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Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19

There are a lot of questions about COVID-19. We’ve gathered a list of frequently asked questions and answered them below.

 
Vaccinations
I received my first dose of AstraZeneca and I want to receive a second dose at a shortened interval. How do I book my second-dose appointment? I received an mRNA vaccine for my first dose. Will I get the same mRNA vaccine for my second dose?
I received my first COVID-19 vaccine dose outside London-Middlesex. How do I book my second-dose appointment? Are mixed vaccine schedules safe and effective?
I'm eligible to re-book my second dose appointment to an earlier date. Do I need to re-book at the same location where I received my first dose? Is it okay to mix Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to complete my vaccine series?
I've re-booked my second-dose appointment at a mass vaccination clinic. Do I need to cancel my original second-dose appointment?

Where will my COVID-19 vaccine occur?

I had originally booked a second-dose appointment at a mass vacciantion clinic in London-Middlesex but have received an earlier second dose in a different setting (e.g. pharmacy, primary care, different region). Do I need to cancel my original second-dose appointment?

I have already had COVID-19. Should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

What does it mean to be a "fully vaccinated individual"? Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm pregnant or planning to get pregnant?
Do I need to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm breastfeeding?
About COVID-19
What is a coronavirus? How soon after being exposed to COVID-19 would symptoms occur?
What is COVID-19? How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Is there a treatment for COVID-19?
Can COVID-19 be spread from person-to-person? Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
  What is a COVID-19 Variant of Concern (VOC)?
Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
What can members of the public do to prevent the spread of COVID-19? Can I wear a face shield instead of a face covering?
Where are face coverings required? Can I gather with other people?
What is a face covering? What is the COVID Alert mobile app?
How do I wear a mask?  
Testing
Can I get tested for COVID-19? How many COVID-19 tests are completed each day in Middlesex-London?
Where can I get tested for COVID-19? I’ve been quarantining and have not tested positive for COVID-19. Do I have to get a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work and/or provide my employer with a letter when my quarantine is over? What do I do if my employer requires one?
How long does it take to receive COVID-19 test results? I tested positive for COVID-19. Once I have completed my self-isolation period and been “cleared” by the Middlesex-London Health Unit, do I need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work and/or provide my employer with a letter when my quarantine is over? What do I do if my employer requires one?
How do I access my COVID-19 test results? I tested positive for COVID-19. If I get re-tested after my period of self-isolation, will I still test positive? If so, does that mean I’m still contagious?
Self-Isolation and Quarantine
What does self-isolating mean? Someone in my household has been identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Do other members of my household need to quarantine too?
When should I self-isolate? How do I report someone who is not quarantining after international travel?
How long must I self-isolate? I’ve been quarantining and have not tested positive for COVID-19. Do I have to get a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work and/or provide my employer with a letter when my quarantine is over? What do I do if my employer requires one?
What does quarantining mean? I tested positive for COVID-19. Once I have completed my self-isolation period and been “cleared” by the Middlesex-London Health Unit, do I need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work and/or provide my employer with a letter when my quarantine is over? What do I do if my employer requires one?
When should I quarantine? I tested positive for COVID-19. If I get re-tested after my period of self-isolation, will I still test positive? If so, does that mean I’m still contagious?
Someone in my household has travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days and is quarantining in my home. Do other members of my household need to quarantine too?  
Travel
I plan on travelling outside of Canada. What do I need to know? How do I report someone who is not quarantining after international travel?
I plan on travelling outside of Ontario to another province or territory in Canada. What do I need to know? Someone in my household has travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days and is quarantining in my home. Do other members of my household need to quarantine too?
If I recently travelled outside of Canada, what should I do?  
Close Contacts
Someone who tested positive for COVID-19 has informed me that I am a close contact. What should I do? I think I may be a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 because I visited a facility or location where there was a case. What should I do?
I am a close contact of someone who is a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?  
 

Vaccinations

I received my first dose of AstraZeneca and I want to receive a second dose at a shortened interval. How do I book my second-dose appointment?

*Please Note: Individuals who received the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine as a first dose can receive either a second dose of AstraZeneca or receive a dose of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) at an eight to 12-week interval to complete their COVID-19 vaccine series. There is evidence that a longer interval between two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine (such as a 12-week interval) provides high protection.

If you choose to receive AstraZeneca for your second dose

If you received a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine and choose to receive AstraZeneca for your second dose, you should be offered the second dose at the recommended eight to 12-week interval after the first dose. This second dose is a safe and complete vaccination series.

To receive a second dose of AstraZeneca, you will need to locate and contact a pharmacy delivering AstraZeneca and book your second dose directly with them. None of the mass vaccination clinics in London and Middlesex-County are delivering the AstraZeneca vaccine

Here is Ontario’s COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations page: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations

If you choose to receive an mRNA vaccine for your second dose

Individuals who received AstraZeneca for their first dose and choose to receive an mRNA vaccine for their second dose can book their second dose at a mass vaccination clinic at an acelerated 8-week interval.

There are several options to schedule a second dose:

Booking an appointment at a mass vaccination site:

You can book your second dose appointment at covidvaccinelm.ca using Gate #5: I received my first dose elsewhere and now need to book a second dose. You can also book by calling 226-289-3560. Please note, you will need to have the following information ready in order to book your second-dose appointment:

  • The date you received your first dose
  • The location you received your first dose (in Ontario or outside of Ontario)
  • The type of vaccine you received (Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, etc.)

Based upon the information listed above, the system will calculate the earliest date at which you can book your appointment. Please note, the booking system only books appointments for the next 4 weeks so if the calculated date is further away than 4 weeks, please try back closer to calculated date.

Booking an appointment at a pharmacy:
You can book an appointment at a pharmacy offering mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna). You must contact the pharmacy directly to book. Here is Ontario’s COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations page: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.


I received my first COVID-19 vaccine dose outside London-Middlesex. How do I book my second-dose appointment?

If you received your first COVID-19 vaccine dose outside of London-Middlesex and you want an mRNA vaccine for your second dose, you can book your second dose appointment at covidvaccinelm.ca using Gate #5: I received my first dose elsewhere and now need to book a second dose. You can also book by calling 226-289-3560. Please note, you will need to have the following information ready in order to book your second-dose appointment:

  • The date you received your first dose
  • The location you received your first dose (in Ontario or outside of Ontario)
  • The type of vaccine you received (Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, etc.)

If you received your first dose of AstraZeneca and would like AstraZeneca for your second dose, you will need to locate and contact a pharmacy offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to book your second dose. None of the mass vaccination clinics in London and Middlesex-County are delivering the AstraZeneca vaccine. Here is Ontario’s COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations page: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations

Learn more if you received your COVID-19 vaccinations outside of Ontario or Canada.


I'm eligible to re-book my second dose appointment to an earlier date. Do I need to re-book at the same location where I received my first dose?

No, you can book your second dose at any mass vaccination clinic in London and Middlesex County as well as walk and receive a first or second dose of vaccine at any mass vaccination or walk-in pop-up clinic in Middlesex-London. Learn more → 

If you received your first dose at a mass vaccination clinic and choose to receive your second dose somewhere else (e.g. at a pharmacy or primary care clinic), please ensure you cancel your original second-dose appointment at the mass vaccination clinic.

Learn how to cancel a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.


I've re-booked my second-dose appointment at a mass vaccination clinic. How do I cancel my original second-dose appointment?

Cancelling a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

If you booked only one appointment with the same contact information and need to cancel:

Online: www.covidvaccinelm.ca - Use option 6: I need to cancel my second dose, then option 1: If you booked only one appointment with the same phone number or email address

If you booked multiple appointments with the same contact information:

Email: covidcancel@mlhu.on.ca and provide the following information:

  • First and last name of the person holding the appointment
  • Email address OR cell phone number used to book the appointment
  • Date, time and location of appointment needing to be cancelled

*Provide the above information for each person/appointment being cancelled

Phone: Call the MLHU Appointment Cancellation line - 519-963-4136 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday)

Learn more about booking and cancelling COVID-19 vaccination appointments here.


I had originally booked a second-dose appointment at a mass vacciantion clinic in London-Middlesex but have received an earlier second dose in a different setting (e.g. pharmacy, primary care, different region). Do I need to cancel my original second-dose appointment?

Yes, it is very important that you cancel your original second-dose appointment so that your appointment time can be given to someone else.

Please see the question above for instructions on how to cancel a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a mass vaccination clinic in London and Middlesex County, or visit: www.healthunit.com/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility


What does it mean to be a "fully vaccinated individual"?

In order to be considered "fully vaccinated" 14 days must have passed after an individual has received either:

  • the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine which requires two doses to be considered a "complete vaccine series"
    • Two-dose vaccines include: Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca
    • With vaccine interchangeability, a complete vaccine series can consist of a different COVID-19 vaccine for the first dose than for the second dose. For example, receiving Pfizer for a first dose and Moderna for the second dose is considered a "complete vaccine series."
  • the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine which requires a single dose to be considered a "complete vaccine series" 
    • Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada for use in Canada that requires a single dose.

Do I need to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. For vaccines that need two-doses, a maximum immune response occurs seven to 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine. This maximum immune response will protect you against severe COVID-19 outcomes including hospitalization and death.

There are significant amounts of COVID-19 variants of concern in our region and protection against some of these variants occurs only after the second dose.

The Ministry of Health states: “Long-term protection against COVID-19 is not achieved until after the second dose of vaccine is received for two dose vaccines”


I received an mRNA vaccine for my first dose. Will I get the same mRNA vaccine for my second dose?

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has determined that the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are interchangeable. This means that receiving a different mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for your second dose than for your first is safe and effective for protecting against COVID-19.


The Pfizer vaccine will be available at all mass vaccination and walk-in pop-up community vaccination clinics for anyone 12 years of age or older. Moderna will also be available at the following mass vaccination clinics for anyone 18 years of age or older:

  • North London Optimist Community Centre
  • Western Fair Agriplex
  • Caradoc Community Centre in Mount Brydges

If supply allows, and the mass vaccination clinic you attend has the same vaccine as your first dose available, you will be able to receive the same vaccine for your second dose.


Are mixed vaccine schedules safe and effective?

Receiving an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) after receiving AstraZeneca for your first dose

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now recommends that “an mRNA vaccine is now preferred as the second dose for individuals who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.” This is based upon studies that suggest a better immune response, including against variants of concern, when the mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is provided as the second shot. Since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are considered interchangeable, the second dose can also be of Moderna. Furthermore, evidence continues to support this mixed vaccine schedule is safe.

Receiving a different mRNA vaccine for your second dose than for your first dose

The practice of mixing similar vaccines from different manufacturers for different doses (known as a heterologous vaccine schedule) is not new, is used when vaccine supply or programs change, and is consistent with the guidance of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

Basic foundational vaccine principles inform that similar vaccines from different manufacturers are interchangeable when they:

  • are authorized for the same purpose
  • are authorized for the same populations
  • have similar schedules
  • have similar, or produce similar, types of antigens
  • have similar vaccine safety profiles
  • provide similar immune response and protection

Pfizer and Moderna meet all these criteria and are essentially the same vaccine, just produced by a different manufacturer. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that mixing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines will result in any decrease in safety or immune response. Due to this, NACI has declared the two mRNA vaccines to be interchangeable. Results from ongoing studies, including Canadian data, is also closely monitored by NACI to ensure ongoing safety and to make any updated recommendations.

More Information

Is it okay to mix Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to complete my vaccine series?

Yes. Pfizer and Moderna are essentially different brands of the same vaccine, and you will have the same protection against COVID-19 regardless of what you get for your first or second dose.

The interchangeability of mRNA vaccines has been supported by experts at both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Interchangeability means that you can receive either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine as your second dose, regardless of the type of vaccine you received for your first dose. Learn more →


Where will my vaccination occur?

Vaccinations are delivered in London and Middlesex County in three ways:

Mobile /  Pop-Up Clinics

Walk-in Pop-up Vaccination Clinics are being held around London and Middlesex County by the Middlesex-London Health Unit and Middlesex-London EMS.

Middlesex-London Health Unit Clinics

The clinics are open to anyone 12 years of age and older to receive their first or second dose. No appointments needed.

  • Pfizer vaccine available to anyone 12+
  • If your first dose was Pfizer or Moderna, pick any date more than 28 days after your first dose
  • If your first dose was AstraZeneca, pick any date more than 8 weeks (56 days) after your first dose
  • No health care required

Full schedule 

Middlesex-London EMS

The clinics below are open to anyone 18 years of age and older to receive their first or second dose of the Moderna vaccine. No appointment needed.

  • If your first dose was Pfizer or Moderna, pick any date more than 28 days after your first dose.
  • If your first dose was AstraZeneca, pick any date more than 8 weeks after your first dose.
  • Please bring your health card or photo identification.

Full schedule

 

Vaccination Clinics

Vaccination Clinics are currently operating at the Western Fair Agriplex, the North London Optimist Community Centre, and the Earl Nichols Recreation Centre in London and the Caradoc Community Centre in Mount Brydges. For clinic information, please visit: https://covidvaccinelm.ca/Location

Pharmacies

Select pharmacies will be offering the vaccine to individuals 12 years of age and over. For a list of participating pharmacies, please visit: COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations. Book directly through the pharmacy, either through calling them or using their online booking system, if available.


I have already had COVID-19. Should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, even if you’ve already had and recovered from COVID-19, it is still important for you to get a complete COVID-19 vaccine series, regardless of how severe your illness was. With the emergence of COVID-19 variants, and in particular the Delta variant, it isn’t clear whether having already had COVID-19 will provide adequate immunity against future infections. What we know is that having a complete COVID-19 vaccine series provides excellent protection against the novel coronavirus and its variants. 


Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm pregnant or planning to get pregnant?

Yes, it is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you're pregnant or planning a pregnancy. It is recommended that pregnant individuals (in any stage of their pregnancy) be vaccinted as soon as possible.

For more information, check out the Ministry of Health's Vaccination in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Patient Decision-Making Tool or speak with your primary care provider.


Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm breastfeeding?

Yes. There is no risk of the virus being transmitted through breast milk as none of the COVID-19 vaccines contain any live virus. The vaccine will help a mother to build antibodies that can be passed through breast milk to the baby to help protect them against COVID-19. 

For more information, check out the Ministry of Health's Vaccination in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Patient Decision-Making Tool or speak with your primary care provider.


About COVID-19

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that circulate in both humans and other animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are usually associated with mild illness, similar to the common cold, and can spread easily between people. There are some coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans, which have caused more severe illness in humans, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The risk of developing severe disease from the 2019 novel coronavirus may be higher if you have a weakened immune system. This may be the case for:

  • older people, and
  • anyone with chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer, heart, renal or chronic lung disease.

What is COVID-19?

On December 31, 2019, health authorities in China identified a new (or novel) coronavirus (referred to as 2019-nCoV), after several reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. On February 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially named the new illness COVID-19, where COVI stands for coronavirus, D stands for disease and 19 represents 2019, the year it was first identified in people.

It is believed that COVID-19 originated in another animal. It is the seventh strain of coronavirus.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

If you are a student or staff member screening for symptoms prior to going to school or child care, please complete the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool

If you are not a student or staff member of a school or child care setting and you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, take the COVID-19 self-assessment to help determine next steps.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Fever (temperature of 37.8°C/100.0°F or greater)

Chills

Cough that's new or worsening, continuous, more than usual

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. COPD)

Barking Cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (Croup)

Not related to other known causes or conditions

Shortness of breath (dyspnea, out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. asthma)

Decrease or loss of smell or taste (new olfactory or taste disorder)

Not related to other known causes of conditions (e.g. seasonal allergies, neurological disorders)

Sore throat 

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. seasonal allergies, acid reflux)

Difficulty swallowing (Painful swallowing)

Not related to other known causes or conditions

Runny nose 

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. seasonal allergies, returning inside from the cold)

Stuffy or congested nose

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. seasonal allergies)

Headache that's unusual or long lasting

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. tension-type headaches, chronic migraines)

Digestive issues like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. anxiety in children, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps)

Muscle aches that are unusual or long lasting

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. sudden injury, fibromyalgia)

Extreme tiredness that is unusual (Fatigue, lack of energy)

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. depression, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction)

Pink eye (Conjunctivitis)

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. reoccurring styes)

Falling down often (for older people)

Sluggishness or lack of appetite (for young children and infants)

Anyone with severe respiratory illness, or a medical emergency should call 9-1-1 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms.

Signs of severe respiratory illness include:

  • Severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words)
  • Severe chest pain (constant tightness or crushing sensation)
  • Feeling confused or unsure of where you are
  • Losing consciousness

Can COVID-19 be spread from person-to-person?

Coronaviruses can spread when the droplets due to cough or a sneeze from an infected person are breathed in deeply by anyone who is in close proximity to the infected person; similar to how the flu and other respiratory illnesses are spread.

There is evidence of human-to-human transmission of this virus; and while some viruses are highly contagious, other viruses are less so. It’s not yet clear how easily COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person.


How soon after being exposed to COVID-19 would symptoms occur?

The World Health Organization advises that symptoms may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 10 to 14 days, after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. This time period is subject to change and may be updated as new information becomes available.


How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

Coronavirus infections are diagnosed based on laboratory tests performed by healthcare providers. Testing typically involves taking a swab of a person's nose.

If you think you might have COVID-19, visit London's COVID-19 Assessment Centres for more information on next steps.


Is there a treatment for COVID-19?

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. If you experience severe symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath, call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.


Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

The following COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Oxford AstraZeneca
    *On June 3, 2021, the Province of Ontario updated its guidance for second doses for individuals who received a first dose of AstraZeneca to allow for receiving an mRNA vaccine or AstraZeneca for their second dose. Learn more →
  • Janssen

Learn more →


What is a COVID-19 Variant of Concern (VOC)?

Generally-speaking, viruses mutate over time. This can result in different variants, or strains, of the virus. This may affect how easily it is passed from one person to another, its severity and symptoms, and how it responds to prevention strategies, treatment and vaccines.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, has been found to be mutating and several strains have been detected. Some of these appear to spread more easily between people. These new strains of the virus are called variants of concern, or VOCs. Currently, variants of concern that have originated in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil have been detected.

Research into these variants of concern is ongoing. We continue to learn more about how easily they spread, the severity of illness they can cause, whether they may lead to increased hospitalizations, and how effective current vaccines are against them. As this research continues, it is very important to continue following the public health measures that have been shown to prevent the spread of COVID-19: maintain a physical distance of two metres from other people, don’t gather with others, wear a mask, stay home except for essential reasons, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.


What can members of the public do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

  • Get vaccinated, if 12 years of age or older. Learn more about how to book a vaccine appointment. 
  • Maintain physical distancing (6 feet / 2 metres) from anyone outside your household
  • Wear non-medical masks or face coverings in all indoor public spaces, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, and anywhere else where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Self-isolate if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, even mild, and get tested – your household members should quarantine until you receive your test result
  • Get tested - determine if you should get tested for COVID-19 by using the Self-Assessment Tool and quarantine until you receive a negative test result; if your test result is positive, you will be contacted by MLHU
  • Quarantine for 14 days if you have travelled outside of Canada
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds or use a waterless hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content
  • Cover coughs and/or sneezes with your sleeve or cough into your elbow
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas frequently

Where are face coverings required?

Face coverings are mandated in all public indoor settings within Ontario, such as businesses, facilities, and workplaces with limited exemptions, as per provincial legislation and regulations


What is a face covering?

Non-medical masks or face coverings ideally should be made of at least three layers: two layers should be tightly woven material fabric (e.g. cotton or linen) and the middle layer should be a filter-type fabric (e.g. non-woven polypropylene fabric, disposable filter, folded paper towel). Learn more →

Non-medical masks or face coverings should:

  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
  • maintain their shape after washing and drying
  • be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material (such as cotton or linen)
  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

NOTE: Face shields do not replace face coverings. Face shields may provide an additional layer of protection, but they should not be used in place of face coverings.


How do I wear a mask?

Make sure to properly wear, fit, remove, and clean or discard your non-medical mask or face covering. For more details, see the Public Health Agency of Canada's COVID-19: How to safely use a non-medical mask or face covering (do's and don'ts list) or watch the Government of Canada's video. The Government of Ontario also has instructions for Face coverings and face masks.

The use of a non-medical mask or other face covering will not protect you from getting COVID-19, but it may reduce the spread of your infectious respiratory droplets, should you be unknowingly infected.


Can I wear a face shield instead of a face covering?

Face shields do not replace face coverings. Face shields may provide an additional layer of protection, but they should not be used in place of face coverings.

In settings where employees will be within two metres of someone not wearing a mask, eye protection such as a face shield or goggles are also required, as per provincial legislation and regulations.

Face coverings, like cloth masks, must fit securely to the head and be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the mouth, nose and chin without gapping. Learn more →


Can I gather with other people?

London and Middlesex County are in Step Three of Ontario's Roadmap to Reopen. Please continue to follow public health guidance as Ontario safely and cautiously reopens. Step Three includes the following gathering limits:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events (up to 100 people)
  • Indoor gatherings (up to 25 people)

The Middlesex-London Health Unit strongly recommends that you:

  • Gather outdoors as much as possible; only gather indoors if absolutely necessary
    • If indoors, adhere to the gathering limit of 25 people and ensure everyone indoors is fully vaccinated
  • For families with children under 12 years of age who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated:
    • Limit close indoor contacts to your household (stay two metres away from anyone who isn't part of your household)
    • Gather outdoors as much as possible
    • Wear a mask if you absolutely must be indoors with anyone who isn't part of your household
  • Wear a mask, especially indoors, where physical distancing cannot be maintained

What is the COVID Alert mobile app?

The COVID Alert mobile app is an exposure notification app. Exposure notifications are alerts that you can receive on your cell phone that let you know you've been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The COVID Alert app is completely voluntary. If you download the app onto your phone, your phone exchanges randomized codes, through Bluetooth, with other phones nearby that also have the app. To operate the app, download it from the app store (App Store or Google Play), allow notifications, and have Bluetooth turned on. The app will run in the background, using minimal data and battery power.

A notification will appear on your screen if:

  • within that past 14 days you were within two metres of an app user for more than 15 minutes who has since tested positive for COVID-19, or
  • you were in contact with a user who has since tested positive during their more infectious days (usually two days before symptoms started)

The app will then provide you with the latest public health advice and resources and recommend next steps.

If you receive a notification from the COVID Alert mobile app, follow the directions the app provides.

The app does not collect or share any personal information such as name, phone number, location, or testing status. The data is encrypted and personal information is never collected or stored. Data on a user's phone is stored for up to 14 days, after which it is destroyed.

For more information, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covidalert


Testing

Can I get tested for COVID-19?

The Government of Ontario has directed that testing is available at all COVID-19 Assessment Centres for Ontarians who:

  • are showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, as informed by public health or an exposure notification through the COVID Alert app
  • are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by public health
  • are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care

For more information about COVID-19 symptoms and the COVID-19 Assessment Centres in London, see London's COVID-19 Assessment Centres.


Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

Assessment Centres

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre in London provides testing for the following:

  • those with COVID-19 symptoms
  • school children as per the school screening tool
  • those exposed to a confirmed case if officially confirmed by the Health Unit or the COVID Alert mobile app
  • those who are part of an outbreak investigation if officially confirmed by the Health Unit 
  • those who are part of a ministry testing initiative

For information about locations, hours of operations, and how to book an appointment, visit https://covidtestinglm.ca

London’s COVID-19 Assessment Centres are operated by the London Health Sciences Centre and the Thames Valley Family Health Team, with support from Middlesex-London Paramedic Services, the Middlesex-London Health Unit and the City of London.

Pharmacies

If you don't have symptoms but require a COVID-19 test as part of a ministry testing initiative (e.g. visiting or working at a long-term care home or retirement home), testing is available at several pharmacies. Learn more →

MyHealth Centre

MyHealth Centre provides COVID-19 testing in London, covered by the Ministry of Health, and is located at 1835 Dundas St. E., London. Learn more →

Western University

Western University is providing COVID-19 testing on campus for students, staff and faculty in the Western Student Recreation Centre. For current hours and additional information please visit the Western COVID-19 Testing Centre.

Fanshawe College

Fanshawe College provides COVID-19 testing for students and staff members experiencing COVID-19 symptoms at the Fowler Kennedy Medical Clinic at the London Campus. For more information and to book an appointment visit www.fanshawec.ca/student-life/campus-services/health-services.


How long does it take to receive COVID-19 test results?

Most test results will be received within 4 days; however, it can take up to seven days.


How do I access my COVID-19 test results?

If you have been tested for COVID-19 and have a valid Ontario Health Care, you can check your lab results online through the Ministry of Health Portal. Learn more →


How many COVID-19 tests are completed each day in Middlesex-London?

For a daily update of the number of people seen at the London Assessment Centres, please see Summary of COVID-19 Cases in Middlesex-London and click on the "Testing" tab. These numbers do not include tests completed by others in the health care sector including hospitals, long-term care homes, and emergency medical personnel.


I’ve been quarantining and have not tested positive for COVID-19. Do I have to get a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work and/or provide my employer with a letter when my quarantine is over? What do I do if my employer requires one?

Clearance tests (i.e. a negative COVID-19 test) are not required to return to work once an individual who has been advised to quarantine completes their quarantine period. Learn more about requirements for quarantining and self-isolation.

Employers are also encouraged to not require a letter from employees confirming they have completed their quarantine period. The Middlesex-London Health Unit will not provide such a letter.


I tested positive for COVID-19. Once I have completed my self-isolation period and been “cleared” by the Middlesex-London Health Unit, do I need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work and/or provide my employer with a letter when my quarantine is over? What do I do if my employer requires one?

Clearance tests (i.e. a negative COVID-19 test) are not required to return to work once an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 has completed their period of self-isolation and been cleared by the Middlesex-London Health Unit. Once an individual’s self-isolation period is complete, they are able to leave self-isolation and resume their normal daily tasks as long as they do not have a fever and their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours. Learn more about requirements for quarantining and self-isolation.

Employers are also encouraged to not require a letter from employees confirming they have completed their self-isolation period. The Middlesex-London Health Unit will not provide such a letter.


I tested positive for COVID-19. If I get re-tested after my period of self-isolation, will I still test positive? If so, does that mean I’m still contagious?

The self-isolation period for COVID-19 is based on the longest estimate of how long a person is contagious. Once a person completes their period of self-isolation and is cleared by the Middlesex-London Health Unit, they are no longer considered contagious. They may, however, continue to test positive for COVID-19 after their period of self-isolation. Public health will determine whether or not the positive test is an indication of a new infection and next steps.


Self-Isolation and Quarantine

What does self-isolating mean?

Self-isolation separates sick individuals with a contagious disease, like COVID-19, from people who are not sick to prevent the disease from spreading.

Self-isolation requires an individual to:

  • stay home, unless you need to get tested or require emergency medical care
    • do not use public transportation, taxis, or rideshares
  • avoid contact with others
    • do not have visitors unless they are essential 
    • stay in a separate room from others in your home, as much as possible, make sure shared rooms have good airflow, and use a separate bathroom if you have one
  • maintain physical distance
    • keep at least two metres distance and wear a mask if you are in a room with anyone else
    • others in a room with you should also wear a mask

Learn more →


When should I self-isolate?

You should self-isolate if:

  • you develop COVID-19-like symptoms - get tested for COVID-19
  • you are contacted by the Health Unit and told to self-isolate
  • you receive a notification from the COVID Alert mobile app and the app advises you to self-isolate
  • you have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for results
  • you have tested positive for COVID-19

For how long must I self-isolate? 

Always follow the direction provided to you by the Health Unit.

If you test positive for COVID-19, self-isolation usually lasts:

  • 10 days if you have mild to moderate symptoms
  • 20 days if you have severe symptoms requiring hospitalization and/or ICU support
  • 20 days if you are severely immune compromised

If you test negative for COVID-19 and have symptoms, self-isolate until you no longer have a fever and symptoms have improved for 24 hours.


What does quarantining mean?

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who do not have symptoms, but were exposed to a contagious disease, like COVID-19, to see if they develop symptoms. It is an important step to prevent the spread.

Quarantining requires an individual to:

  • stay home, unless you need to get tested or require emergency medical care
    • do not use public transportation, taxis, or rideshares
  • avoid contact with others
    • do not have visitors, even if you are outdoors
    • avoid contact with others in your household
  • maintain physical distance
    • keep at least two metres distance and wear a mask if you are in a room with anyone else
    • others in a room with you should also wear a mask
  • if staying in a hotel, do not use shared spaces such as lobbies, courtyards, restaurants, gyms or pools
  • avoid quarantining at home if you cannot separate from those living with you (e.g. a communal living setting, student dormitory with shared common spaces, shared small apartment, etc.)
  • monitor yourself for symptoms
    • take and record your temperature daily

Learn more →


When should I quarantine?

You must quarantine for 14 days if:

  • you have returned to Canada from travel outside of Canada
    • If any member of the household in which you are quarantining works at or attends a childcare centre or elementary or secondary school, the entire household should quarantine for 14 days. For more information, follow the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening
  • you are contacted by the Health Unit and told to quarantine 
  • you are contacted by someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and they have advised you that you are a close contact
    • If you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to quarantine; however, you should get tested and if you develop any symptoms, you must self-isolate and get tested.
  • a member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19 and does not get tested
    • If you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to quarantine; however, you should get tested and if you develop any symptoms, you must self-isolate and get tested

If a member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19, all other household members must quarantine until the test results are known, unless they are fully vaccinated. Learn more →

Similarly, if you are notified that you are a close contact of someone awaiting COVID-19 test results, it is suggested that you quarantine until their test results are known, unless you are fully vaccinated.


Someone in my household has travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days and is quarantining in my home. Do other members of my household need to quarantine too?

If anyone in your household either works at or attends a childcare centre or elementary or secondary school, all members of the household should quarantine. Follow the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening.

For all other situations, all members of the household must stay home and only go out for essential reasons (i.e. work, school, childcare, groceries, medical appointments or picking up prescriptions) as long as the person who has returned from travel is able to remain away from the rest of the household while quarantining. Household members should also self-monitor for symptoms and should symptoms develop, self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.


Someone in my household has been identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Do other members of my household need to quarantine too?

If the household member who has been identified as a close contact has symptoms of COVID-19, they should self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19. If the other household members are not fully vaccinated, they must quarantine until a test result is obtained. If the results are negative, the member who is a close contact must continue to quarantine for 14 days. All other household members are then required to stay home except for essential reasons (i.e. work, school, childcare, groceries, medical appointments or picking up prescriptions) for the duration of the close contact's quarantine period. If the close contact with symptoms does not get tested for COVID-19, all other household members must quarantine for 14 days.

If the other household members are fully vaccinated, they are not required to quarantine either until the test results are obtained or if the close contact refuses to get tested. If the test results are negative, they also are not required to stay home except for essential reasons for the duration of the close contact’s quarantine period.

Furthermore, if the close contact is also fully vaccinated and has symptoms of COVID-19, upon receiving a negative test result, they are not required to quarantine for 14 days and only need to remain self-isolating until their symptoms are resolved for 24 hours. Learn more →

If the household member who has been identified as a close contact does not have symptoms of COVID-19, they must quarantine away from the other members of the household, unless they have been fully vaccinated. All other household members are required to stay home except for essential reasons (i.e. work, school. childcare, groceries, medical appointments or picking up prescriptions) for the duration of the close contact's quarantine period, unless they also have been fully vaccinated.

For more information for requirements of staff or students at elementary schools, secondary schools, or child care settings, please follow the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening.

For more information about requirements for close contacts, read the following FAQs:


How do I report someone who is not quarantining after international travel?

All travellers returning from outside Canada must quarantine for 14 days under a quarantine order from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The federal government enforces this by following up and conducting spot checks to verify compliance.

To report non-compliance, contact local police. For London Police, the non-emergency phone number is 519-661-5670 or use the online reporting system. In Middlesex County, call the OPP non-emergency line at 1-888-310-1122 or submit a report at opp.ca/reporting.


I’ve been quarantining and have not tested positive for COVID-19. Do I have to get a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work and/or provide my employer with a letter when my quarantine is over? What do I do if my employer requires one?

Clearance tests (i.e. a negative COVID-19 test) are not required to return to work once an individual who has been advised to quarantine completes their quarantine period. Learn more about requirements for quarantining and self-isolation.

Employers are also encouraged to not require a letter from employees confirming they have completed their quarantine period. The Middlesex-London Health Unit will not provide such a letter.


I tested positive for COVID-19. Once I have completed my self-isolation period and been “cleared” by the Middlesex-London Health Unit, do I need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work and/or provide my employer with a letter when my quarantine is over? What do I do if my employer requires one?

Clearance tests (i.e. a negative COVID-19 test) are not required to return to work once an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 has completed their period of self-isolation and been cleared by the Middlesex-London Health Unit. Once an individual’s self-isolation period is complete, they are able to leave self-isolation and resume their normal daily tasks as long as they do not have a fever and their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours. Learn more about requirements for quarantining and self-isolation.

Employers are also encouraged to not require a letter from employees confirming they have completed their self-isolation period. The Middlesex-London Health Unit will not provide such a letter.


I tested positive for COVID-19. If I get re-tested after my period of self-isolation, will I still test positive? If so, does that mean I’m still contagious?

The self-isolation period for COVID-19 is based on the longest estimate of how long a person is contagious. Once a person completes their period of self-isolation and is cleared by the Middlesex-London Health Unit, they are no longer considered contagious. They may, however, continue to test positive for COVID-19 after their period of self-isolation. Public health will determine whether or not the positive test is an indication of a new infection and next steps.


Travel

I plan on travelling outside of Canada. What do I need to know?

First and foremost, at this time it is strongly recommended at all non-essential travel, domestic and international, be avoided in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Other countries may require proof of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 prior to travelling there. Effective Friday, January 15, London's COVID-19 Assessment Centres will no longer be conducting tests for international travelling purposes. This is in compliance with a change in testing criteria from the Province of Ontario.  Individuals requiring testing for international travel clearance should consult their travel carrier for the most up-to-date information. For information on accessing a COVID-19 test in Middlesex-London for the purposes of international travel, visit: covidtestinglm.ca/london-locations-covid-19-testing-for-international-travel/.

For information about travel requirements for entering Canada, please visit:

For information about travel restrictions, exemptions, and advice visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

For information about your safety and security outside of Canada during COVID-19, visit: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/covid-19-security


I plan on travelling outside of Ontario to another province or territory in Canada. What do I need to know?

First and foremost, at this time it is strongly recommended at all non-essential travel, domestic and international, be avoided in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health has strongly advised that individuals and families who arrive or return to Ontario should self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Some provinces and territories have additional travel restrictions, for example, prohibiting non-essential travel into the province, limiting access to certain regions within the province, or mandatory quarantines. Please refer to the list of provincial and territorial websites for more information.


If I recently travelled outside of Canada, what should I do?

On March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act which requires people entering Canada to quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, air travellers are required, upon returning to Canada, to reserve and stay in a room at a Government of Canada-approved hotel while awaiting their test results, at their own expense. Learn more →

If, while in quarantine symptoms develop, you must self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.

Effective July 5, 2021, some travel restrictions will ease for individuals who are fully vaccinated and entering Canada. Learn more →

For more details, see Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice from the Government of Canada.

You can also check to see if your flight, cruise, or attended mass gathering had a confirmed case which may help you to better assess your risk of exposure.


How do I report someone who is not quarantining after international travel?

All travellers returning from outside of Canada must quarantine for 14 days under a quarantine order from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The federal government enforces this by following up and conducting spot checks to verify compliance.

To report non-compliance, contact local police. For London Police, the non-emergency phone number is 519-661-5670 or use the online reporting system. In Middlesex County, call the OPP non-emergency line at 1-888-310-1122 or submit a report at opp.ca/reporting.


Someone in my household has travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days and is quarantining in my home. Do other members of the household need to quarantine too?

If anyone in your household either works at or attends a childcare centre or elementary or secondary school, all members of the household should quarantine. Follow the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening.

For all other situations, all members of the household must stay home and only go out for essential reasons (i.e. work, school, childcare, groceries, medical appointments or picking up prescriptions) as long as the person who has returned from travel is able to remain away from the rest of the household while quarantining. Household members should also self-monitor for symptoms and should symptoms develop, self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.


Close Contacts

Someone who tested positive for COVID-19 has informed me that I am a close contact. What should I do?

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated:

  • Quarantine yourself until you are contacted by the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
    • You may or may not be contacted directly by the Health Unit. If you are not contacted, you will receive a letter or email with instructions. This letter or email may come directly from the individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 with whom you were a close contact or from your employer or school.
    • If you have not received a letter or email or been contacted directly by the Health Unit within three days, continue to self-monitor for symptoms.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms
  • Do not get tested for COVID-19 as it may be too soon to be tested
  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, complete the online Self-Assessment Tool and go for testing if instructed

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated:

  • You do not need to quarantine
  • Testing is recommended:
    • If you have a household or ongoing exposure - get tested as soon as possible and re-tested again on day 10 from your last exposure if your first test is between one and six days from your last exposure
    • If you have a one-time exposure - get tested on day seven from your last exposure
  • Self-monitor for symptoms and if symptoms develop, self-isolate, complete the online Self-Assessment Tool and get tested if the tool instructs.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated:

  • Self-isolate and get tested - you can book an appointment at an Assessment Centre. Learn how →
    • If your test results are negative, you should still quarantine yourself 
      • You may or may not be contacted directly by the Health Unit as a close contact. If you are not contacted, you will receive a letter or email with instructions. This letter or email may come directly from the individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 with whom you were a close contact or from your employer or school.
    • If your test results are positive, you will be contacted by the Health Unit
    • If you have not received a letter or email or been contacted directly by the Health Unit within three days, continue to self-monitor for symptoms.
  • All your household contacts should also be in quarantine while you await your test results, unless they are fully vaccinated. Learn more →

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated:

  • Self-isolate and get tested - you can book an appointment at an Assessment Centre. Learn how →
    • If your test results are negative, you should continue to self-isolate until your symptoms are resolved for 24 hours, but you do not need to quaratine after that
  • All your household contacts should also be in quarantine while you await your test results, unless they are fully vaccinated. Learn more →

I am a close contact of someone who is a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • If you live in the same household as someone who is a close contact and they have symptoms of COVID-19, at this time you need to self-isolate, unless you are fully vaccinated.
  • If you live in the same household as someone who is a close contact and they do not have symptoms of COVID-19, they must quarantine for 14 days, unless they are fully vaccinated. If they quarantine away from you, you are not required to quarantine but should monitor yourself for symptoms. If symptoms develop, self-isolate and use the online Self-Assessment Tool and follow the instructions. If symptoms develop in the person who is a close contact, they should self-isolate and get tested. While awaiting the test results, all other household members must quarantine.
  • If you do not live in the same household as the close contact, you do not need to self-isolate, you need to monitor yourself for symptoms. If symptoms develop, self-isolate and use the online Self-Assessment Tool and follow the instructions.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Self-isolate and use the online Self-Assessment Tool and follow the instructions.
  • All your household contacts should also be in quarantine while you await your test results, unless they are fully vaccinated. Learn more →

I think I may be a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 because I visited a facility or location where there was a case. What should I do?

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, complete the online Self Assessment Tool and go for testing if instructed. You can book a test at an Assessment Centre online. Learn how →

If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Self-isolate and get tested – you can book an appointment at an Assessment Centre. Learn how →
  • Remain in self-isolation until you receive a negative test result and your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.
  • All your household contacts should also be in quarantine while you are awaiting test results.

 
Date of creation: January 27, 2020
Last modified on: July 29, 2021