Screening for Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Symptoms

  • Children attending child care, elementary or secondary school

    The Ontario Ministry of Health has updated COVID-19 school and child care screening, mainly the type and number of symptoms needed for a child to stay home for a period of time and seek medical advice.

    Some Public Health units have different rules or recommendations based on local risk.

    Group One Symptoms

    Any child that has one symptom from group one is recommended to be assessed by a health care provider.

    • Fever and / or chills - Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius / 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
    • Cough or barking cough (croup) - Continuous, more than usual, making a whistling noise when breathing, not related to other known causes or conditions. For example, asthma, ongoing cough / wheezing after other symptoms of a cold / flu have gone away.
    • Shortness of breath - Out of breath, unable to breathe deeply, not related to other known causes or conditions, such as asthma
    • Decrease or loss of taste or smell - Not related to other known causes or conditions, such as allergies or neurological disorders

    Group Two Symptoms

    Any child that has one symptom from group two should stay home for 24 hours from when the symptom started. If the symptom is improving, the child may return to child care / school when they feel well enough to do so. A negative COVID-19 test is not required to return.

    If the symptom persists or worsens, new symptoms develop, or the child has two or more symptoms from group two, contact your child's health care provider for further advice or assessment, including if your child needs a COVID-19 test or other treatment.

    • Sore throat or difficulty swallowing - Painful swallowing, not related to other known causes or conditions, such as seasonal allergies or acid reflux
    • Runny or stuffy / congested nose - Not related to other known causes or conditions, such as seasonal allergies or being outside in cold weather
    • Headache that's unusual or long lasting - Not related to other known causes or conditions, such as tension-type headaches or chronic migraines
    • Nausea, vomiting and / or diarrhea - Not related to other known causes or conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety in children or menstrual cramps
    • Extreme tiredness that is unusual or muscle aches - Fatigue, lack of energy, poor feeding in infants, not related to other known causes or conditions. For example, depression, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction or sudden injury.

    Other non-specific symptoms are:

    • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
    • Rash
    • Severe chest pain
    • Having a very hard time waking up
    • Feeling confused
    • Lost consciousness
    • Unexplained abnormally rapid heart rate
    • Chronic conditions getting worse

    If you have questions about COVID-19, call the Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248, press 7, or chat online.

  • Adults

    Adults with any one symptom of COVID-19, even if it's mild, should always self-isolate and seek assessment by a health care provider or self-refer for testing.

    Common signs of infection include:

    • Fever - Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius / 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
    • New cough or a cough that is getting worse

    Other symptoms can include:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Sore throat
    • A runny or congested nose (not allergies)
    • Chills

    Other non-specific symptoms are:

    • Muscle aches
    • Fatigue (feeling weak, tired, exhausted)
    • Headache
    • Diarrhea
    • Lost sense of taste or smell
    • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
    • Rash
    • Severe chest pain
    • Having a very hard time waking up
    • Feeling confused
    • Lost consciousness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Unexplained abnormally rapid heart rate
    • Chronic conditions getting worse

    If you have questions about COVID-19, call the Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248, press 7, or chat online.

Children, Siblings and Other Household Members with COVID-19 Symptoms

If a test is required by a health care provider for the child that has symptoms, or a decision is made to pursue testing at an assessment centre, all household members are to self-isolate at least until the test results are back.

  • If the test is negative, household members can leave self-isolation
  • If the test is positive, household members must stay in self-isolation and will receive further direction from Public Health

Getting an assessment by a health care provider may take some time. Household members with no symptoms don't need to self-isolate immediately after a child develops symptoms. They can wait up to 24 hours until a decision is made about whether testing is needed. If it takes longer than 24 hours to get an assessment, all household members must self-isolate until a decision is made.

  • If a health care provider advises that a test for COVID-19 is not needed, household members can leave self-isolation

When there's a child with symptoms in a household, it's important that special attention is given to all adults in the household. If any adults have even one symptom of COVID-19, or recently had one or more symptoms and were not tested, they should self-refer for testing as soon as possible, or contact the Public Health Info-Line if there are remaining questions.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Virus

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

  • The (novel) coronavirus is a new virus in this family
  • Across the globe, we're seeing 80 per cent of cases having mild to moderate illness. Elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions are often experiencing more severe illness.
  • Currently, there is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses in humans
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