Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

In January 2020, a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia originating in Wuhan, China. The situation is rapidly evolving and Public Health Ontario, along with the Ministry of Health, is closely monitoring the outbreak, conducting surveillance and appropriate laboratory testing, and providing public health and infection control guidance.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that originate in animals but are known to cause respiratory illness in humans, particularly during the fall and winter months. Other novel coronaviruses have included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

Current Situation in Ontario

On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”. However, the risk to Ontarians is still considered low. Additional information about the evolving situation can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

For case definitions please refer to the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidance.

Confirmed negative1 739
Currently under investigation2 22
Presumptive positive3 1
Confirmed positive4 3
Resolved5 3
Total number of patients approved for COVID-19 testing to date 768

Patient negative based on testing performed at Public Health Ontario (PHO) Laboratory (Note: Testing at National Microbiology Lab (NML) no longer required due to enhanced national testing protocols.)
2Test results are pending
3Patient tested positive at PHO Laboratory but not yet confirmed by sequencing
4Patient still testing positive and has not had two consecutive negative results greater than 24 hours apart
5Patient is no longer infectious based on two consecutive negative tests performed at PHO Laboratory at least 24 hours apart

Last updated: February 28, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. ET

For Health Care Providers

For Coronavirus Disease 2019 specific guidance please refer to the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidance. Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health continue to develop guidance specific to COVID-19 to assist public health and health care workers. Please refer to the resources and links below.

Health Care Providers considering the need to test a patient for COVID-19 should contact Public Health Ontario’s Customer Service Centre at: 416-235-6556 / 1-877-604-4567 for advice and support.


Updated 28 Feb 2020