Microscopic close up of COVID-19

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

This article is updated as new information becomes available.

Canada's COVID-19 updates and resources

We recommend using the Government of Canada's COVID-19 website or the Android or iOS apps for getting current and accurate information on the pandemic. These have excellent information, downloads and resources related to self-monitoring, self-isolation, vulnerable populations and how citizens can reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Download the COVID-19 Alert app today

COVID Alert helps us break the cycle of infection. The app can let people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear. Available for iOS and Android.

Download Now or Learn More

COVID-19 Self-assessment

If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

Launch Self-assessment Tool

Latest Updates

Ontario hiring hundreds more contact tracers and case managers

Published October 19, 2020

The Ontario government is taking immediate action to expand case and contact management to help track, trace and isolate new cases of COVID-19. The province has hired 100 new contact tracers, many of whom are starting work this week, with up to 500 more recruits expected to be hired by mid-November. These new positions are part the province's fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, which dedicates $1.376 billion to enhance and expand testing and contact tracing in the province.

Read the press release.

Province issues safety guidelines for Halloween

Published October 19, 2020

Ontario public officer of health has recommended that people in Stage 2 regions should not participate in traditional trick-or-treating activities and those in other areas should do only outdoor, physically distant trick-or-treating.

Read the press release.

Ontario implementing additional public health measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region

Published October 9, 2020

Modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Read the press release.

New COVID-19 precautions and long-term care homes

Published October 6, 2020

The province has updated its visitor policy to address areas where there is higher community spread of COVID-19. Starting Wednesday, October 7, 2020, general visitors will not be allowed in long-term care homes in the following communities. Only essential visitors, including up to one caregiver per resident, will be allowed to visit. If the home is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 the local public health unit will provide direction on further visitor restrictions and other measures.

Read the press release.

Ontario implementing additional public health and testing measures to keep people safe

Published October 2, 2020

Provincial government is tightening public health measures in response to the second wave of COVID-19 and in preparation for the cold winter months, the government is taking action to reduce testing turnaround times while prioritizing those who are at the greatest risk.

Read the press release.

Province provides $461 million to temporarily enhance wages for personal support workers

Published October 1, 2020

The Ontario government is supporting personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors by investing $461 million to temporarily enhance wages. This investment will help the province attract and retain the workforce needed to care for patients, clients and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the press release.

Ontario revises COVID-19 screening guidance for schools and child care

Published October 1, 2020

The school and child care screening guidance is being updated with two sets of questions about symptoms and information to help parents make informed decisions about whether their children should attend school or child care, need to consult a health care provider, or get tested for COVID-19. The guidance can be found immediately at the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Children in School and Child Care, and the refreshed online tool will launch on Friday, October 2 for download.

Read the press release.

Previous Updates

Local Updates

Highlands East issues reminder of State of Emergency and urges caution as we all prepare for second wave

Published September 30, 2020

Highlands East is reminding residents and visitors of new lower limits to private social gatherings (10 people at an indoor event or gathering and 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering) as well as asking that we all continue to follow these every steps to help stop the spread:

  • Stay home when ill or keeping children home from school when ill, even with mild symptoms;
  • Maintain physical distance by keeping at least two metres from others outside of your social circle;
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; and 
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so.

Testing and tracking are important tools

Testing is available at your local assessment centre or participating pharmacies to those who fall under the updated COVID-19 testing guidelines.  You can visit www.ontario.ca/covidtest to find the closest assessment centre or pharmacy in your area.

We also encourage everyone to use the COVID Alert App to help stop the spread and assist with contact tracing and early detection.

Be safe this Thanksgiving

Mayor Burton states, “Thanksgiving weekend will soon be upon us and we want to ensure that everyone remains safe and healthy.  It is imperative, now more than ever that we all do our part and remain vigilant to reduce the risk of transmission.  We must all do our part to ensure we stay the course”. 

Read our media release.

For updates made between March and September 2020 please view our Archived Local COVID-19 Information.

Provincial Updates

Province delivers $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan

Published September 30, 2020

The Ontario government has developed a $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan to ensure the province's health care, long-term care and education systems are prepared for the immediate challenges of the fall, including a second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season. Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19 will enable the province to quickly identify, prevent and respond to surges and waves of the virus to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians.

Read the press release.

Ontario releases updated COVID-19 modelling for second wave

Published September 30, 2020

Modelling shows following public health measures remains critical to stop the spread.

Read the press release.

Province providing over half a billion dollars to protect vulnerable seniors against second wave of COVID-19

Published September 29, 2020

As part of the Fall Preparedness Plan, the government is enabling necessary renovations and measures to improve infection prevention and control, shoring up personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles, and building a strong health care workforce.

Read the press release. 

Ontario investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support more health care workers

Published September 28, 2020

The Ontario government is investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers to ensure our health care system can meet any surge in demand, while continuing to provide safe and high-quality care to patients and long-term care residents. This investment is part of the province's COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19.

Read the press release.

New public health measures implemented provincewide

Published September 25, 2020

Over the past five weeks, Ontario has experienced an increase in the rate of new COVID-19 cases. Private social gatherings continue to be a significant source of transmission in many local communities, along with outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments, including strip clubs, with most cases in the 20-39 age group. To ensure the continued health and safety of Ontarians, reduce the risk of transmission, and limit future outbreaks of COVID-19, the amended order will apply province-wide effective 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, September 26 and will:

  • Apply additional measures and restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) by prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m., and prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises after 12:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. (including employees), and requiring establishments to close by 12:00 a.m. and remain closed until 5:00 a.m. except for takeout or delivery;
  • Close all strip clubs across the province; and
  • Require businesses or organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19, including screening individuals who wish to enter their premises.

Read the press release.

Province investing more than $1 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing

Published September 24, 2020

The Ontario government is building on the largest provincial testing initiative in Canada by providing $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management. The government is also immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province's long-term care homes, retirement homes and schools. These investments are part of the province's comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19.

Read the press release.

Critical delivery program of food and essentials for seniors and people with disabilities extended into 2021

Published September 24, 2020

The Ontario government is extending the Ontario Community Support Program until March 2021. This will ensure that low-income seniors and people with disabilities, many who are self isolating due to COVID-19, can continue to get meals and other essential supplies delivered to their homes in the upcoming winter months. 

Read the press release.

Ontario updates COVID-19 testing guidelines

Published September 24, 2020

Ontario has updated testing guidelines to prioritize those who are at the greatest risk, while shifting away from untargeted asymptomatic testing.

Publicly-funded testing will be available and easily accessible for those who are symptomatic, have had close contact with a confirmed case, or are part of an outbreak investigation. In addition, testing will continue to be available on a targeted basis for specific asymptomatic individuals who are at greater risk due to their health condition or employment, at the direction of the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care. Evolving our testing guidance in this way will support timely access to testing for those who need it.

Effective immediately, Ontarians should only seek testing at assessment centres if you are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit; and
  • Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Starting on September 25, you can get tested for COVID-19 at select pharmacies if you are not showing symptoms and eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Read the press release.

Province expands COVID-19 testing to pharmacies

Published September 23, 2020

As of Friday, up to 60 pharmacies in Ontario will begin offering testing by appointment only, with further locations coming online in the coming weeks. This initiative will expand testing capacity well beyond the province's 150 assessment centres.

Read the press release.

Ontario set to launch largest Flu immunization campaign in province's history

Published September 22, 2020

The Ontario government is implementing the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario's history. The campaign is part of the province's comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19. The plan, entitled Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, sets out a series of steps to prevent, identify and respond to any outbreak scenario this fall.

Read the press release.

Ontario limits the size of unmonitored and private social gatherings across entire province

Published September 19, 2020

Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.

The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:

  • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
  • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.

The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect.

These new limits are effective immediately.

 Read the press release.

Ontario sets lower limits for unmonitored and private social gatherings in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto regions

Published September 18, 2020

The new limit reduces the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored social gatherings and organized public events in three regions experiencing higher rates of transmission of COVID-19. This includes functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas. The province has also introduced legislation across ontario to increase fines for non-compliance.

Read the press release.

Province launches new COVID-19 screening tool to help protect students and staff

Published September 16, 2020

The Ontario government launched a new voluntary interactive screening tool to assist parents, students and staff with the daily assessment of COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors that is required before attending school. The results will let parents, students, and education staff know whether they should attend school each day or guide at-risk individuals to proper resources. This tool is another layer of prevention that the province is using to protect the health and safety of students, staff, and the communities where they live and work.

Read the press release.

Ontario updates to visitor’s policy with easy-to-follow guidelines for accommodating caregivers

Published September 3, 2020

The updated visitor policy outlines that:

  • Each resident and/or their substitute decision maker may designate a maximum of two caregivers.
  • Caregivers can visit, without time limits.
  • If a home is not in outbreak, and the resident is not self-isolating or symptomatic, caregivers can visit together. If a home is in outbreak, or the resident is self-isolating or symptomatic, they must visit one at a time to limit risk of transmission and follow direction from the local public health unit.

Read the press release.

For updates made between March and September 2020 please view our Archived Provincial COVID-19 Information.

National Updates

For updates made between March and September 2020 please view our Archived National COVID-19 Information.

Highlands East Media Releases

All media releases are emailed to stakeholders and added to the archive below when they are first published. The content is then made available in an enhanced and accessible format on our COVID-19 News and Notices page.

Haliburton County Updates

Please visit the County of Haliburton's COVID-19 Information page for county-specific news, notices and media releases.