Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an evolving situation and we'll continue to update information as it becomes available.
The health and well-being of our residents is our top priority, and 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.
Learn about public health measures and guidelines businesses have to follow when reopening.
Travellers who have returned from anywhere outside Canada are required by law to:
It is also recommended that the returning household member avoid interacting with elderly household members or persons in the household with underlying medical conditions.
The host and other household members do not have to self-isolate.
If symptoms develop, call Public Health for testing.
No. It's not time to issue an order making face coverings mandatory in Niagara.
Reasons for this include:
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.
The most effective measures to protect yourself and those around you is to always maintain a two metre physical distance from others and to frequently clean or sanitize your hands.
Wearing a face covering may be an added way to protect others around you, even if you don't have symptoms, particularly where physical distancing may be a challenge (e.g. on public transit, while shopping). Face coverings may not provide complete protection against viral particles, especially if they fit loosely.
As of June 4, 2020, if you are a passenger on a plane, train, ship or taking transit, and you are unable to maintain a two metre physical distance from others, you will be required to wear a face covering. This measure is in place to keep everyone safe because there is evidence that people infected with COVID-19 are able to transmit the virus before they develop symptoms.
To learn more about face coverings and how to properly wear, fit, remove and clean your non-medical face covering, refer to the Ministry of Health guidance and direction.
Face coverings are not recommended for:
A medical mask is a critical piece of personal protective equipment that must be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders.
Yes. As a household member of someone being tested, you will also need to self-isolate, even if you're not a health care provider.
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.
The Government of Ontario has provided detailed information to help keep Ontarians safe.
Ask yourself these questions:
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it is very important to get tested for COVID-19.
While awaiting test results, you must normally self-isolate. However, if you have no symptoms, even mild symptoms, no known close contact with a positive case of COVID-19, and no travel history, but you decided to get a COVID-19 test, you can return to work but self-monitor.
If you received a positive test result:
Based on the latest science and new guidance from the Ministry of Health on May 2, 2020, most individuals who work in the health care field can return to work unless otherwise directed by their employer / occupational health and safety if they have:
Health care workers who tested positive and experienced severe illness and required hospitalization need to receive two negative results, 24 hours apart to discontinue self-isolation and return to work. The public health infectious disease nurse assigned to the case will arrange for follow up testing.
If you received 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. You can still develop symptoms days after your test was taken.
If your test comes back negative, but you begin to develop COVID-19 symptoms, even if they're mild, you need to be re-tested.
Refer to the Ontario Ministry of Health guidance document (page 9) under Health and Human Resources for more information for health care workers who are critical to operations.
Workers in the health care field include regulated health professionals, workers from retirement homes, hospitals, clinics, long-term care, independent health facilities, mental health and addictions counselling.
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 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.
Allotment gardens and community gardens provide access to land (on city-owned or private property) for people who wish to grow plants and food. These gardens allow those without space at home to grow seasonal vegetables. They also support our most vulnerable through partnerships with local food banks.
Everyone tending to these gardens must follow Public Health COVID-19 prevention measures. In particular, all participants are to:
Learn more about how you can protect yourself from COVID-19.
Some vaccinations can be delayed, but others are a higher priority. Speak with your health care provider or walk-in clinic for more information.
You may not go for a walk if:
You may go for a walk if:
Always maintain physical distancing (2 metres apart from others) and don't interact with others.
If you're over 70 years of age or have underlying medical conditions and / or compromised immune systems, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends only leaving your home for essential reasons. This means only leaving home or seeing other people for essential reasons. Where possible, you should seek services over the phone or internet or ask for help from friends, family or neighbours with essential errands.
You may go for a leisurely drive if:
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.
There's much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.