COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus): Info & Reosurces
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COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus)

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- February 28, 2020

Sunnybrook received confirmation of a positive test result for COVID-19 from a patient who presented at our Emergency Department on February 26. Proper isolation precautions were followed and there is no risk to others who were in the ED at that time.

The patient presented with symptoms and a recent travel history to Iran. Fortunately, the patient’s condition did not require admission to hospital and the person was discharged home to follow self-isolation protocols. Public Health was notified when the patient was discharged.

All clinics and procedures are running as normal.

As a reminder, if you are concerned about your symptoms and you are worried about potential exposure to COVID-19, we encourage you to connect with Toronto Public Health and your primary health-care providers close to home; this will help keep our emergency room resources available for trauma and emergent care patients.​

What is coronavirus?

There are a number of coronaviruses that infect humans every year, and there are four in particular that cause the common cold. In addition to those four common strains, up until now, there were two strains associated more with severe illness.

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19

Below you can find answers to some frequently asked questions about the 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, patients, and visitors.

I recently returned from a country of concern and don't feel well. What should I do?

If you or a family member have had recent travel history to a country of concern and feel unwell, please contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 (available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. After hours, please call 311), with any questions you may have. They can advise you on next steps for screening.

How can I protect myself?

Handwashing is your best defence against a range of illnesses, including COVID-19. Wash your hands often to help prevent exposure to, and transmission of, illness.

Other usual health precautions that can help you protect yourself against COVID-19 and other illnesses:

  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • Staying home if you are sick
  • 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.

What is the risk to Sunnybrook staff, patients, visitors and volunteers?

By following our usual procedures for patients with potentially infectious diseases, the risk to patients, staff and volunteers is considered low.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

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

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pneumonia

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

We are still learning about this virus and who is at the greatest risk of serious illness. Seniors, pregnant women or those who are immunocompromised should continue their usual infection prevention routine to protect themselves from this and other illness, including washing hands frequently, avoiding people who are sick, and receiving their annual flu vaccine.

If I am someone who falls into the vulnerable population category, have travelled to a country of concern, and feel unwell, what should I do?

Please follow Toronto Public Health’s advice for what to do if you fall ill while travelling or upon your return.

Is it safe to visit Sunnybrook? Will my upcoming appointment or procedure go ahead as scheduled?

Sunnybrook remains open. The hospital is safe for patients and visitors. Clinics and procedures are not impacted. 

Do I need to wear a mask?

No. It is not necessary to wear a mask unless your health-care provider has recommended this or unless you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or cold when you are coming to your appointment.

When somebody with COVID-19 is sent home to follow self-isolation protocols, what does that mean?

For patients who test positive for COVID-19 and do not require hospitalization, Toronto Public Health has put self-isolation protocols in place. These patients self-isolate at home, and are monitored by Toronto Public Health. For more information, please visit