Visitors are not permitted at Sunnybrook. Read more »

COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus): Info & Reosurces
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COVID-19 (coronavirus): Information & frequently asked questions

- Updated May 19, 2020

Visitors are not permitted at Sunnybrook during the COVID-19 pandemic

In order to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, there will be no visitors permitted at Sunnybrook during the COVID-19 pandemic, until further notice. This includes family members or companions accompanying patients to appointments or procedures. We understand that this is a difficult change for those with loved ones who need to be in the hospital, but it is an important precaution being put in place to ensure the safety of all those at Sunnybrook, including our sickest and most vulnerable patients.

New visitor policy: No visitors permitted at Sunnybrook. Read full details

In order to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, there will be no visitors permitted at Sunnybrook during the COVID-19 pandemic, until further notice. This includes family members or companions accompanying patients to appointments or procedures. We understand that this is a difficult change for those with loved ones who need to be in the hospital, but it is an important precaution being put in place to ensure the safety of all those at Sunnybrook, including our sickest and most vulnerable patients.

Some exceptions will be allowed in certain areas of the hospital. If an exception below is met, only one visitor will be allowed per patient. To protect our patients and staff, these visitors will not be permitted into the hospital if they have symptoms of illness.

  • Parent of a baby in the NICU: One parent may be with their baby at all times, including overnight, provided the parent is asymptomatic
  • Birthing partner of a woman in labour
  • Visitor for an imminently dying patient (i.e. expected within 48 hours)

Visitation is not permitted to patients with known or suspected COVID-19 or any other condition that requires the visitor to use PPE. 

Screening for symptoms at the door

We are screening all patients for symptoms at the door. We will also be restricting access to specific doors on all of our sites.

If you are feeling any of the below symptoms prior to your appointment, please call the clinic or health-care provider you are seeing. They can advise on next steps.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Entryway restrictions at Sunnybrook's campuses

Bayview Campus

Patients are only be able to access our Bayview Campus using the below entrances:

  • M-Wing, First floor (main entrance) (M1)
  • D-Wing, Ground floor (DG)
  • T-Wing, east entrance


(Click map to view a larger version)

Our Emergency Department entrance is also open for those who are coming to Sunnybrook for emergency care.

COVID-19 Assessment Centre

Patients who are going to our COVID-19 Assessment Centre must only enter Sunnybrook through our U-Wing entrance. More information.

Veterans Centre & palliative care unit (Bayview Campus)

For information about our Veterans Centre and palliative care unit, please visit this page.

All other sites

For all other sites (the Holland Centre, St. John’s Rehab and the Reactivation Care Centre), screening will begin this week at the main entrances of each of these sites. Access will be restricted to the main entrance for all of these locations.

Staying connected to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

While we have restricted visitors to the hospital, we want to ensure that you stay connected with your loved one who is in the hospital during this time.

Below are are some ways you can stay connected.

Telephone calls:

There are no fees for local calls on bedside phones.

FaceTime or Google Hangouts:

If your loved one does not have their own device, let the care team know. We can help set up a “visit” on an iPad or Android that is carefully cleaned between uses.

Gift shop delivery:

Sunnybrook Gift Shop is open and it delivers to patient rooms at our Bayview Campus and Holland Centre. Send your loved one something to let them know you are thinking of them (ear buds and phone chargers are also available). 

Other:

There are other programs in development. Please check back here for updates.

Questions about appointments, surgeries & coming to the hospital

Is the hospital safe?

Sunnybrook is safe for patients and staff, and the hospital remains open. However, Sunnybrook has taken some precautionary steps to reduce the number of people in the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • Encouraging virtual health-care visits whenever possible
  • Cancelling non-urgent visits to the hospital
  • Screening for symptoms at hospital entrances
  • Restricting visitors at all Sunnybrook campuses

Will my appointment go ahead as scheduled?

In order to reduce the number of people in the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraging our health-care workers to have virtual visits with their patients, and to cancel any non-urgent visits.

If you have an upcoming appointment and are feeling unwell, please call your health-care provider ahead of your visit.

If you have any questions about your upcoming appointment or procedure, please contact your health-care provider’s office directly.

Why was my appointment cancelled?

While Sunnybrook is safe and remains open to our patients, we are taking some precautionary steps during the COVID-19 pandemic to help limit the number of people in the hospital during this time. This includes the cancellation of any non-urgent visits to the hospital.

If you have any questions about your specific situation, please contact your health-care provider directly for more information.

Is my x-ray, ultrasound...etc. appointment cancelled?

Our medical imaging team will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled.

Your safety is our priority. Our Infection Prevention & Control team is diligent in ensuring the best practices are maintained to protect our patients and staff. This includes cleaning our equipment after each patient, cleaning surfaces often, restricting visitors and using the proper personal protective equipment when needed.

If you cannot attend your appointment, please call 416-480-4336 so we may offer the appointment time to someone else. Missing your appointment without notice not only puts others needing medical imaging at risk but also contributes to a significant cost for our health-care system.

Why was my surgery postponed?

In order to ensure the safety of patients and staff, all hospitals in Ontario are limiting the number of people in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that Sunnybrook will be postponing any surgeries that may be done safely at a later time. All decisions to postpone surgeries have been made with careful consideration, in consultation with each patient’s health-care team. Surgeries will only be postponed if deemed medically safe.

A member of your health-care team will contact you if you surgery date is affected by these changes.

We understand this is not an ideal situation, and we appreciate your understanding during this time. If you have any questions about your upcoming surgery, please talk to your health-care provider directly for more information.

Do I need to wear a mask to my appointment?

Sunnybrook is now providing masks to all patients.

Patients who are coming to the hospital for appointments will be provided with a mask when entering the hospital. Patients may also choose to wear their own masks from home. 

Hospital in-patients will be provided with masks by their care team.

Masks provided to patients are not medical-grade masks, and therefore do not impact our mask supply for health-care workers. While these masks are not medical grade, they can still contain droplets (e.g. coughs, sneezes) produced by the person wearing it.

Sunnybrook has taken this precautionary step out of an abundance of caution. Masks can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness, including COVID-19, when important measures such as physical distancing are not possible.

» View information about properly and safely wearing a mask

Wearing masks during essential outings in the community

If you do not have respiratory symptoms, but would like to wear a mask when you are on essential outings in places where physical distancing is challenging (for example using transit), the Public Health Agency of Canada does acknowledge the use of non-medical masks as an additional precaution you can take to protect those around you. Wearing a non-medical mask may be used alongside other important practices to help curb the spread of COVID-19, such as physical distancing and hand washing.

I was hospitalized with COVID-19, and have been discharged home. How do I continue my recovery from home?

I can’t get through on the phone. What do I do?

We are experiencing a high volume of phone calls. We understand that this is frustrating at this uncertain time. Thank you for your patience as our staff work to answer questions and re-book appointments.

Can I pick up my prescription at the M-Wing or Odette Cancer Centre pharmacies?

You can still pick up your prescription at the pharmacies. Please note you will be screened at the door for symptoms.

Why is seating restricted in waiting rooms and dining areas?

You may see signage or tape on seats in waiting and dining spaces across the hospital. These restrictions have been put in place in common areas to signal physical distancing among patients.

Are volunteers still at the hospital?

In order to ensure the safety of our volunteers, patients, and staff, and in line with “physical distancing” guidelines, the hospital has made the decision to cancel all volunteer activities and roles at all hospital sites until further notice.

Can I drop off food, flowers or other items for my loved one?

While family members and loved ones cannot visit patients, clothing and other items can be dropped off for patients at the following times and locations:
  • Bayview campus: M1 entrance between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Holland Centre: front door screening desk between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday
  • Veterans Centre: L-wing entrance screening desk between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday
  • St. John’s Rehab: Main entrance between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday to Friday
  • Reactivation Care Centre – Church Site: Please note that the RCC location is unable to accept drop offs of food or clothing for patients at this time.

You will need to be screened first, and you will not be allowed to enter the hospital. Place items in a bag labelled with patient’s name and unit; the bags will be delivered to units at regular intervals. Anything dropped off outside of these hours listed above will be delivered the following day.

A note about food items

Please note that only pre-packaged, non-perishable commercially prepared food items, or single-serving homemade food items, will be accepted. Food items must not require refrigeration or heating, and must be in a disposable container (containers and any leftovers will be thrown out). Please note that we cannot guarantee the food will get to the patient on the same day or at a particular time.

Flower delivery

There are no flower restrictions related specifically to COVID-19 at this time, however flower delivery is restricted on units caring for more vulnerable patients, including:

  • M2 (CRCU + CVICU)
  • M4 NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)
  • B4 ICU (all rooms)
  • B5 ICU
  • C2
  • C3
  • C6 (Flowers are allowed on the unit, but not in patient rooms)
  • Complex Malignant Hematology (normally located on D4 but has been moved to B3 temporarily)
  • D4 ICU
  • D6
  • D7

Can I order food through delivery services?

Bayview campus: Takeaway orders from restaurants or food delivery services such as UberEats, Skip the Dishes, DoorDash are permitted on the Bayview campus. Delivery people are not permitted to enter the building so arrangements must be made for an order to be picked up at the entrance. Patients may pick up food orders at the front (M1) entrance. Where this is not possible, please consult M1 Courtesy Service, who may be available to assist between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 416-480-6100 extension 2141. To ensure the continued safety of residents, the Veterans Centre remains unable to accept deliveries from restaurants and other food delivery services at this time.

Holland Centre: The Holland Centre is unable to accept drop-offs of food for patients at this time.

St John’s Rehab: SJR does not have the capacity to accept food deliveries for inpatients from UberEats, Skip the Dishes, DoorDash and other food delivery services at any of our campuses at this time.

Reactivation Care Centre (RCC) – Church Site: The RCC location is unable to accept drop offs of food for patients at this time.

Can I donate food to front-line staff?

We have received many kind gestures to provide support to our front-line staff through food and beverage donations. These are much appreciated, and for the safety of the public, patients, and our staff, the following guidelines have been created. Please note we cannot accept homemade meals at this time.

Online/cash donations

You may express your gratitude and support by making an online donation by visiting sunnybrook.ca/FeedTeamSunnybrook, and indicating that your donation is to support staff meals and wellness.

Donations will be used to purchase meals or beverages for staff through our hospital food services, or to fund delivery of food/wellness packages from third party suppliers.

Restaurant and catered meals

Gift cards/promotional codes: The preferred method for receiving donated restaurant meals is via gift cards, or through the opportunity for team members to order a meal for self-pickup or home delivery using a Sunnybrook-specific coupon or promotional code

Bulk deliveries: Drop-offs of bulk deliveries are only accepted when pre-arranged by contacting fooddonations@sunnybrook.ca. Unfortunately, those dropping off food will not be able to enter the hospital.

Bulk deliveries will be accepted from licensed restaurants and caterers that comply with Toronto Public Health’s Dine Safe program, and have received a pass notice on their most recent inspection. Restaurants and caterers must also represent that they screen their staff for symptoms of communicable illness, including COVID-19, prior to any food being prepared for Sunnybrook.

Food/beverages for delivery must meet the following criteria:
  • Be provided as single portions
  • Be in a covered container, individually wrapped, or placed in individual sealed bags with cutlery
  • Must not require refrigeration or heating and must indicate how long they last at room temperature
  • Must include explicit labeling of ingredients (including indication regarding food sensitivities)
  • Beverages must be in individual cans or bottles

Food manufacturers & distributors (including grocery stores)

The preferred method for receiving donations of grocery items is by giving staff access to online ordering so that they can have their groceries delivered directly to their homes, or picked up after their shift.

Bulk donations of grocery items must meet the following criteria:
  • Non-perishable and commercially prepared items (similar to the foods donated to food banks)
  • Exception may be made for perishable foods including fruits and vegetables, provided they can sustained without refrigeration or be delivered close to the pick-up time
  • Items that can be picked up by staff without the need for sorting or selecting from groups of food (e.g. individual “baskets” of food or pre-ordered selections)

About the virus

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Runny nose
  • Joint aches

How can I protect myself?

Physical distancing is an important measure we must take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This means keeping a six-foot distance from others when out on essential errands or enjoying the outdoors. That’s about the maximum distance that droplets from a person’s cough or sneeze can travel, which is one of the ways the virus is spread.

If you are ill (even with mild symptoms) it is important that you stay home to prevent the risk of spreading your illness to others. Ask someone to purchase groceries for you, or use a delivery service.

Along with physical distancing, it is important to wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help prevent exposure to, and transmission of, illness.

Other important ways that we can prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Practising proper cough and sneeze etiquette: By coughing/sneezing into a tissue, or into your sleeve or arm (and immediately washing your hands afterwards)
  • Not touching your face: A virus's port of entry is your eyes, nose, mouth
  • Cleaning your hands before eating/drinking
  • Cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces: Like bathroom sinks, kitchen counters, etc.

For vulnerable populations (people who are immunocompromised, seniors and pregnant women) should extra precautions be taken to protect myself from this illness?

The COVID-19 pandemic is a concerning time for our community, and in particular for those who are immunocompromised, elderly or pregnant. Researchers are still studying this novel coronavirus and how it affects people who are vulnerable.

Sunnybrook’s Infection Prevention and Control team has these reminders to help reduce your risk of catching this or other infectious illnesses:

  • Do during the COVID-19 pandemic what you routinely do to protect yourself: wash your hands, keep them away from your face, stay away from people who are unwell.
  • Practice physical distancing: We’ve been hearing this a lot. It means limit your close contact with others, stay away from crowds, and keep 2 m physical space from others. Stay at home as much as possible. This helps reduce the spread in the community, thus protecting you further.
  • Carry hand sanitizer if you must go out, and clean your hands frequently.
  • If someone in your home is ill with a fever, cough, cold or other infectious illness, spread out if possible. Designate some space for each of you. Sleep separately if you don’t already and you have the space to do so. The person who is sick with cough, cold, fever, etc. should wear a mask when they are with you.
  • Wipe down high-touch surfaces daily.
  • Physicians in Ontario are encouraged to move to virtual visits. Ask your doctor if that’s possible for your next appointment.
  • And lastly, have a conversation with loved ones and friends about what they can do to protect you and how important it is: wash their hands, keep their hands away from their face; stay home when unwell; practice physical distancing — this means stay home as much as possible.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Research shows that the COVID-19 virus is spread through close contact with an infected person.

This close contact can occur in two ways: droplet and contact.

Droplets means respiratory droplets produced by an infected person’s sneeze or cough. These can travel up to 6 feet (1.8 metres). A person becomes infected when droplets from a cough or sneeze directly enter the body through the eyes, mouth or nose.

Contact means touching a person or object directly, such as door handles, that have droplets on them from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. Unwashed hands contaminated with COVID-19 can introduce the virus to your body when you touch your eyes, mouth or nose.

Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads

Washing your hands often and avoiding touching your face are two very important ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

More tips and information on protecting against COVID-19

How is Sunnybrook prepared to handle this virus?

Our experience in treating infectious diseases and managing outbreaks, as well as our extensive training, has helped prepare us for this type of issue. Our infection prevention and control team has been working with our emergency department and many other areas of the hospital to ensure screening is taking place and proper precautions such as personal protective equipment are in use to safeguard our staff and patients. Sunnybrook continues to work closely with Toronto Public Health, the federal and provincial governments, and other health partners.

What does "community transmission" mean?

COVID-19 is circulating in the community in Toronto. This means that people who have not travelled outside of Canada are at similar risk for COVID-19 as those who have travelled. Because there is COVID-19 circulating in the community, this makes travel history less relevant to a person’s risk of developing the virus. Instead, it makes it all the more important to self-monitor for symptoms, even mild, and to ensure we are staying home if we feel even the slightest bit unwell.

Is it true that people can spread this virus even with only mild symptoms?

COVID-19 can spread from people with mild symptoms. 

In the majority of instances, COVID-19 spreads person-to-person via people who are symptomatic. These people have a cough or fever and feel unwell.

To be safe, though, it is important for everyone to self-monitor for symptoms. If you have even mild symptoms, stay home.

Is there any treatment or cure available for COVID-19?

There are currently no approved treatments or cures available for COVID-19. Researchers around the world are working together to better understand the COVID-19 virus in order to test treatments and develop new approaches to combat this virus.

For patients who are in hospital, supportive care is provided. In some cases, people may require a ventilator to breathe.

Sunnybrook remains at the pulse of any new and emerging research. Clinical trials are ongoing at the hospital to ensure evidence-based treatments can be safely developed for all COVID-19 patients.

» Learn more about COVID-19 research happening at Sunnybrook

» Learn more about COVID-19 clinical trials happening at Sunnybrook

I keep hearing about COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes and hospitals across Ontario. What does this mean?

An outbreak means that two or more patients who are being cared for in a health-care facility for something other than COVID-19 have tested positive for the illness. This outbreak criteria is set by public health.

Year round, Sunnybrook has extensive infection prevention and control measures and protocols in place to help us prevent, prepare for and control any outbreaks that may occur.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunnybrook has taken extra protective and surveillance measures among our patients and our staff to help mitigate any risk of hospital acquired infections. Our experts, alongside our health system partners, have also developed COVID-19 specific outbreak plans to ensure every possible measure is put in place to prevent and contain any outbreaks.

What exactly is a pandemic?

When we talk about a pandemic, we're talking about a new virus spreading across the globe and across countries affecting a high proportion of the population. It’s important to remember that “pandemic” is not related to the severity of an illness, or the number of fatalities associated with an illness. 

I am a Sunnybrook staff member, physician or student. Where can I get the latest information that pertains to me?

All Sunnybrook staff, physicians and residents should continue to check Sunnynet and their Sunnybrook email inboxes for the latest updates. Students, residents and clinical fellows could also visit our dedicated information for students and learners.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

I heard that Sunnybrook is going to start sterilizing N95 masks for their front-line staff. Is this safe?

Based on existing evidence, as well as advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Sunnybrook is sterilizing N95 masks to prepare them for safe re-use, should the need arise.

Safely sterilizing N95 masks is one step we are taking in our efforts to conserve our supply of masks and other protective equipment. Across the health-care system, there is an impending shortage of personal protective equipment that is critical in keeping our health-care workers and patients safe. This shortage is affecting our supply of N95 masks in particular.

Watch: Dr. Jerome Leis, medical director of infection prevention and control, explains how and why the hospital is taking this step

N95 masks are sterilized in our Medical Devices Reprocessing Centre, where equipment such as surgical instruments are reprocessed every day.

Studies across Canada have shown that re-processed N95 masks maintain their integrity and effectiveness.

See how this sterilization process works

We will only move to using these reprocessed N95 masks if our current supply is depleted.

If you have N95 masks, or other medical masks and protective equipment, please donate it to our front-line staff who need it most. Learn more at sunnybrook.ca/supplies

How can I donate masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to front-line workers at Sunnybrook?

Your generosity is truly appreciated during this uncertain time. Learn how to donate critical personal protective equipment to our front-line staff at sunnybrook.ca/supplies

Screening and travel-related inquiries

I have symptoms of COVID-19. What do I do?

If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and please contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your local health-care provider for information on screening and next-steps.

Should I go to an assessment centre?

To help determine if you should seek care from a COVID-19 assessment centre, use an online self-assessment tool:

How do I get to Sunnybrook's COVID-19 Assessment Centre?

For information about Sunnybrook's COVID-19 Assessment Centre, including location and hours of operation, please visit sunnybrook.ca/assessment

Is travel still a risk factor for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is circulating in the community in Toronto. This means that people who have not travelled outside of Canada are at similar risk for COVID-19 as those who have travelled. Because there is COVID-19 circulating in the community, this makes travel history less relevant to a person’s risk of developing the virus. Instead, it makes it all the more important to self-monitor for symptoms, even mild, and to ensure we are staying home if we feel even the slightest bit unwell.

Why don’t health-care workers have to self-isolate for 14 days after travel?

It is always Sunnybrook policy that staff are not to come to work if they have any symptoms of illness, even mild. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunnybrook continues to uphold and enforce this policy.

We are aware that there are government directives for people who have travelled outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days after travel. However, the Ontario Ministry of Health has indicated that health-care workers who are deemed critical to continue operations are permitted to continue to work.

Our ability to provide safe and quality care to our patients across our various care programs and departments depends on our health-care workers.

This is why it is Sunnybrook’s policy during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow our health-care workers to return to work after travel if they do not have symptoms. No Sunnybrook employee, regardless of travel, may come to work with symptoms, even mild ones.

As an extra precaution for those who have recent travel history, these health-care workers are required to self-monitor daily, and take their temperature twice a day. As previously mentioned, if they develop even mild symptoms, they cannot come to work.

It’s important to note that at this time, people who have not travelled outside of Canada are at a similar risk for COVID-19 as those who have travelled. COVID-19 is in the community, which makes travel history less relevant, but makes monitoring for symptoms, even mild, highly important.

When somebody is required to follow self-isolation protocols, what does that mean?

Public health has established self-isolation protocols for people who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19. Below you can find some self-isolation guides:

Toronto Public Health

Public Health Ontario

For more information about self-isolation, please visit toronto.ca/coronavirus or the Public Health Ontario website.


Tips and information from Sunnybrook experts

Mental health information:

Tips for health-care workers:


Update on COVID-19 cases in Ontario

For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 cases in Ontario, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health's website.


COVID-19 response fund

You have an essential role in this fight.

Your support will be put to work immediately, allowing Sunnybrook to direct these funds where they are needed most.

Donate to our COVID-19 response fund »