COVID-19 for health professionals
Resources and updates relating to monitoring, assessment and patient care
COVID-19 race and occupation report
Find out how COVID-19 is affecting race and occupational trends. We collect this data to help inform services and programs for those who need it the most in our community. Access the COVID-19 race and occupation report.
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.
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.
Questions? Contact us at 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216 and follow the prompts for health care providers. Our call centre hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Testing should be considered for the following:
- Anyone presenting with at least 1 symptom or sign of COVID-19
- Atypical presentations of COVID-19 should be considered, especially in children, older persons, and people living with a developmental disability.
Asymptomatic contacts of a confirmed case should be considered for testing at an Assessment Centre or pharmacy location within 14 days from their last exposure or notification from the COVID Alert app.
- Contacts who had ongoing exposure to the case while infectious or contacts of an outbreak investigation should be tested as soon as possible.
- Contacts who were only exposed to the case during a discrete period of time should be tested at least 5-7 days after exposure to the case.
If the test result is negative, asymptomatic contacts of a confirmed case must remain in self-isolation for 14 days from their last exposure to the case. If an asymptomatic contact tests negative and then subsequently becomes symptomatic, they should be re-tested.
Low-risk, asymptomatic individuals should not be considered for testing.
Asymptomatic individuals from certain high-risk populations may be considered for testing at an approved specimen collection location. This includes workers and residents of high-risk settings such as long-term care homes, visitors of long-term care homes, workers and residents of homeless shelters and other congregate settings.
Serology testing is only indicated and available for a limited set of clinical situations and should not be used for screening, determination of immune status or diagnosis of acute COVID-19 infection. For more information, access the Ministry of Health’s document on serology results and management of MIS-C.
Clinicians should reference Ontario’s testing guidance when assessing and managing patients from specific settings and priority groups.
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.
Help answer patient questions on the COVID-19 Alert app with the Ministry of Health's Q&A document
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. 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.
For more information, access our immunization and vaccines page for Health Professionals.
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 (HCW) who develop symptoms of COVID-19 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
HCW should follow isolation and clearance with a non-test based approach unless they have required hospitalization during the course of their illness, in which case a test based approach may be used at the discretion of the hospital. Some HCWs may be directed to have test-based clearance by their employer or Occupational Health and Safety.
Symptomatic HCWs awaiting testing results must be off work.
Asymptomatic HCWs awaiting testing results may continue to work using the appropriate precautions required by the facility, which will depend on the reason for testing.
In exceptional circumstances where clinical care would be severely compromised without additional staffing, an earlier return to work under work self-isolation may be considered for an asymptomatic HCW who is self-isolating due to a high-risk exposure as directed by the employer or Occupational Health and Safety.
For more information, refer to the Ministry of Health Quick Reference Public Health Guidance on Testing and Clearance.
- Work self-isolation means maintaining self-isolation measures outside of work for 14 days from a high-risk exposure, or 10 days from symptom onset (or 10 days from positive positive specimen collection date if consistently asymptomatic) for cases.
- 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 until non-test based clearance (or test based clearance if required by employer or Occupational Health and Safety).
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 and retirement homes requiring COVID-19 swabs for testing should submit a request to Ontario Health by completing the PPE and swab kit intake form.
Long-term care homes requiring COVID-19 testing 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 a.m. 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