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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

May 22, 2020

We have a low number of new cases and we want to keep it that way, so we urge you to please continue to practice physical distancing, stay home when you are sick, wash your hands, consider using a cloth face covering when you are in public places, and do regular cleaning of common hard surfaces. We all need to work together to help stop others from becoming sick. Read our website for information and call 1-800-660-5853 if you have questions or are concerned you might have COVID-19.

We are providing essential services only and our offices and service sites are closed to walk-in public. Check our website for a listing of our services.

– Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health

Media Releases

For media interviews, contact: Susan Healey, Communications Co-ordinator, 613-802-0550 or

Latest Media Release

Ontario Starts to Re-open for Business – May 14, 2020

Outbreak declared in Lanark Lodge in Perth – May 14, 2020

Consider the Views before Enjoying the Cottage View – May 13, 2020

Outbreak declared in Maple View Lodge in Athens – May 12, 2020

Outbreak declared in Royal Brock Retirement Residence in Brockville – May 8, 2020

Fishing and boating on your mind this weekend? – Health Unit reminds you to be safe – May 8, 2020

Health Unit and Farmers’ Markets are Working Together to Safely Bring Local Food to the Community – May 7, 2020

Give the Gift of Safety this Mother’s Day! – May 7, 2020

Giving the Green Thumbs Up to Community Gardens in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark – May 1, 2020

Alcohol Use Increases during COVID-19 Pandemic – April 24, 2020

Uncovering the Facts on Face Coverings – April 22, 2020

Staying Active during the COVID-19 Pandemic – April 17, 2020

Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre Open to Walk-ins – April 16, 2020

Take-Out Food Safety during COVID-19 – April 11, 2020

Celebrating this Long Weekend the COVID-19 Way – April 8, 2020

Outbreak declared in Van Horne and Willowdale Retirement Residences in Smiths Falls – April 4, 2020 – Van Horne Outbreak Declared Over

Outbreak found in Lanark Lifestyles in Perth, Ontario – April 3, 2020 – Outbreak Declared Over

Province Orders Public Gatherings to be of 5 or Less People – April 3, 2020

Outbreak found in Stoneridge Manor in Carleton Place – April 2, 2020

Two COVID-19 related deaths reported in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark – March 31, 2020

Outbreak found in Carolina Retirement Residence in Perth, Ontario – March 31, 2020

Outbreak found in Almonte Country Haven – March 29, 2020

Community-based COVID-19 Assessment Centre for Brockville/Leeds Grenville Residents Starts Today – March 27, 2020

First Person with Confirmed COVID-19 Reported in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark – March 26, 2020

Slowing the Spread of COVID-19 While Grocery Shopping – March 24, 2020

Health Unit Encourages Social Distancing in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark – March 20, 2020

Public Health Message to Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Residents About Food Premises – March 17, 2020

Public Health Reminds Residents to Help Reduce the Spread of Illness in the Community – March 13, 2020

Surveillance Reports and Local Cases

May 22, 2020 – *Cases are reported from data collected at 4:00pm yesterday.

Total of 338 cases and 49 deaths in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. 229 (79%) of cases recovered (Recovered cases do not include deaths). (Lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases updated Monday to Friday only except statutory holidays)

Surveillance Reports

Available Monday to Friday (except statutory holidays)

*To align with the Ministry of Health’s reporting system, our daily summary must be based on the data that is in the province’s disease reporting system called iPHIS (integrated Public Health Information System) as of 4:00pm the previous day.

**When presenting statistics for a specific area it is critical that individual identity is preserved. We are following accepted statistical practice to not report numbers for municipalities that have less than 5 people who have tested positive for COVID-19. In order to provide some data by place of residence, we have grouped LGL counties into sub-regions to show the distribution of the people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in our region.

Government Directives

May 19, 2020 Health and Safety Top Priority as Schools Remain Closed

May 14, 2020 Ontario Announces additional workplaces that can re-open

Ontario Ministry of Health website – available in multiple languages

Some municipalities have declared a state of emergency. This is NOT an indication of the spread of illness in these areas. Instead, it allows them to pro-actively respond to the pandemic. The formal declaration provides municipalities with additional powers and tools to protect the health and safety of local residents. It often streamlines the decision-making process so they can act as quickly as possible when they need to. Declaring an emergency also helps to emphasize the seriousness of the pandemic for residents.

Enforcement of Emergency Orders

Federal, Provincial and some Municipal governments have put in emergency measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and are working together to enforce them.

The following violations can result in a charge under the Quarantine Act or Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA):

  • Offences relating to non-essential businesses that remain open (by-law or local police)
  • Offences relating to organized public events and social gatherings of more than 5 people (by-law or local police)
  • Prohibited use of playground or park amenities (by-law or local police)
  • Violation of the mandatory 14 day isolation if returning to Canada (police)

If you wish to report a public gathering of more than 5 people, the use of outdoor recreation amenities, or a non-essential business that remains open, you can call your local municipal by-law officer or your local police service’s non-emergency line. Violations of the Quarantine Act for those who have returned to Canada can be reported to your local police service.

  • OPP: 1-888-310-1122
  • Brockville Police Service: 613-342-0127
  • Smiths Falls Police Service: 613-283-0357
  • Gananoque Police Service: 613-382-4422

If you have a complaint regarding safe distancing practices of a business that is open – call the Health Unit and a Public Health Inspector will follow up: 1-800-660-5853 Extension 2308.

Even though public health directions of physical distancing, frequent hand washing and limiting travel are essential to reduce the spread of COVID-19 – you cannot report someone for not abiding by these directions. This is a stressful time for everyone. Practicing kindness and working to manage our own actions is essential.

Information for the Public

COVID-19: COVID-19 is a unique strain of a large family of viruses (coronaviruses) that can cause respiratory diseases. Because this is a new virus – there is no vaccine for it yet.

Symptoms: The symptoms of COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to develop after exposure to the virus. Most people infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, such as low-grade fever and cough. Some people develop more severe symptoms, such as high-grade fever, breathing difficulties or shortness of breath. These symptoms are similar to those of influenza and other coronaviruses, and it is difficult to differentiate COVID-19 from other viruses based on symptoms alone.

Spread: Because this virus causes infection in the nose, throat, and lungs, coronaviruses can spread from person to person through contact with respiratory secretions, such as droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing. Transmission of COVID-19 is more likely following close contact (within 2 metres or 6 feet) with an infected person, such as household members. Although much remains unknown about this new virus, it can likely spread through touching surfaces that have been contaminated by droplets from an infected person, e.g. through coughing from an infected person. COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days. This means that the virus can live in your body for up to 2 weeks before you get symptoms of the disease. The virus can spread easily once you have symptoms, but may spread before then (during that incubation period) as well. That is why it is important for all of us to practice physical distancing at all times to reduce the spread. 

Infections in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark: You can get the latest local information in our Surveillance section above. We do not provide details about the positive cases as we have an obligation to protect the identity of individuals. As our communities within Leeds, Grenville and Lanark are relatively small, providing further details may put an individual’s identity at risk. Please be assured that our Public Health staff actively follow up all people who tested positive and investigate all people in close contact with individuals who test positive. Close contacts are required to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor their symptoms.

Health Unit Phone Lines

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has phone lines open for the public to call:

  • The main number to call is 1-800-660-5853.
  • General COVID-19 Enquiries – Extension 2499, available seven days a week, from 8:30am until 4:30pm.
  • Enquiries from Health Care Providers or for members of the public reporting symptoms – Extension 2222, available 8:30am until 4:30pm, seven days a week.
  • Health Unit regulated business enquiries (Public Health Inspectors) – Extension 2308, also available 8:30am until 4:30pm, seven days a week.
  • For urgent calls that can’t wait until Health Unit regular hours, call 613-345-5685.

More information on COVID-19

Visit the public health Canada website for more detailed information on COVID-19 in general.

Self Assessment: If you are concerned about possible symptoms of COVID-19 complete this self-assessment tool and follow the guidance provided. If further clinical assessment is advised, call your health care provider or the Health Unit (1-800-660-5853 extension 2499). If you are having severe difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Before visiting any health care provider, call ahead and advise them of your symptoms and travel history.

Assessment Centres: Assessment Centres have been set up in Brockville, Smiths Falls and Almonte. Some health care providers and hospitals are also able to do COVID-19 testing. If you have COVID-19 like symptoms, complete this online self-assessment tool first.

Brockville Assessment Centre: Appointments or referrals are no longer required. This centre accepts walk-ins for screening at 100 Magedoma Boulevard, between 10:00am–5:30pm, on weekdays and 10:00am–2:30pm on weekends.

Smiths Falls Assessment Centre: Patients seeking access are required to call (613) 283-2330 extension 1401 to schedule an appointment.

  • Smiths Falls Hours: The telephones are answered from 8:00am–6:00pm Monday to Friday and from 10:00am–4:00pm on Saturday.

Almonte Assessment Centre: This centre requires a referral and appointment. Call your health care provider or the Health Unit (1-800-660-5853 extension 2222) for a referral.

  • Almonte Hours: Mondays–Saturdays 10:00am – whenever their appointments are finished for the day; Closed Sunday.

Obtaining Test Results: The Health Unit calls all Leeds, Grenville and Lanark residents with negative or positive COVID-19 lab results every day between 8:30am–4:30pm. If the lab result arrives after 4:30pm the person is called the next day. Continue to self-isolate until you hear from us.

If you would like to check online to see if your results have been posted, visit: Information About the COVID-19 Test Results Website. Have your Health Card Number available.


This pamphlet outlines the specifics of self-isolation.

  • Basically it means you must ensure you have no contact with others who live outside your home and restricted contact with those in your home.
  • You can go outside in your own yard as long as no-one else is there.
  • You cannot walk around town in case you meet other people.
  • If you live in a multi-unit building, do you best to stay inside your unit, but you must use a mask if you leave your unit to use any of the facilities within the building.
  • Defer medical and other appointments unless they are critical. Let the care provider know ahead of time that you are in self-isolation, and wear a mask at the visit and do not use taxi or public transportation.
  • Those advised to self-isolate must continue to do so until 14 days have passed from when symptoms first appeared AND symptoms are resolving. Note that as the COVID-19 situation evolves, these recommendations for the public may be updated. If you were previously self-isolating for a defined period of time (e.g. 14 days after returning from international travel or 14 days after contact with a case of COVID-19), you would still need to complete the remaining portion of this period of self-isolation even after the above criteria are met.

This applies to people who:

  • Are diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Are being tested for COVID-19 until the lab results come back
  • Have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America) for 14 days after arrival in Canada
  • Live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19

Self-isolation: Guide for Caregivers, Household Members and Close Contacts

How to Self-Monitor

Flatten the Curve or #PlankTheCurve

Because this virus spreads so easily – we all need to do our part to slow and reduce the spread so our healthcare system is not overloaded. This means:

  • Staying home as much as possible
  • Practice physical distancing – stay 2m (6ft) away from people in public areas
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer after being in touch with others or handling anything from outside your home
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hands
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres
  • Do not share personal items that come into contact with saliva such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, drinks, water bottles, and towels
  • If you are experiencing any respiratory symptoms (including fever) – please self-isolate immediately and complete the online self-assessment.

For more detailed information about stopping the spread of germs visit our Infectious Diseases section.

Flu virus is still circulating in the community. Consider making the flu shot part of your routine in the fall.

Be Prepared for Self-Isolation

There are things you can do to prepare in case you or someone in your house becomes ill and are asked to self-isolate at home until the infection clears, or if you have close contact exposure with someone who has the COVID-19 infection.

  • Stock up on non-perishable foods gradually over the next few weeks.
  • Follow these tips for Personal Preparedness during Emergencies.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. Be prepared for two weeks should you become ill or are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 infection and have to self-isolate at home.
  • Fill prescriptions for an extra month if you’re able.
    • Get refills with enough notice so that you do not run out of medication you may need.
    • Have over-the-counter pain/fever medications on hand.
  • Make plans for your children or other dependents in case you may be sick.
  • Stock up on supplies for your pets.
  • Stock up on cleaning supplies.
  • Ensure you have adequate sanitary and hygiene supplies.
  • Call your friends and neighbours and make plans to check in on each other; being prepared to help others out if there is a need to self-isolate.

Grocery or Food Delivery Items

There are currently no reports of COVID-19 spreading from packaging. It is best to practice good hand hygiene (washing and sanitizer) after handling any packaging and before handling food.

If getting food or other items delivered – practice physical distancing and use no-contact ways to pay if possible (e-transfer, tap, etc.).

Fruits and vegetables should be washed before eating as before: rinse under cold, safe, running water, rubbing with hands; using a scrub brush if it is a tougher skin.

To limit trips to the grocery store, buy produce with a longer shelf-life (carrots, potatoes, squash, melons, frozen fruits and veggies) and stock up on items that don’t need refrigeration (like dried grains and canned goods). 

Pregnancy and Infant Care

Currently, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at greater risk from COVID-19. We recommend pregnant women protect themselves from infection through the regular measures of physical distancing, frequent hand washing and not touching your face.

Given low rates of transmission of respiratory viruses through breastmilk, the World Health Organization states that those who have COVID-19 can breastfeed. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Wash your hands before and after feeding your baby
  • Wear a mask while feeding or caring for your baby
  • Ensure breast pump equipment, if used, is cleaned after every use
  • If hospitalized, it is your decision whether to room-in (dependant on hospital policy) and nurse at the breast or to separate temporarily and provide pumped milk.

If you have made the informed decision to feed your baby formula, be sure to use only commercial infant formula. It is the only recommended and safe alternative to breast milk. Home-made formula recipes are not a safe or nutritionally adequate substitute for commercial infant formula. They do not offer the right amount of vitamins, minerals and energy that babies need and they could be a food safety risk.

Are you an essential worker? Free emergency childcare may be available. Check these websites and fill in an application to see if you are eligible:

Shared Laundry Facilities

Current research suggests that the virus that causes COVID-19, can live for several hours on hard surfaces, so laundry machines, countertops, and furniture need to be sanitized frequently.

Health Canada has created a list of disinfectants that are safe and effective against the virus.

Although laundry from sick people should be kept bagged and separate while in your home to prevent accidental handling, there is no need to wash or dry these items separately.

Using Shared Laundry Facilities Factsheet

As the province is reopening, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, is recommending that “individuals wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible, such as on public transit or in a small grocery store or pharmacy”. Check out the Province’s May 20, 2020 media release for more details. The province also created a poster for use in public settings.

If choosing to wear a mask, it is important to use one made of cloth; we need to reserve medical masks for frontline health care workers, first responders and people who are ill and must leave their home.

Things to consider when making or obtaining a cloth face covering:

  • It is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material. You can test out the fabric by trying to blow out a candle with it on. If you can, then it is too thin.
  • It can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape.
  • Fits securely with ties or ear loops.
  • Allows for easy breathing. Make sure it is not made of plastic or other non-breathable materials.
  • Includes a pocket to accommodate a paper towel or disposable coffee filter for increased benefit.
  • Has a different fabric on each side to easily identify which side faces your mouth and which side is out.

Check out Health Canada’s ‘Sew’ and ‘No Sew’ instructions.

There are also some DIY instructions here.

How to properly use face coverings:

When worn properly, a cloth face covering can reduce the spread of your own infectious respiratory droplets.

  • Wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off.
  • Make sure it fits to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps.
  • Don’t touch your face or face covering while wearing it.
  • Use your own face covering and don’t share it with others.
  • Clean surfaces that a dirty face covering touches.
  • Wash your face covering when slightly wet or dirty.
    • Put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine.
    • Wash with other items using a hot cycle with laundry detergent and dry thoroughly. Using Shared Laundry Facilities Factsheet.
    • Wash your hands afterwards

Who should not use face coverings:

  • Children under the age of two
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing
  • Anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.

Additional Resources:

DISCLAIMER: Local residents and vendors have identified themselves to us by email or social media to compile this list. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit does not endorse any particular producer or vendor of cloth masks, nor can we ensure that any vendor is able to maintain stock of these products. We are not liable if there are any issues related to the vendor or the purchased product. The list is provided as a convenience with the intent of promoting the wearing of cloth face coverings in settings where physical distancing is not possible. If you are aware of other cloth face covering producers that are not currently listed on our page, please let us know at

List of Producers/Vendors

  • Tracy Seed, Brockville: 613-246-4243
  • Pretty Yellow House, Carleton Place: 
  • Anna Hammond, Spencerville: 613-290-9577 /
  • Sandra Worden, Brockville: 613-342-8865
  • The Plaid Cow, Perth: 613-402-0232
  • Trinity United Church, Smiths Falls: Tuesdays and Saturdays 11:30am–12:30pm
  • Janet Poole/The Knit Wit, Perth:
  • Jennifer Wheeler, McDonald’s Corners: 613-278-0682
  • Lisa Sherman, Spencerville:
  • Donna Taylor, Brockville:
  • Jeanne Fox Dibble/Quality Creations, Prescott: 613-213-4909

As an essential service, your local pharmacy remains open with their professional staff available to support you and your medication needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since there is no vaccine or treatment, COVID-19 is managed at home in self-isolation with over-the-counter (OTC) medications that reduce fever and body aches. If you are ill, have gone for screening, screened positive and/or are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing), but require medication, please call your pharmacy and speak to them about options for obtaining your medication, such as getting someone from outside your household (who has not been in contact with you) to pick up your medication or arranging for delivery or curbside pickup. Please do NOT enter the pharmacy yourself.

Your pharmacist may also be able to help you if you are unable to attend an appointment with your prescriber and need refills of your medications, if you have questions about the supply status of your medications, if you need advice on minor ailments, if you need direction on where to go to use the province’s self-assessment tool or to find the latest information from Public Health on physical distancing, respiratory precautions, wearing a cotton mask when in public places, and regular cleaning of common hard surfaces.

As the health hub of many communities, your pharmacy team is always there to support you and the community with information, advice and to work hand in hand with your other medical practitioners towards your overall health and well-being. And some day hopefully soon, when specific treatments and a vaccine become available, your pharmacist will again be there to help you access them.

We all need to work together and do our part to help stop others from becoming sick.

For people who are not self-isolating:

  • Walking outside is good for your body, mind and mood. Go for a walk with people you live with (as long as you are not under quarantine or self-isolation due to illness or exposure). If you choose to walk, find an low populated area and keep your distance from others (2m/6ft). Do not approach animals, and remember to check for ticks and wash your hands when you get home.
  • Talk to neighbours over the fence or at a distance, like at the end of the driveway. Ensure this doesn’t lead to groups of neighbours chatting together – keep a good 6 feet apart (two arms lengths).
  • If you go fishing make sure you do so in a place that is open to the public, and stay 6 feet away from other people.
  • Respects the signs that say a trail, beach, park or other place is closed.
  • It’s a great time to get out the bicycles too! Be sure to practice safe-cycling and keep your distance from others.

If you are self-isolating or unable to get outside, there are some great ways to be physically active indoors as well!

  • The YMCA at Home Programs
  • Check with your local fitness or yoga studio – they may have some online options for you.
  • Have a home dance party (even if you are by yourself)
  • Use video games like “Just Dance” or Wii Fit to make physical activity fun for the family!
  • If you are working from home – try to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes and schedule in some breaks.

It’s OK to not feel OK. This is a challenging time for everyone. Creating new routines and rituals, and finding ways to have fun can help to adjust to this new situation. Here are some tips to manage your mental well-being and some great resources from other organizations:

  • Limit your intake of media. Choose 1 or 2 times a day to update yourself on the latest news so you are not bombarded by a constant stream of negative information.
  • Focus on self-care by enjoying nutritious foods, being physically active and getting enough sleep. Our immune system works best when we take care of ourselves.
  • Assess your substance use. Many people may increase consumption of alcohol or cannabis because of excess stress or boredom. Excessive substance use can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to COVID-19. Check out Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines to see if you are at risk.
  • Connect with friends and family over the phone or internet so you don’t feel isolated. Texting doesn’t give the same feeling of connection as seeing someone’s face or hearing their voice. There are lots of digital technologies that can help us connect while still keeping physically distant.

Help Lines: Reach out for help when you need it. There are people ready to help you.

  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
    • Or text CONNECT to 686868
  • Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health Crisis Line: 613-342-2262 extension 1 OR 613-283-7723 extension 300.
    • Anyone who has questions, needs access to services, or is feeling anxious is encouraged to call the Case workers and counsellors working in close to a dozen rural offices throughout the region are also accessible through these main numbers. In addition, the following services are available:
      • Essential Services remain open including Group Homes, Co-op and Residential Treatment Facilities and Intake Screening.
      • All counselling, including Rapid Access and Case Management continue to take place by telephone.
      • Psychiatry appointments will continue through telephone contact.
      • Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health offices are closed but employees are still working from home.
  • CMHA’s Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600
  • Good2Talk for post-secondary students: 1-866-925-5454
    • Or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868
  • A Friendly Voice – A phone line for older adults (55+) who may be feeling lonely or isolated: 1-855-892-9992 (note – this is not a crisis line)
  • Bounce Back phone and online mental health program for adults and youth ages 15 and over
    • Longer term program – needs referral from primary healthcare professional

Resources for Children and Youth

Resources for All Ages

Travelers Returning

Travel Plans

The best way to help is by staying home! Help #PlankTheCurve by limiting your exposure to others.

The Health Unit is accepting donations of PPE (personal protective equipment – like masks or gloves) to distribute to health care facilities in need – (check expiry dates on any items first) and call 1-800-660-5853 extension 2315 to find out where to drop them off.

If you are well and have the ability to volunteer and still keep physical distancing:

As many people are out of work and in need, community food programs are more important than ever.

COVID-19 has created a lot of fear for many people. In some situations, this fear has led to people being stigmatized or labelled because they have COVID-19, perceived to have it, or because they are a close contact of someone who is positive. This COVID-19 related discrimination is on par with other types such as racism, sexism, and ageism. The effects of stigmatization can be as harmful, or even more harmful, than COVID-19 itself. Not only does it impact the individual, but can impact the greater public. When there is a label or stigma attached, people may be reluctant to get tested for COVID-19 or isolate, for fear of the consequences.

Understanding the facts can help to reduce fear and stigma

  • Individuals who test positive are followed by public health and advised when they can be cleared from self-isolation;
  • Public health staff uses guidelines from the Ministry of Health that are based on available research;
  • People who have mild to moderate symptoms with COVID-19 can stop self-isolating when:
    • They are 14 days past when their symptoms first started; symptoms are resolving and they do not have a fever; or
    • They are 14 days past the date they got tested and they do not have symptoms.
  • Previously, people who tested positive had to have two negative tests, 24 hours apart. Research has found that people with mild and moderate symptoms are not infectious well before the 14 day period is up, so testing is not required;
  • People who are hospitalized and go home have the same clearance as people who have stayed at home. It is only if they stay in hospital or go to a Congregate setting they need to have 2 negative tests.
  • Ministry of Health guidelines state that other arrangements can be made in exceptional circumstances for deemed critical health care workers.

Since COVID-19 is a new virus that our population doesn’t have immunity to yet, anyone has the potential to get it. So be empathic and think about how you would feel if you were treated poorly for having this virus. Kindness and compassion can go a long way, particularly during times of stress and fear.

How can we reduce fear and stigma and promote kindness and compassion?


  • Don’t post or share false information, names or identity of those affected or under isolation/quarantine.
  • Don’t spread fear and panic.
  • Don’t target health care workers or other essential workers – they are there to help you.
  • Don’t judge without knowing the whole story.
  • Don’t address people with COVID-19 as victims. Instead, choose language such as ‘’people recovering from COVID-19”.


  • Acknowledge that everyone is trying to do their best. Appreciate and support the efforts of our essential service and health care workers and their families.
  • Get and share information from credible sources only, such as from the Health Unit, Ontario Ministry of Health, Government of Canada, or the World Health Organization.
  • Think about how your words and actions can impact others.
  • Recognize the things that are within your control to protect yourself and family. Practice physical distancing and hand hygiene, limit close contacts, stay home if sick, and go out for essential reasons only.
  • Be assured that public health follows and isolates people who have COVID 19 and their close contacts.
  • Share positive stories and examples of community kindness.
  • Challenge yourself and others to do random acts of kindness.
  • Accept support from a professional, friend or someone else you trust. For help, check out the “Resources on Coping” section.

Information for Essential Services

Are staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 allowed to work in long-term care and retirement homes?

The Ministry of Health recommendation is that staff who test positive and have mild to moderate symptoms should be home on self-isolation. They can return to work after 14 days and they have no fever and their symptoms are improving.

Many people who are infected with COVID-19 have very mild symptoms and for a few no symptoms at all. In a person without symptoms, the test does not distinguish between those who are able to spread the infection from those who are not, as the test may remain positive even after a person has fully recovered. The recommendation is still that the person self-isolate for 14 days from the time the test was taken.

A further Ministry of Health recommendation states that, in exceptional circumstances, a staff person who tests positive may work with full protective equipment after 72 hours of symptoms resolving. This may include staff shortages. When all alternative staffing supports are exhausted, staff infected with COVID-19 may be able to return to the workplace when certain conditions are met to ensure that patient care needs can be met. Whenever possible, these staff will provide care only to residents that are also positive for COVID-19. In all cases, protective equipment, such as masks, and other measures are put in place to prevent spread to other people.

All staff working in long-term care and retirement homes are currently required to wear masks at all times, and this decreases the risk of COVID-19 transmission to residents and other staff before it is known that they are infected.

The Ontario Government has mandated that non-essential businesses close temporarily to stop the spread of COVID-19. Here is the link to the list of businesses that are essential. To find about more about what businesses are open, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

The following link will provide sector specific health and safety information for employers and employees as the Province begins to open for business.

Business, organizations and other workplaces that are essential and remain open should continue to use regular infection prevention and control practices to prevent the spread of illnesses. We have produced some signage for common areas accessed by the public, please feel free to print and post. You can also help to support social distancing by using tape on the ground to show the 2m distance in line up areas or a table to keep distance from reception counters and cashiers.

COVID-19 is changing the way many places do business. Here are some fact sheets to help guide this new process:

Helpful Links for Workplaces

Downloadable Signs for Workplaces

Information for Schools

May 19, 2020 Health and Safety Top Priority as Schools Remain Closed

For more information on school closures related to COVID-19, visit: Ministry of Education Website.

For more information on this and other topics visit the Educators – Infections, Illnesses and Diseases section of our website.

Information for Health Care Providers and Hospitals

Information about COVID-19 within our Reportable Disease Toolkit.

Information on Outbreak Management Resources.

Information for Emergency Service Workers

Infection Prevention and Control for First Responders Providing Direct Care for Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Patients

Ontario Ministry of Health Guidance Documents

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel Advice

WHO COVID-19 Situation Dashboard

For more information on this and other topics visit the First Responders section of our website.

Health Unit Phone Lines

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has phone lines open for the public to call:

  • The main number to call is 1-800-660-5853.
  • General COVID-19 Enquiries – Extension 2499, available 7 days a week, from 8:30am until 4:30pm.
  • Enquiries from Health Care Providers or for members of the public reporting symptoms – Extension 2222, available 8:30am until 4:30pm, seven days a week.
  • Health Unit regulated business enquiries (Public Health Inspectors) – Extension 2308, also available 8:30am until 4:30pm, seven days a week.
  • For urgent calls that can’t wait until Health Unit regular hours, call 613-345-5685.