covid 19 virus

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last reviewed/updated: 2:32 p.m., June 16, 2020

Peterborough Public Health is actively monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and collaborating with local hospitals, primary care, emergency services, the Ministry of Health, provincial and national colleagues.

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Local COVID-19 Cases & Status

Click here for the latest local information.

Getting Tested for COVID-19

Click here for the latest local information.

Self-Assessment Tool

If you think you have symptoms related to COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care:  Self Assessment Tool

COVID-19 Class Order:  April 20, 2020

Read the class order issued by Peterborough Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health and learn how this impacts you by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click to learn more about…

How is COVID-19 spread?
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
How is it treated, and is there a vaccine?
What stores and services are remaining open?
How can I stay safe when shopping for essentials?
Should I Wear a Face Covering?
Should I Wear Medical Gloves?
What can I do to reduce my risk outside?  What is physical distancing?
What is self-isolation?
What does quarantine mean?
What are the Precautions for Returning Travellers?
What if I have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19?
How to Prepare for an Emergency?
Other Web Resources

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 can be spread from person to person through:

  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Contact with nose and throat secretions (e.g., coughing and sneezing).
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Do you have…

a.  close contact with anyone who:

  • has a respiratory illness;
  • travelled outside of Ontario in the past 14 days;
  • is a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19


b.  any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • new or worse cough
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • sore throat
  • headaches
  • diarrhea
  • chills
  • runny nose/nasal congestion without other known cause
  • nausea/vomiting
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • difficulty swallowing
  • unexplained fatigue/malaise/muscle aches
  • abdominal pain
  • decrease or loss of sense of smell or taste


for persons 70 years of age and older:

  • delirium
  • unexplained or increased number of falls
  • acute functional decline/confusion
  • worsening of chronic conditions

How is it treated, and is there a vaccine?

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19.  However many of the symptoms can be treated and is based on each individual’s situation.

Currently there is no vaccine for COVID-19.

What stores and services are remaining open?

Peterborough Public Health Programs/Services
Peterborough Public Health has reduced and/or suspended certain programs and services, click here for a current list.

On March 23, 2020, the Province announced:

On March 16, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Health announced:

  • the closure of all recreation programs and libraries, all private schools, all daycares, all churches and other faith settings;
  • the closure of all bars and restaurants, with the exception of restaurants that can shift to takeout/delivery mechanisms; and,

Farmer’s Markets
Peterborough Public Health is working with the Peterborough Regional Farmer’s Market to ensure community residents can access this source of local food in a safe manner.  Please see this statement for details.

Grocery Stores
Grocery stores are an essential service and are permitted to remain open. Public Health Inspectors are conducting site visits to discuss social distancing, infection control measures, and best practices with store managers. Many grocery stores have received direction from their corporate head offices and are implementing measures including barricades, limitations to the number of people entering the store, markings on the floor for cashier lineups, techniques or physical barriers to protect cashiers, etc.  If you have a concern about a specific retail location, please email to file a complaint.

How can I stay safe when shopping for essentials?

How to Shop Safely During COVID

Should I Wear a Face Covering?

Ministry of Health guidance on face coverings can be found here. Medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) should be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders.

Click here for face covering considerations in the use of homemade masks from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Click here for a video on how to make your own face covering.

How to Safely WEAR & CLEAN a Cloth Mask

Where to Find a Handmade Face Mask in Peterborough

Should I Wear Medical Gloves?

The best way to protect your hands is to make sure you are following good hand washing practices. Medical gloves are helpful for health care workers, but should not be worn by the public.  People who wear gloves for day to day tasks might touch other objects and then without even knowing it touch their face, mouth, eyes or nose. Doing this would give the same risk of spreading the virus as if the person had not worn gloves at all.

Medical gloves are not durable and are designed for health care procedures. These gloves are not designed for rougher day to day tasks.  Gloves that rip or tear would need to be replaced and could increase the number of gloves being used. This would reduce the much-needed supply for front-line health care workers.

Your best method of protection for your hands is to wash regularly while following good hand washing practices.  This includes washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty.

Here is a good video that you can watch that explains this message:

What can I do to reduce my risk outside?  What is physical distancing?

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community, Peterborough Public Health encourages everyone to practice physical distancing.

Physical distancing means avoiding close contact (being within 2 metres or 6 feet) with people outside of your immediate family.

Limit Contact with Others:

  • Stay at home and reduce the number of visits into your community:
    • Limit the number of times you go shopping for groceries and other essential errands. Make a list and plan ahead, try to combine these when you can!
    • Consider alternative ways to work if possible (work from home, meetings by video or teleconference)
  • Stay physically active! Take a walk, go to the park, or walk your dog – just maintain a distance of 2 metres from those around you.  For young children, avoid playground structures.
  • Cancel all group gatherings. Connect with friends by phone, email, video or social media.  No parties or playdates for children or teenagers.
  • Do not visit friends or family in long-term care homes, retirement homes or other care settings
  • If you are over 70 or immunocompromised, you should self-isolate (see next tab for further details). Where possible, you should seek services over the phone or internet or ask for help from friends, family or neighbours with essential errands.

Keep Your Hands Clean:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Cough into your sleeve or elbow, or sneeze into a tissue, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Wash your hands after handling nose and throat secretions (e.g. after throwing out used facial tissues).
  • Avoid touching your face and clean hands before touching eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Sanitize or wash your hands when entering and exiting buildings.
  • Use tap to pay rather than handling money


How Soap Works to Break Down the Virus (Video)
Physical Distancing (Poster)
Physical Distancing (Fact Sheet – Ottawa Public Health)

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is when you have been instructed to separate yourself from others, with the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus, including those within your home. If you are ill, you should be separated from others in your household to the greatest extent possible.

You may have been asked to self-isolate due to a potential exposure, but have not developed any symptoms.  This is when you monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, cough and difficulty breathing.


What does quarantine mean?

To prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases that are of significant harm to public health, the Public Health Agency of Canada collaborates with border partners such as the Canada Border Services Agency to administer the Quarantine Act at all international points of entry into Canada.

When a traveller shows signs and symptoms of a communicable disease upon arrival in Canada, a Border Services Officer, is the first point of contact and he or she will conduct a preliminary screening of the traveler.

If deemed necessary, a Public Health Agency of Canada Quarantine Officer will implement various control measures to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable disease.

What are the Precautions for Returning Travellers?

For Canadians who have RECENTLY TRAVELLED

The Government of Canada has put in place an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that applies to all travelers arriving in Canada in order to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada.


If you have recently returned to Canada and have symptoms, you must ISOLATE. This is mandatory. If required, immediate medical attention will be provided upon arrival in Canada.

Mandatory isolation means you MUST:

  • Go directly to the place where you will isolate, without delay, and stay there for 14 days
  • Go to your place of isolation using private transportation only, such as your personal vehicle
  • Stay INSIDE your home
  • Not leave your place of isolation unless it’s to seek medical attention
  • Do not go to school, work, other public areas or use public transportation (e.g., buses, taxis)
  • Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home, if possible
  • Not have visitors and limit contact with others in the place of isolation, including children
  • Not isolate in a place where you will have contact with vulnerable people such as older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions
  • If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your health care provider or public health authority and follow their instructions.

If you have symptoms but do not have a place to isolate, you will be required to isolate for 14 days in a facility designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

TRAVELLERS WITHOUT SYMPTOMS – Mandatory Quarantine (mandatory self-isolation)

If you have recently returned to Canada and have no symptoms, you must QUARANTINE (self-isolate) yourself. This is mandatory. You are at risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.

This means you MUST:

  • Go directly to your place of quarantine, without delay, and stay there for 14 days
  • Do not go to school, work, other public areas and community settings
  • Monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Arrange to have someone pick up essentials like groceries or medication for you
  • Do not have visitors
  • Stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh air
  • Keep a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others

You can take public transportation to get to your place of self-isolation after you arrive in Canada, but you must not stop on the way home and practice physical (social) distancing at all times.

What if I have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19?

  • Call Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000 between
    • Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Email (email will be responded to during business hours above)
  • After hours please call Telehealth toll-free at 1-866-797-0000. Telehealth is a free, confidential service you can call to get health advice or information. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How to Prepare for an Emergency?

What can individuals and families do to prepare?

It is important to be ready for emergencies—from power outages to infectious diseases. Having supplies on hand for shorter (enough for a minimum of three days) and longer periods of time is important. For example:

  • non-perishable foods (simple to prepare)
  • water (one gallon per person, per day)
  • prescription medication
  • simple medical supplies (first aid kit)
  • pet food
  • chargers for cellphones to stay up-to-date on alerts and warnings
  • cleaning supplies
  • sanitary and hygiene supplies

Create a plan based on your needs and daily routines, including having other options for child, elder, and pet care.

  • If someone gets sick, have a care plan. In advance, talk to people who might be able to help.
  • Some people are at greater risk of health complications from respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 and influenza (for example, older adults and people with certain health conditions). Check in on them and follow the advice from health care providers.
  • Get to know and check in on your neighbours. Stay connected by phone or social media.
  • Identify agencies that may be able to offer help, whether for food, mental health support, or other supplies.
  • Create an emergency contact list, for example, information for doctors, friends, family, community services.

For more information, visit the Government of Canada Being Prepared webpage.

Other Web Resources

Ministry of Health of Ontario
Public Health Ontario
Public Health Agency of Canada
Centres of Disease Control and Prevention
Q&A from the RC and CMA about COVID-19
World Health Organization
COVID-19 Myth Busters from the World Health Organization