What is COVID-19
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.
COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans.
How is it spread?
Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
- close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.
Some people with COVID-19 have little to no symptoms. Some people may think they have a cold or flu because the symptoms are very similar.
The symptoms take up to 14 days to appear after you have been exposed to COVID-19. Experts believe the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms, but this is considered less common.
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia in both lungs
The Government of Canada has put together a self-assessment tool for more information about symptoms.
If you become ill
If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, stay home for 14 days to avoid spreading it to others. If you live with others, stay in a separate room if you can or stay 2 metres (6 feet) away.
Call your doctor or your local public health authority and tell them your symptoms. Follow their instructions.
Coronavirus infections are diagnosed by a health care provider based on symptoms and are confirmed through lab tests.
If you have symptoms that may be COVID-19, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are waiting for test results, you need to:
- stay home until the local public health authority says you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus
- stay away from others
If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your healthcare provider or Public Health Authority and follow their instructions.
If you have no symptoms but may have been exposed to COVID-19:
- stay at home
- monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild, for 14 days
- stay away from others
You can still go outside for some fresh air, a run, a bike ride or to walk the dog, while keeping a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others.
You may be exposed if you:
- travelled outside of Canada recently
- were in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19