COVID-19 for health professionals
Resources and updates relating to monitoring, assessment and patient care
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.
Contact Peel Public Health
If you have questions, you can contact us at 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216 and follow the prompts specifically for health care providers.
Call centre hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week.
Weekly epidemiology update
- Health professionals updates
- Status of COVID-19 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.
Testing is currently being prioritized for the following groups:
- Hospital inpatients.
- Residents of long term care and retirement homes.
- Health care workers, caregivers, care providers, paramedics, and first responders, including police and firefighters.
- Persons living in the same household as health care workers, care providers and first responders.
- Remote, isolated, rural and Indigenous communities.
- Other congregate living centres, including homeless shelters, prisons and group homes.
- Persons working in congregate living settings.
- Specific vulnerable populations, including patients undergoing chemotherapy, hemodialysis, pre or post-transplant, as well as pregnant person, and newborns.
- Cross-border workers.
- Other essential workers, as defined by provincial orders.
Symptoms that prompt testing
If any of the previously listed populations have the following symptoms, then you may want to test your patients for COVID-19:
- Fever (37.8 C or greater)
- Any new or worsening cough, shortness of breath (dyspnea), sore throat, runny nose or sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, new olfactory or taste disorder(s), nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.
- Clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia.
Atypical presentations of COVID-19 should be considered, especially in children, seniors, and people living with a developmental disability.
- Routine testing of asymptomatic persons for COVID-19 is not recommended.
- Exceptions include newborns born to mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and residents of long term care homes in the case of an outbreak or a transfer from hospital.
Despite this guidance, you may continue to use your own discretion when deciding who should be tested. Contact Peel Public Health if you have additional questions.
Patients can check their COVID-19 test result on the Ontario government online test results portal.
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.
Patients with mild symptoms that can be managed at home should self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolation can end after 14 days if your patients has no fever and their symptoms are improving.
We've created COVID-19 related documents, posters and other resources that you can share with your patients. Access our resources.
We also have translated resources in different languages.
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.
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
Infection prevention and control
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Ensure you are donning and doffing PPE correctly.
- Ensure you have at least a 10-day supply of PPE. Contact the Ministry of Health at EOCLogistics.MOH@ontario.ca if you have less than a 10-day supply.
- 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.
We've created COVID-19 related documents, posters and other resources available for use in your facilities. Access our resources.
We also have translated resources in different languages.
Signage for use in your facility
If you develop symptoms
Health care workers who develop symptoms 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
If you had symptoms and tested:
Positive - continue to self-isolate and stay off work for 14 days from when the symptoms started. You may be eligible to return to work under work self-isolation 72 hours from illness resolving if you are deemed critical to operations.
Negative - return to work 24 hours after symptom resolution. If you had exposure to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, you may return to work under work self-isolation until 14 days from last exposure.
If you had no symptoms and tested:
Positive - remain on self-isolation and off work for 14 days from the date the swab was taken. You may be eligible to return to work under work self-isolation 72 hours from specimen collection if you are deemed critical to operations and remain asymptomatic.
Negative - if tested due to an exposure, you may return to work under work self-isolation for 14 days from last exposure.
Earlier return to work
For health care workers whose symptoms have resolved and are agreed to be critical to operations by all parties, earlier return to work may be permitted under work self-isolation. Contact your occupational health department or Peel Public Health about testing requirements before returning to work.
- Work self-isolation means maintaining self-isolation measures outside of work for 14 days from symptom onset (or 14 days from positive specimen collection date if asymptomatic) to avoid transmitting to household members or other community contacts.
- 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 as directed by Peel Public Health and your occupational health department
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 can complete the COVID-19 test swab request form and then use the submit button to send to Peel Public Health.
If you have any questions you can email PHSwabRequests@peelregion.ca.
- Long term care and retirement homes: information for staff
- Guidance for long-term care homes – Ministry of Health
- Active screening checklist – Ministry of Health
- Long-term care home outbreak guide – Ministry of Health
- 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