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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
Coronavirus in lung

COVID-19 Questions and Answers

Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive, or you are a high-risk contact.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Some people are more at risk of complications related to COVID-19 than others. Find out more about the current COVID-19 situation in Canada on Health Canada’s COVID-19 page.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The COVID-19 virus is most commonly spread from an infected person through respiratory secretions (e.g., runny nose, saliva) and droplets generated when you cough or sneeze, as well as close, prolonged personal contact, such as living in the same household or working directly with someone who is infected with the virus. The virus may also spread through touching an object with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms include:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • decreased or loss of taste or smell
  • two or more of:
    • runny nose or nasal congestion
    • headache
    • extreme fatigue
    • sore throat
    • muscle aches or joint pain
    • gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)

Are any public health measures related to COVID-19 currently in effect?

For current provincial restrictions, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures. For any additional information relevant to local workplaces, please visit our Healthy Workplaces page.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others from serious risks related to COVID-19. Find information about COVID-19 vaccination on our COVID-19 vaccination page or the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination page.

Is COVID-19 vaccination safe for children and youth?

COVID-19 vaccines have been thoroughly tested prior to being approved for administration to children and youth. Find more information on our COVID-19 vaccinations for children and youth page.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19, or think I have been exposed to COVID-19?

Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive, or you are a high-risk contact. If you work in a highest risk setting and wish to report an exposure, please use our online reporting tool.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

Follow the latest provincial guidance at Ontario.ca/exposed.

How are cases of COVID-19 managed?

Most cases of COVID-19 can be managed at home, following guidance at Ontario.ca/exposed. If you are experiencing concerning medical symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911 and inform them that you have tested positive for COVID-19.

Where can I find out about local cases and outbreaks?

Local cases in certain settings are reported on the HPEPH COVID-19 Dashboard.  Outbreaks in certain settings are reported on the HPEPH Facilities Outbreaks page.

What is the role of public health?

Public health provides guidance to local health care providers, businesses, schools, and the public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Public health monitors COVID-19 outbreaks in the highest risk settings. These outbreaks are reported on the HPEPH Facilities Outbreaks page.

What is the role of health care providers?

HPEPH works in partnership with local pharmacies and primary care providers to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the public. Health care providers also play a key role in diagnosing and treating individuals infected with COVID-19. Health care providers can provide personalized medical advice or answer specific questions related to your unique health needs. Public health cannot offer individual health assessment or advice.

HPEPH is committed to providing evidence informed resources to health care providers. COVID-19 resources for health care providers are available at hpepublichealth.ca/covid-19-hcp.

Additional Resources

If you are not able to find answers to your questions on our website, or through the Ontario Ministry of Health’s, you may submit your COVID-19 related question through this web form.

For additional information:

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Symptoms or exposure? Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.