COVID-19: what you need to know

Please note: the most recent update to this post is April 2nd, 2020.


We’re receiving daily updates from the Ministry of Health, and are following their guidelines to help prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

This means there have been some changes to our services and programs: we’ve moved most of our health services to virtual care, suspended our sexual health drop-in clinic on Saturdays until further notice, and cancelled all workshops moving forward. To find out which services are still available via telemedicine or virtual care, give us a call at 416-961-0113.

So what do you need to know about it, and how can you prevent the spread of it?

what is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a big family of different viruses that can make you sick. They can show up in the form a cold or flu, but can also cause more serious respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia or severe acute respiratory syndrome. Symptoms can involve a fever, a cough or sore throat, and difficulty breathing.

You can find more info and answers to frequently asked questions at

what if I’ve recently traveled?

If you’ve recently traveled internationally, you should pay special attention to how you’re feeling for the next couple weeks. If you start to feel sick, you should call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000) and Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7660 (or your local public health unit) and let them know your symptoms and travel history.

To find more information on the recent non-essential travel advisory, please click here: 

what can I do to protect myself?

COVID-19 is mainly spread from one person to another through close contact.

There are everyday actions and generally healthy habits you can make sure you’re following to help protect you and the people around you from getting sick. Now is a good time for physical distancing (some people also call this social distancing) and self isolation. Here’s a few helpful things you can do to try and stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • If you have to sneeze or cough, you can do it into your sleeve or a tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick
  • If you’re feeling sick, stay at home! Below are some tips on self-isolation:

Trouble viewing this? Find it as a PDF in our “helpful links and factsheets” section below.

what if I’m already feeling sick?

Like having the flu or any other common respiratory infections, your symptoms can range from mild to severe.  These symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

There aren’t specific treatments for coronavirus, and there’s no vaccine that protects against it. It’s important to remember that most people with common human coronavirus illnesses will recover on their own.

But if you are feeling unwell, you should get medical advice from a healthcare professional: call your doctor, Telehealth OntarioToronto Public Health (or your local public health department) and let them know the situation. Tell them if you’ve traveled recently, what your symptoms are, etc.

If your healthcare provider advises you head to a COVID-19 testing centre, a few have been set up in Toronto and the GTA:

COVID-19 assessment centres in Toronto

William Osler (Peel Memorial) 

20 Lynch Street, 

Brampton ON L6W 2Z8

T: (416) 494-2120

Mon-Sun 8am-9pm

Priority screening system in place

Mackenzie Health 

10 Trench Street

Richmond Hill ON L4C 4Z3

T: (905) 883-1212

Opening evening of March 16th 

Assessments by appointment only

Women’s College Hospital

76 Grenville Street

Toronto, ON M5S 1B2

Mon-Sun 9am-5pm

T: (416) 323-6400

Use North East entrance on Grosvenor St.

North York General Hospital

4001 Leslie Street 

Toronto ON M2K 1E1

T: (416) 756-6000

Entrance at South Lobby

Credit Valley Hospital

(Valley House)

2200 Erin Mills Parkway

Mississauga ON L5M 7S4

T: (905) 779-7700

Mon-Sun 9:30am – 9:30pm

Mississauga Hospital

(Clinical Administrative Building)

15 Bronte College Court

Mississauga ON J4Y 0K7

T: (905) 779-7700

Mon-Sun 9:30am – 9:30pm

Scarborough Health Network

(Birchmount Hospital)

3030 Birchmount Rd.

Scarborough, ON M1W 3W3

Outside of building near emergency dept.

Use South Entrance, pre-register: 

Other than that, here are a few things you can do:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: hydration is your friend.
  • Get lots of rest. This is a good time to binge a new show or do some journaling, and sleep as much as possible.
  • To help with a cough or sore throat you can use a humidifier if you have one, or take a hot shower.
  • Stay at home  physical distancing or self-isolating are both good ways to make sure you don’t get anyone else sick.

But if you need immediate medical attention, you should call 911 and be sure to mention your symptoms and travel history.

Do you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19? Our clinician team recommends using this self-assessment tool to help you decide what your next steps are:

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario have put out these additional tools to help people self-monitor:

what is social distancing?

A lot of people are talking about social or physical distancing: the idea is to limit close contact (approximately 6 feet) with other people in your community by leaving at least about 6 feet between you. It’s a big part of slowing the spread of the virus and “flattening the curve” which really just means a longer, slower rise in the number of cases. Find more info here: Ontario Medical Association – Social Distancing factsheet

can i still have sex?

The folks at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene put together an amazing resource on Sex & Coronavirus, and we wanted to share it with you. Head to our Instagram or click the link to check out some tips on how to enjoy sex and avoid spreading COVID-19:

helpful links and factsheets

The awesome folks on our mental health team rounded up this list of resources to help people deal with COVID-19 related stress and anxiety:

We can’t fully endorse these services, but have assembled them in one document for easy browsing. We believe that you know you best: we recommend using your intuition to decided what resources meet your needs right now! We also recommend reaching out to agencies individually for more up-to-date info and to find out what’s still available as the situation around COVID-19 evolves.


Click here to download the Ontario Ministry of Health Risk Levels and Precautions Chart as a PDF

Click here to download Public Health Ontario’s COVID: How to Self-Monitor instructions as a PDF

Click here to download Public Health Ontario’s factsheet-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate as a PDF

Click here to download Toronto Public Health’s Guide to Toronto Public Health’s Guide to HandWashing as a PDF


where do I find updates on COVID-19 in Ontario?

For more information and to stay up to date on COVID-19 in Ontario, please visit: