What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
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, and 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.
People of any age or health status can develop COVID-19. However, some people are at higher risk of becoming severely ill if they are infected with COVID-19:
Who is at higher risk if infected with COVID – 19?
- Individuals who are not fully vaccinated against the virus.
- Older adults (the risk increases with each decade, especially over 60 years).
- People of any age with chronic medical conditions (e.g., lung disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, dementia, stroke)
- People of any age who are immunocompromised, including those with an underlying medical condition like cancer, or individuals taking medications that suppress the immune system, like chemotherapy.
Individuals with obesity and a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms include:
- fever or chills
- shortness of breath
- decreased or loss of taste or smell
- two or more of:
- runny nose or nasal congestion
- extreme fatigue
- sore throat
- muscle aches or joint pain
- gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you must isolate as directed at covid-19.ontario.ca/exposed.
How do I prevent COVID-19?
Protect your family, friends, and co-workers from COVID-19 by doing your part to prevent the spread. HPEPH recommends all residents practice five fundamental actions to reduce exposure in our community:
- Stay home when ill, as directed by provincial assessment tools;
- Always physical distance with those outside your household;
- Wear a mask or face covering in public spaces, as well as when physical distancing is difficult or not possible;
- Wash your hands often, and clean frequently touched surfaces;
- Follow instructions for testing if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Multicultural COVID-19 resources – Resources available in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Punjabi, Tagalog, Spanish, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Vietnamese, Korean, Tamil, Hindi, Cree (Plains Cree), and Ojibwe Eastern.