COVID-19 Disease and Infection

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was first identified in late 2019 and declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. On this page you will find information and resources about COVID-19. 

COVID-19 in Huron and Perth

Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) no longer updates our own dashboards on COVID-19 testing, cases, and vaccination. Similar information is available through Public Health Ontario's interactive Ontario COVID-19 data tool, including case counts by hospitalizations and deaths, vaccine uptake by age, sex, and public health unit, outbreaks, and more. 

How to see Huron Perth information in the provincial data tool

Please visit Ontario COVID-19 data tool. Scroll part way down the page until you see the blue bar with tabs. 

Click on the COVID-19 and Influenza Activity tab to see a provincial summary. 

To find Huron Perth information: 

  1. On the blue menu bar you will see different tabs labelled Case trends/Age and Sex/Maps/Outbreaks/Vaccines, etc. 
  2. Click on the tab that you want information on 
  3. In the "Public Health Unit" dropdown menu, click on the arrow and scroll down to "Huron Perth Health Unit" 
  4. A graph with Huron Perth information will automatically load. 


Additional COVID-19 data sources and reports:

If you were exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms

If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing other severe symptoms, call 9-1-1 and inform them that you may have COVID-19. 

Visit the provincial webpage, Protection from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses to learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your community from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. 

Stay home when sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 or another respiratory illness, stay home to prevent spreading the virus to others, except to seek testing or medical care if required. 

You should stay home until all of the following apply to you: 

  • your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you had nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea)
  • you do not have a fever
  • you do not develop any additional symptoms

When your symptoms are improving and you are no longer isolating at home, doing the following can provide extra protection against the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses circulating in the community. 

For 10 days after your symptoms started: 

  • wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings
  • avoid non-essential activities where you need to take off your mask (for example, dining out) 
  • avoid non-essential visits to anyone who is immunocompromised or may be at higher risk of illness (for example, seniors) 
  • avoid non-essential visits to highest risk settings in the community such as hospitals and long-term care homes

If you work in a high risk setting

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 and work in a high-risk setting (such as a hospital, a long-term care home, or a retirement home), you should speak with your employer and follow your workplace guidance for return to work. 

Staying safe in school and child care settings

While most COVID-19 public health measures have been lifted, COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory illnesses are still circulating in our community and may pose a risk of severe outcomes in some people. Children under the age of five are especially vulnerable to influenza and RSV. The following protective measures will help reduce the risk of respiratory virus transmission in schools: 

  • Monitoring yourself and your children for respiratory symptoms daily, including using the School and childcare screening tool 
  • Staying home when sick
  • Wearing a well-fitted face mask in indoor public settings (children aged 2 to 5 should only wear a mask if they are being supervised, if they can safely tolerate masking, and if they can put on and take off the mask themselves)
  • Staying up-to-date with COVID-19, influenza and routine vaccines 
  • Testing for COVID-19 (using a Rapid Antigen Test) if symptomatic or exposed to someone with the virus
  • Practicing good hand hygiene (washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer) 
  • Cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, a mask, or your elbow

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms

For information on isolation and what to do if you test positive for COVID-19, visit the provincial webpage, Protection from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses or call the Provincial Testing and Isolation Line at 1-888-777-0730 (available Monday to Sunday 8am-6pm). 

Please see the following provincial resources for more information: 

  • COVID-19 health advice for a list of symptoms, instructions on self-isolating, and additional precautions 
  • Take the COVID-19 self-assessment to receive recommendations on what to do if you have symptoms of illness or have tested positive for COVID-19. You can also complete the assessment on behalf of someone else
  • Take the school and child care screener to make sure it's safe to go to school/child care
  • Take the long-term care home screener [PDF] to find out if it's safe to visit or go to work in a long-term care home
COVID-19 Testing and Results

If you have questions related to COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines, please call the Provincial Testing and Isolation Information Line at 1-888-777-0730 or visit the Protection from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses webpage. 

For information on testing eligibility, testing locations, and receiving results please visit COVID-19 testing and treatment.

If you have symptoms but are not eligible for testing, assume you have COVID-19 and follow COVID-19 health advice.

Rapid Antigen Testing

Huron Perth Public Health does not have rapid antigen tests for distribution. Please see the relevant categories below for information on how to access rapid antigen tests. For more information on what to do if you get a positive rapid antigen test result or are symptomatic, please visit the provincial webpage, Protection from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

  • For information about rapid testing for at-home use and to find a list of participating retail locations, visit the webpage Rapid testing for at-home use 
  • All businesses under 150 employees can access free rapid antigen tests through participating Chambers of Commerce. These kits are for screening employees on a regular basis, not to be held in storage.

COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinics in Huron Perth closing March 31, 2023

As a result of lower rates of COVID-19 and a reduction in demand for services, the Huron Perth & Area Ontario Health Team has announced that Stratford, Goderich, and Grand Bend COVID, Cold, and Flu Care Clinics (CCFCCs) will close on March 31, 2023. 

After this date, if you think you need a COVID-19 test, assessment or treatment, you can: 

  • Contact your pharmacy or locate the nearest pharmacy that provides COVID-19 testing
  • Contact your primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner) 
  • Call 811 or visit online for more information about testing, assessment, and treatment

If you think you have COVID-19 and are seeking treatment, don't delay. You will need to start treatment within 5 days of the start of symptoms. 

Anyone with severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, or any other medical emergency should call 9-1-1.

COVID-19 Antiviral Treatments

For general information and eligibility, please visit Antiviral Treatments

To determine if you are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 and should be assessed for treatment, use the provincial COVID-19 antiviral treatment screener

Antiviral treatment is not a substitute for vaccination and is intended for those who are at higher risk of severe outcomes. To learn more about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, please visit COVID-19 vaccines.

If you have symptoms (even if mild) and are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, seek testing and care immediately by either: 

  • contacting a pharmacist who is prescribing Paxlovid
  • visiting a clinical assessment centre (where you can get tested, assessed, and treated or a prescription)
  • contacting a primary care provider (for example, your family doctor or nurse practitioner)

You can use a rapid antigen test if you have one, but it's important to understand that these tests may be negative in the early stages of infection. If you do not have a rapid antigen test, or if your test result is negative, seek PCR testing and clinical assessment immediately. 

If you are high risk and do not have a primary care provider or are having difficulty accessing care, call Health811 (formerly Telehealth) at 8-1-1 or visit the Health811 website. You can speak to or chat online with a nurse for information on antiviral treatments, assistance, or eligibility for virtual care options. 

If you do not have symptoms but are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, talk to your primary care provider about getting pre-assessed for treatment in case you contract COVID-19. 

Post COVID-19 Condition (Long COVID)

Post COVID-19 condition is when the symptoms of COVID-19 persist for more than 12 weeks after the infection. It's also known as long COVID and can affect both adults and children.

You can show symptoms of post COVID-19 condition even if you: 

  • weren't formally tested and diagnosed with COVID-19
  • only had mild to moderate symptoms when you had COVID-19

Post COVID-19 condition is not COVID-19. Symptoms can persist for weeks or months from the initial COVID-19 infection, but you can also develop new ones. 

The best way to prevent post COVID-19 condition is to take measures to avoid getting infected in the first place, such as staying home when sick, wearing a well-fitted mask, and getting vaccinated.

For more information:

COVID-19 Vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages six months and older. For more information please see COVID-19 Vaccine.