COVID-19 for health professionals
Resources and updates relating to monitoring, assessment and patient care
We’re committed to providing health care professionals with the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This content is monitored regularly, and updates are made as they become available.
COVID-19 Webinar for Physicians
Earn a College of Family Physicians of Canada credit at the COVID-19 Myths and Realities Town Hall on August 5, from 8 to 9:00 a.m.
Contact Peel Public Health
If you have questions, you can contact us at 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216 and follow the prompts specifically for health care providers.
Call centre hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week.
Weekly epidemiology update
- Health professionals updates
- Cases of COVID-19 in Peel dashboard
- Interactive map of COVID-19 cases in Peel
- Active institutional outbreaks
- Region of Peel COVID-19 page
Symptoms and case definition
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- new or worsening cough
- difficulty breathing
- a range of other symptoms
Refer to the case definition from the Ministry of Health.
Testing should be considered for the following groups:
- Anyone presenting with at least 1 symptom or sign of COVID-19
- Atypical presentations of COVID-19 should be considered, especially in children, seniors, and people living with a developmental disability.
Asymptomatic, risk-based testing:
- For those who are concerned they may have been exposed to COVID-19, including those who have had close contact of or may have been exposed to a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case. If these individuals test negative and then become symptomatic, they should be re-tested.
- For those who are at high risk of getting COVID-19 through their employment (e.g., health care workers, grocery store or food processing plant workers)
Clinicians should reference provincial testing guidance when assessing and managing patients from specific settings and priority groups.
Provincial guidance is provided for specific settings, including:
- facility transfers
- long term care and retirement homes
- other congregate living settings and institutions, including homeless shelters, prisons and group homes
- remote, isolated, rural, or indigenous communities
- workplaces and community settings includes enhanced contact-based testing
Provincial guidance is provided for the following priority populations:
- health care workers, caregivers, care providers, paramedics, first responders, including police and firefighters, emergency child care centre workers and people living in the same household as these workers
- other essential workers, as defined by provincial orders
- cross-border workers
- other priority populations, including patients undergoing chemotherapy, hemodialysis, pre or post-transplant, pregnant persons, and newborns
Despite this guidance, you may continue to use your own discretion when deciding who should be tested. Contact Peel Public Health if you have additional questions.
Provide your patients with the You were tested for COVID-19: What you should know handout.
Direct your patients to self-isolate while waiting for their test results.
Counselling your patients
Refer to our primary care guidance for positive patients to assist you when notifying patients who are not hospitalized but have tested positive for COVID-19.
Refer to our guidance for when a patient can return to work after testing.
Peel Public Health will follow-up with positive cases for case contact tracing.
We will work with your patients to identify their close contacts which include, health care workers, family members or other caregivers who had close physical contact with them.
Testing related resources:
- Peel assessment centres
- Self-assessment tool - Ministry of Health
- Check test results - Ministry of Health
- Virus test requisition - Public Health Ontario
- Ontario testing guidance update - Ministry of Health
- Quick reference guidance on testing and clearance – Ministry of Health
- COVID-19 testing – Public Health Ontario
Immunizations during COVID-19 pandemic
Delays in vaccinations may put individuals at risk for vaccine preventable diseases. Refer to the guidance for Peel immunization service providers for information on immunizations during COVID-19 pandemic.
When you're seeing patients for this essential service, it's recommended that:
- Individuals requiring immunization are screened for COVID-19 over the phone, before their appointment.
- Only 1 adult should accompany a child to the appointment.
- The clinic uses appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when immunizing the individual.
Primary care providers should follow the Ministry of Health guidance document for primary care providers in a community setting.
- All non-essential appointments should be conducted virtually.
- Screen all patients when booking appointments and as they arrive in clinic.
- Refer to the guidance document for the appropriate management of patients who screen positive.
Ministry of Health guidance documents have been created for various health sectors, including:
- Acute care
- Long-term care homes
- Hospice care
- Home and community care providers
- Paramedic services
- Labs and specimen collection centres
- Community pharmacies
- Consumption and treatment services sites
Health professionals looking to restart services should follow the operational requirements for health sector restart.
Infection prevention and control
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Ensure you are donning and doffing PPE correctly.
- Ensure you have more than a 7-day supply of PPE. If you have 7 days or less of supply, enter a request to order critical PPE using Ontario Health’s online Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) intake form. Contact the Ontario Health-Central Region Supply Chain Team at OHCentralPPEInquiries@lhins.on.ca if you have questions.
- Perform regular hand hygiene.
- Clean and disinfect your clinical environment at least daily with an approved disinfectant and after every use by a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Signage for use in your facility
If you develop symptoms
Health care workers who develop symptoms while at work should immediately go home, self-isolate, and contact their occupational health department to arrange testing at an assessment centre. It is recommended that all symptomatic health care workers are tested.
Peel Public Health is contacting all individuals with a positive test result as it is received.
Returning to work for health care workers
If you had symptoms and tested:
Positive - continue to self-isolate and stay off work for 14 days from when the symptoms started. You may be eligible to return to work under work self-isolation 72 hours from illness resolving if you are deemed critical to operations.
Negative - return to work 24 hours after symptom resolution. If you had exposure to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, you may return to work under work self-isolation until 14 days from last exposure.
If you had no symptoms and tested:
Positive - remain on self-isolation and off work for 14 days from the date the swab was taken. You may be eligible to return to work under work self-isolation 72 hours from specimen collection if you are deemed critical to operations and remain asymptomatic.
Negative - if tested due to an exposure, you may return to work under work self-isolation for 14 days from last exposure.
Earlier return to work
For health care workers whose symptoms have resolved and are agreed to be critical to operations by all parties, earlier return to work may be permitted under work self-isolation. Contact your occupational health department or Peel Public Health about testing requirements before returning to work.
- Work self-isolation means maintaining self-isolation measures outside of work for 14 days from symptom onset (or 14 days from positive specimen collection date if asymptomatic) to avoid transmitting to household members or other community contacts.
- While at work, health care workers should always wear a medical mask , use additional PPE as appropriate, maintain physical distancing (>2m) except for when providing direct care, and perform meticulous hand hygiene.
- Staff on work self-isolation should not work at multiple locations.
- These work measures are required to continue as directed by Peel Public Health and your occupational health department
Peel Public Health is actively monitoring all institutional outbreaks in Peel.
We're supporting long term care and retirement homes in meeting their obligations under the Ministry of Health's Directive #3 and Directive #5, which outline required steps to protect residents and staff of these institutions.
Long-term care homes requiring COVID-19 testing and swabs for surveillance testing should contact their LHIN Relationship Manager for further information and support for testing.
Regular specimen drop-off routine should be followed where possible.
Specimens can be dropped off weekdays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Fairview Clinic located at 325 Central Parkway West in Mississauga to be couriered to the Public Health Ontario Labs.
Alternative transport arrangements must be made for specimens collected for facility-wide testing or staff surveillance testing as the Fairview Clinic does not have capacity to store large numbers of specimens.
Properly sealed specimens must be received at the clinic before 11 a.m.
The name of the facility should be indicated on the requisition and the Outbreak Number must be clearly marked on all respiratory samples sent to ensure prioritization at the lab.
- COVID-19 outbreak declared (entrance sign)
- Guidance for long-term care homes – Ministry of Health
- Active screening checklist – Ministry of Health
- Long-term care home outbreak guide – Ministry of Health
- Resuming visits in long term care homes – Ministry of Long-Term Care
- Reopening of retirement homes – Ministry of Health
- COVID-19 surveillance testing – guidance regarding retirement homes staff and resident testing – Ministry of Health
- COVID-19 Testing for long term care home staff FAQ – Ministry of Health
- COVID-19 virus test requisition – Public Health Ontario
- Instructions for filling out the PHO COVID-19 virus test requisition – Ministry of Health
- COVID-19 Infection prevention and control checklist – Public Health Ontario
- Guidance for mask use in long-term care and retirement homes – Ministry of Health
- Universal mask use in healthcare settings and retirement homes – Public Health Ontario
- Control of respiratory infection outbreaks in long term care homes – Ministry of Health
- Webinar on COVID-19 outbreaks in long term care – Public Health Ontario