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:
If the area you visited experienced a large outbreak, it's recommended you follow self-isolation guidelines for 14 days and avoid interacting with elderly household members or persons in the household with underlying medical conditions.
If you have concerns about an exposure to the virus while travelling, we recommend you speak to your health care professional or call the Niagara Region Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074.
As we enter Stage 3, everyone must do their part to keep each other, our families and our communities safe. Staying healthy through the rest of this pandemic depends on the collective efforts of the individuals, families and businesses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The most effective measures to protect yourself and those around you is to always be mindful of your health. If you get sick, stay home and get tested. Continue to maintain a two metre physical distance from others, wear a face covering if you can't maintain physical distancing, and frequently clean or sanitize your hands.
As more of the province safely and gradually reopens, people are encouraged to stay local, so we don't bring back infections from elsewhere or take it to another region. Support small businesses in our community, shop local and look for products that are locally grown and made.
It's also very important that people at higher risk follow self-isolation guidelines.
You may not go into public areas, go for a walk or for a leisurely drive if:
Let's work together to successfully beat COVID-19.
Niagara businesses looking to get masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment to manage the risks of COVID-19 should visit the Niagara PPE Provider Directory to help you find what you need.
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.
Yes. On Sept. 17, 2020, Niagara Regional Council extended the temporary face covering by-law (By-law 2020-46) to require residents to wear mandatory face coverings in enclosed public places, and on Regional and municipal transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit our face coverings page for Regional by-law details. Learn how to create, safely clean, wear and remove your face covering, as well as review frequently asked questions about face coverings.
Provincial and federal messaging does not state for the public to wear a face shield or a plastic mouth shield as a substitution for a face covering.
Face shields are intended to be used by health care workers and worn in addition to other personal protective equipment. A face covering creates a complete or near-complete barrier on the sides of the wearer's face. A face shield is open on the sides which allows particles and aerosols to enter and exit.
Plastic mouth shields are not on the Health Canada medical device licence product list for personal protective equipment. As a non-medical mask it has significant gaps, particularly around the nose and top of the mask. It does not fit closely to the face and provides inadequate protection from particles and aerosols.
Wearing a face / mouth shield alone does not meet the requirements of the Regional by-law. A face shield may be worn in addition to a face covering if desired.
Yes. As a household member of someone who has symptoms and is 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.
While opening schools is not risk-free, it can be done, with low risk, if cases in the community are low.
It's more important than ever that we're all doing what we can to keep ourselves, our family members, and those around us healthy.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Visit our reopening schools information for provincial guidelines, and resources for school staff, parents / guardians, students and educators.
Everyone should continue to maintain a two metre physical distance from anyone outside of your households or social circle, frequently clean or sanitize your hands, and wear a face covering in enclosed public places and where physical distancing is a challenge.
As of Sept. 19, the Ontario government has lowered limits for unmonitored and private social gatherings. The following gathering limits apply to all of Ontario:
Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.
The lower limit applies to all unmonitored social gatherings, including parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs and wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.
People at their place of work, including performers and crews, don't count towards gathering limits.
Learn more about the lower social gathering limits adopted provincewide.
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.
Some vaccinations can be delayed, but others are a higher priority. Speak with your health care provider or walk-in clinic for more information.
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. Watch this informative video to learn how to find your COVID-19 test results.
There's much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.