Through vaccination and other public health measures, we're making progress in ending this pandemic.
Thank you to everyone who has taken action to stay safe. You're making a huge difference in protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your community.
We haven't reached herd immunity (the immunity of a population against a specific infectious disease). This means that:
We've learned that some people who are fully vaccinated can still get COVID-19. The good news is that these breakthrough cases are uncommon and when they do happen, they're usually mild. More importantly:
We know you want to have safe gatherings with people you don't live with indoors. With fall and winter approaching, remember:
Public Health clinics are available by appointment or walk-in. See booking and walk-in information.
COVID-19 is still spreading in Niagara. It's important that we get vaccinated and practise behaviours to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Learn about the COVID-19 vaccine.
We must all do our part to keep each other, our families and our communities safe. Staying healthy through this pandemic depends on our collective efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
You may not go into public areas, go for a walk or for a leisurely drive if:
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.
Learn about who is required to self-isolate.
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.
The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada. Read about current travel restrictions.
If you're a traveller returning from anywhere outside Canada, you're required by law to:
Fully vaccinated travellers must use ArriveCAN to enter their proof of vaccination. Learn about providing proof of vaccination.
Find out how to get tested in Niagara if you started developing symptoms at home.
Travel out of the province should be for essential purposes only.
There are currently travel restrictions and exemptions when moving between most other provinces and territories. When you enter another province or territory, there may also be additional restrictions and public health measures that you must follow. Check with local authorities at your final destination before leaving Ontario.
Learn about Ontario’s travel restrictions and recommendations.
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.
Individuals can leave home to travel. Remember, nothing is zero risk. Even if you are partially or completely vaccinated, it is important to follow public health measures. If you are ill, you should not travel even if your symptoms are mild. Also be aware of local restrictions that may be in place in other regions.
All viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, mutate over time. A virus with one or more mutations is a variant. Some mutations can change the characteristics '' of a virus, such as how it spreads, making it a variant of concern. COVID-19 variants of concern include:
You can see Niagara's daily case count for these variants.
We're concerned about these variants because they:
All variants may increase the risk of re-infection for people who already had COVID-19.
All Health Canada approved vaccines provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant.
Niagara Region Public Health doesn't recommend that employers require testing or doctor's notes for return to work. Some individuals will continue to test positive for COVID-19 for many months, long after they're no longer contagious.
For more information, see:
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.
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.
For information on how to access your test results, visit testing and lab results for COVID-19 or watch this video to learn how to find your COVID-19 test results.
The virus transmits from person to person through coughing and sneezing, just like the common cold or flu.
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.