2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

With key public health and health system indicators continuing to remain stable or improve, Ontario is cautiously and gradually easing public health and workplace safety measures with all remaining measures, directives and orders to end by April 27, 2022

Waterloo Region residents are strongly advised to continue practicing public health measures and, if eligible, get vaccinated to slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe COVID-19 symptoms, call 911. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history, if applicable.

To get the latest information on what you need to do to protect yourself and others please visit what to do if you’ve been exposed. For recommendations on what to do if you’ve been exposed, have symptoms or for screening take the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool for yourself or on behalf of someone else. For schools/child care, please refer to the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool.

If you have questions related to COVID-19 case or contact testing and isolation guidance, call the Provincial Testing and Isolation Information line at 1-888-777-0730, available from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Sunday.

COVID-19 assessment and testing

COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 self-assessment

COVID-19 Vaccine

Public Health news and notices

Return to school

Waterloo Region COVID-19 summary

 On this page

Background

Region of Waterloo Public Health continues to work closely with local hospitals, health care partners, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and many community partners to respond to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Waterloo Region.

For more information visit the Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness - like the flu and other common respiratory infections - to severe. The full list of COVID-19 symptoms can be found at what to do if you’ve been exposed.

If you have any symptoms use the self-assessment tool. The screening tool will help determine if you need to seek care, or testing, based on your symptoms. Follow the instructions in the tool. 

If you or someone you live with receives a positive RAT or PCR result, follow the applicable isolation guidelines found at what to do if you’ve been exposed.

If you have questions related to COVID-19 case or contact testing and isolation guidelines, please call the Provincial Testing and Isolation Information line at 1-888-777-0730, available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Sunday.

Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home.

Symptoms that get worse

If you have symptoms that get worse, such as a cough or fever:

  • Call your health care provider (if applicable)
  • Call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000

Severe symptoms

If you have severe symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, confusion, or loss of consciousness:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the hospital emergency department and advise them of your symptoms and travel history, if applicable

Access appropriate healthcare from your health care provider or an emergency department if you are experiencing severe symptoms. Region of Waterloo Public Health is not able to provide phone assessments of symptoms.

What to do if you are a close contact 

If you think you may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, please follow the guidelines at what to do if you’ve been exposed.

If you have any symptoms use the self-assessment tool. The screening tool will help determine if you need to seek care, or testing, based on your symptoms. Follow the instructions in the tool. 

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms 
If you have any symptoms use the self-assessment tool. The screening tool will help determine if you need to seek care, or testing, based on your symptoms. Follow the instructions in the tool. 
How to self-isolate 

See how to self-isolate for guidance. To determine if you should self-isolate, complete the self-assessment tool.  

If you think you may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, please follow the guidelines at what to do if you’ve been exposed.

Safe voluntary isolation site 

Region of Waterloo Public Health has a safe voluntary isolation site to support individuals who are unable to isolate safely at home. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit our Safe Voluntary Isolation Site webpage. 

This project is made possible through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

How to self-monitor 

See how to self-monitor for guidance. To determine if you should self-monitor, complete the self-assessment tool.

If you think you may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, please follow the guidelines at what to do if you’ve been exposed

Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT)

Rapid antigen testing can be used to confirm the presence of COVID-19 by detecting certain proteins found in the virus. A sample, for a RAT can be self-collected, and can produce results in as little as 15 minutes.

A positive test result does not need to be reported to a public health unit unless otherwise directed by public health guidance. If you receive a positive result on a rapid antigen test, you no longer need to book a PCR test to confirm your results.

If you or someone you live with receives a positive RAT or PCR result, follow the applicable isolation guidelines found at what to do if you’ve been exposed.

Rapid Antigen Test results 

A positive RAT result:

  • Is a good indication that you have COVID-19
  • Does not need to be confirmed by a PCR test
  • Does not need to be reported to a public health unit unless otherwise directed by public health

A negative RAT result:

  • A single negative test cannot rule out COVID-19 infection by itself
  • People infected with COVID-19 may test negative for several days before testing positive on a RAT. A negative RAT may represent a false negative, or the status of the individual may change within hours of taking the test.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, assume that you may have the virus and may be contagious. If you have any symptoms use the self-assessment tool.
Rapid Antigen Test instructions 

For guidance on how to properly conduct and read a rapid antigen test, please consult the manufacturer instructions specific to the test you are using, please see resources by test type.

To review instructions on how to collect a sample, please visit how to collect a sample.

To watch a video on how to use a rapid antigen test, please watch at-home antigen self-screening video

Where to get a RAT 
Please visit, get a free rapid test kit to identify if a retailer near you has free test kits available. 

Treatment

For information on caring for someone with COVID-19 and antiviral treatment information, visit our webpage.

 

Travelling

For information on travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, please see Government of Canada COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders

How to protect yourself

Waterloo Region residents should consider COVID-19 to be circulating in the community. Please visit COVID-19: Stop the spread for information on how to reduce transmission of the virus.

Layers of protection 
Please review the, How to Protect yourself from COVID-19 fact sheet, for more information on how to layer protection from COVID-19. 
COVID-19 variants 
For more information on the variants of the virus please see, COVID-19 variants

Social determinants of health

For information about social determinants of health that impact the distribution of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region, review the following presentations:

Support during COVID-19 
For more information on what financial, mental health and other supports are available please visit, COVID-19 support for people and COVID-19 community supports
Individuals living in high-risk settings 
For more information on the action plan to protect those living in high-risk settings see, COVID-19 action plan: Protecting vulnerable Ontarians

Resources

COVID-19 exposure 
General information 

Translated resources

For more resources in translation visit the Immigration Partnership.

This website has a built in translation feature that can translate any page on the website into one of over 90 languages. Watch the video "How to use the Google Translate feature."

Additional translated resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Review our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Submit a COVID-19 complaint

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