for personal protective equipment. As a non-medical mask it has significant gaps, particularly around the nose and top of the mask. It does not fit closely to the face and provides inadequate protection from particles and aerosols.
Wearing a face / mouth shield alone does not meet the requirements of the Regional by-law. A face shield may be worn in addition to a face covering if desired.
Yes. As a household member of someone who has symptoms and is being tested, you will also need to self-isolate.
Your self-isolation will continue until your household member gets a negative test result. This is recommended because people can transmit the infection before they develop symptoms, and it's important to rule out that you may have been exposed.
No. Regularly washing your bare hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer offers more protection against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
You can still pick up COVID-19 contamination on rubber gloves. If you then touch your face, the contamination goes from your glove to your face and can infect you.
Gloves are recommended for specific situations like caring for sick individuals or to prepare some food safety. If you decide to wear gloves:
It's not certain how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Preliminary information on COVID-19 suggests that the virus may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days depending on:
High touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Clean your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitize. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Products shipped within or from outside of Canada could also be contaminated. However, because packages usually take days or weeks to be delivered, and are shipped at room temperature, the risk of spread is low. There is no known risk of coronaviruses entering Canada on parcels or packages.
You must self-isolate if you fall under one of the following:
Watch this video where Dr. Hirji explains the difference between self-isolating and co-isolating in a household.
When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you're sick. Service animals are permitted to remain with their handlers.
If you're sick with COVID-19 and must care for your pet, wash your hands before and after interacting with your pet(s), and wear a face covering.
The only people in the household should be those who are responsible for providing care to the sick person.
People who are not taking care of the sick person should make arrangements to live somewhere else until the sick person is better. If this is not possible, other people in the home should stay in another room or be separated from the sick person.
Watch this video where they explain the contact tracing process Public Health performs with every positive COVID-19 case from Dr. Hirji and Sandra, a nurse from the infectious disease program.
Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily.
Public Health recommends that any child with symptoms of COVID-19 who fails screening remain at home. If symptoms develop at school or child care, they should return home as soon as possible. Then, next steps depend on the type of symptoms, as outlined in the Ontario government’s COVID-19 school and child care screening tool.
If anyone fails the school / child care screening or refuses to answer, they should NOT enter the building. They should return home to self-isolate. The next steps are a bit different for adults and children.
Children (includes children in child care, elementary and secondary school)
Yes. If a decision is made for testing, all siblings and family members who live with the child are to remain home and self-isolate until a negative result is received. If a negative result is received, siblings and family members can return to school / work.
Your child should stay out of school or child care until 24 hours after their symptoms have resolved or 10 days have passed since their symptoms started (whichever is shorter), as long as the child does not have a fever and symptoms are improving.
A note from your health care provider is not required for your child to return to school / child care. Parent / guardian confirmation is sufficient.
If your child was not assessed by a health care provider, or testing for COVID-19 was declined for any reason, we must assume the child has COVID-19. The entire household is to stay home and self-isolate for 10 days.
Niagara Region Public Health will provide further direction and support to confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and their close contacts. We will contact you.
Positive infected children are to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days after their symptoms started. Household contacts also need to self-isolate and will be provided further direction by Public Health.
The decision regarding masks / face coverings was made by the Ministry of Education.
Not everyone can wear a mask and many disabilities are invisible. Exemptions are given for those who have health or other conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering. If you would like to request a face covering exemption for a child, contact the school principal. Niagara Region Public Health doesn't give exemptions.
Travellers who have returned from anywhere outside Canada are required by law to:
If you have concerns about an exposure to the virus while travelling, we recommend you speak to your health care professional or call the Niagara Region Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074.
If you were tested as a result of having COVID-19 symptoms, even if they were mild symptoms, you must self-isolate while awaiting your test results.
Individuals must self-isolate for at least 14 days:
If you received a positive test result:
Anyone with a positive test result will be contacted by Public Health to determine the period of self-isolation. In general, there is a minimum 10 day self-isolation period after symptoms started.
If you received a negative test result:
You can return to work when one of the following conditions are met:
If you have travelled internationally or had contact with a case, you will still need to self-isolate for at least 14 days from your return to Canada or your last contact with the person with COVID-19, even with a negative test result.
It's important to remember that a COVID-19 test is only a snapshot of your health on the specific date and time the swab was taken. No testing is perfect and a negative result doesn't mean you haven't been exposed to COVID-19. If your symptoms worsen, another test may be required and it's important to contact a health care provider.
You can return to work, but self-monitor if you:
Some of the mild symptoms of COVID-19, such as a runny or congested nose, headaches or diarrhea can be attributed to other pre-existing health conditions.
It's important to seek guidance from a health care provider or self-refer for testing at a Niagara Health COVID-19 Assessment Centre if you have even one mild symptom associated with COVID-19. There is specific guidance for children with symptoms.
Niagara Health does the majority of Niagara's COVID-19 testing at their assessment centres. Niagara Health's testing numbers don't account for the testing done by other doctor's offices in our community, for example in:
Also, some Niagara residents seek testing outside of Niagara. For example, West Niagara residents are tested at the Stoney Creek Assessment Centre.
We work with our health care partners to test anyone who might be a case of COVID-19, even if they have unusual or mild symptoms. We want to find every case of COVID-19 in Niagara so that we can isolate them, isolate their contacts and stop every chain of transmission.
Community members who have symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and contact their health care professional or self-refer for testing at an assessment centre. See specific guidance for adults and children with symptoms.
If there are remaining questions, call our COVID-19 Info-Line to speak with a public health professional by calling 905-688-8248, then press 2.
Community members who have symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and contact their health care professional or call our COVID-19 Info-line to speak with a public health professional by calling 905-688-8248 press 7, then press 2.
For more information about testing in Niagara, we encourage you to watch this video from Dr. Hirji.
Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about safe handling of deliveries and mail.
Some vaccinations can be delayed, but others are a higher priority. Speak with your health care provider or walk-in clinic for more information.
We encourage you to call your local public health agency. The COVID-19 recommendations in Niagara may be different from where you live. Recommendations can vary based on the demographics of each region and the Medical Officer of Health leading the COVID-19 response.
Our COVID-19 webpage is updated daily at noon.
To access your lab results, visit testing and lab results for COVID-19. Watch this informative video to learn how to find your COVID-19 test results.
Niagara Region Public Health monitors flu (influenza) activity. The number of cases of the flu has remained low so far this year because:
However, there are also years where we don't see much flu until December or January, so we should all take precautions and remain vigilant to keep flu low while we're busy fighting COVID-19.
Yes, depending on which test is used. Your health care provider will pick the test that's right for your health needs.
Some of the tests used to detect COVID-19 also detect other respiratory viruses. One of them is influenza, commonly called the flu. Other tests detect only COVID-19.
Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu, and it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. You may need a COVID-19 test to help confirm a COVID-19 or influenza diagnosis.