COVID-19 Information Guide
On this page
- Definition of COVID-19
- What to Do
- Economic and Social Support
- General Resources
- Deaf and Disability Community Resources
- LGBTQ2s+ Community Resources
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.
These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
(Source: Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-19), World Health Organization.)
This section provides practical information: advice about staying healthy, mentally as well as physically, and who to contact if you develop symptoms.
This section provides links to advice about protecting yourself, including handwashing and wearing masks, talking about COVID-19 with children and keeping healthy and occupied while in isolation.
- Reduce Virus Spread, City of Toronto
- What You Need to Do, Government of Ontario (information in other languages (PDFs))
- Measures to Reduce COVID-19 in Your Community, Government of Canada. See also Awareness Resources (some of which are available in multiple languages) and Prevention and Risks
- How to Protect Yourself & Others, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Preparedness for COVID-19, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- Advice for the Public, World Health Organization (WHO)
Resources for Families with Children
- Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019, CDC
- Coronavirus, CBC Kids News
- Coronavirus: Keep it Simple, Stick to Facts - How Parents should Tell Kids, BBC News
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus, PBS Kids, for Parents
- Mandatory Mask or Face Covering Bylaw, City of Toronto. See also Face Masks & Coverings and What the mask by-law means for residents.
- Face Coverings and Face Masks, Government of Ontario. For more information, please read the Public Health Ontario (PHO) fact sheet, When and How to Wear a Mask (PDF)
- Non-medical Masks and Face Coverings, Government of Canada
- Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19, CDC
- When and How to Use Masks, WHO. See also Q&A: Masks and COVID-19.
Coping with stress
- Coping with Stress during the 2019-nCoV Outbreak (PDF), WHO
- Self-Care and Mental Well-Being, Toronto Public Library
- Stay, Play & Learn at Home, City of Toronto
- Learn at Home, Government of Ontario
- 38 Ways to Use the Library from Home, Toronto Public Library
This section contains phone numbers to call if you develop symptoms, including severe symptoms, or have questions about COVID-19 or City services.
- Telehealth Ontario. Call if you develop symptoms.
- Toronto Public Health Hotline, 8:30 am – 8 pm. Call if you have questions about COVID-19. Translation is available in multiple languages.
Telephone: 416-338-7600 | TTY: 416-392-0658 | Email: PublicHealth@toronto.ca
- 311 Toronto. Call if you have questions about City services.
Telephone: 311 | TTY: 416-338-0889
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489.
- Emergency Services. Call if you’re having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms.
(Source: COVID-19. Contact Information, City of Toronto)
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, find out if you should visit an assessment centre and where the nearest location is.
Criteria and locations
- Toronto Region COVID-19 Assessment Centres, City of Toronto
- COVID-19 self-assessment, Government of Ontario
This section contains links to what is open and what is closed, including hospitals, schools, colleges and universities.
City of Toronto
See also COVID-19: Orders, Directives & Bylaws (City of Toronto) for information on the enforcement of closures, physical distancing, etc. and for self-isolation directives.
Government of Ontario
- Closure of All Non-Essential Workplaces. For updates, see: Newsroom
- Reopening Ontario: what’s in each stage
University Health Network
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information at UHN. “UHN has joined other Ontario hospitals in moving to a No Visitor policy.”
- Toronto District School Board. Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Toronto Catholic District School Board. Latest Updates
- Ontario Colleges. Update on COVID-19
- Ontario’s Universities. COVID-19
This section has links for current advisories and restrictions for travel in and out of the country and travel in the city.
- Returning from travel, Government of Ontario
- Travel Advisory and Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice, Government of Canada. See also: How the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is affecting immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport services.
- COVID-19 FAQs, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Safety, GO Transit
- COVID-19: Preventive measures, VIA Rail Canada
- What’s happening, Toronto Pearson Airport
- FAQs for International Students about COVID-19, York University
This section provides information about economic relief from the City, Provincial and Federal governments for residents and businesses of Toronto as well as resources and support (Toronto) for vulnerable residents and housing help for tenants.
City of Toronto
Government of Ontario
- Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID‑19
- Supporting People and Jobs
- Support for People and Businesses to Improve Cash Flow
For additional information about the law as it relates to the COVID-19 situation, see COVID-19: Updates on the law and legal services (Steps to Justice: Your guide to law in Ontario).
Government of Canada
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
- Support for Individuals
- Support for Businesses
- Support for Sectors
- Financial assistance for newcomers, temporary residents and refugees
- Questions and Answers on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
For additional information, see Who can get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and how do I apply? (Steps to Justice).
This section provides links to City, Provincial and Federal updates about the pandemic and to updates from the World Health Organization and the major U.S. and European public health agencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
City of Toronto
- COVID-19 Briefings . Live Monday to Friday at 3:45 pm
- COVID-19: Official Statements of the Medical Officer of Health and the Fire Chief & General Manager of Emergency Management
- Status of Cases in Toronto
Government of Ontario
- Status of Cases in Ontario. Information is updated daily at 10:30 a.m.
- Status of COVID-19 Cases in Long-term Care Homes
Government of Canada
- Maps & Trends, Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Center
- Rolling Updates on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), World Health Organization
- COVID-19 situation update worldwide, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
- What's New, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This section provides links to sources of general information about COVID-19.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- City of Toronto, COVID-19
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, COVID-19
- Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, Coronavirus Resource Center
- Public Health Agency of Canada, Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Public Health Ontario, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Ryerson Social Media Lab. Ted Rogers School of Management, COVID19MISINFO.ORG (use Google Chrome to view)
- Statistics Canada, COVID-19: A Data Perspective (includes invitation to participate in surveys on the impacts of COVID-19)
- University of Toronto Libraries, How Can I Spot Misinformation about the Coronavirus and COVID-19?
- University of Toronto Libraries, Gerstein Science Information Centre, COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus) Information Guide
- World Health Organization, Coronavirus
- World Health Organization, Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public: Myth Busters
An additional page is available for online resources related to COVID-19 from organizations, mostly in the Toronto area, supporting people who are deaf and people with disabilities. It will be updated as more resources are made available.
Visit the COVID-19 Deaf and Disability Community Resources page, Toronto Public Library
An additional page is available for online resources related to COVID-19 from organizations, mostly in the Toronto area, supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community. It will be updated as more information is made available.
Visit the COVID-19 LGBTQ2S+ Community Resources page, Toronto Public Library
Last updated July 21, 2020