Symptoms, About, Spread

COVID-19

Symptoms for COVID-19 are similar to those for influenza or other respiratory illnesses. See below for symptoms for adults, children and everyone.

Adults

Anyone over the age of 18 who has the following symptoms, not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition, is legally required to isolate and should be tested for COVID-19.

If you are not tested for COVID-19, you MUST isolate for 10 days following the start of these symptoms or until you are feeling better (whichever is longer). If you are tested, further instructions are available at ahs.ca/results based on your test results.

People with other symptoms are also recommended to be tested. These include:

If you have these symptoms, it is strongly advised that you stay home and minimize contact with others until you are feeling better. Complete the online COVID-19 Self-Assessment to book a COVID-19 test.

Children

Symptoms that require mandatory isolation for children are different than those for adults.

Children, for the purposes of these legal requirements, include:

If the child has any of the following symptoms, not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition:

Then the child is required to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms and testing is recommended.

If the child has a negative test result and they are feeling better, they can resume normal activities, even if the 10 days is not completed.

If the child has ONE of:

If the child has any TWO of:

The AHS Parent COVID-19 Guide provides more information about next steps if your child has symptoms.

Everyone

Everyone (including those under 18 years of age) in mandatory isolation and in need of COVID-19 testing, or critical care for pre-existing medical conditions or emergency care, should do the following:

If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and advise them that you may have COVID-19. Do not visit a hospital, doctor’s office, lab or healthcare facility for non-urgent medical needs. Consult Health Link 811if you have questions.

About COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illness in humans, ranging from mild common colds to severe illnesses. Others cause illness in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact. Novel coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, a new virus that was first recognized in December 2019.

COVID-19 vs. Influenza

In some ways, COVID-19 is similar to influenza (also known as the flu):

However, there are some key differences between COVID-19 and the flu:

Spread

COVID-19 is passed from person–to-person through tiny droplets of liquid, spread by coughing, sneezing, talking, laughing and singing. This means that a person would need to have contact with droplets from an infected person or contaminated surfaces, in order to be exposed to COVID-19.

The time that a person can spread COVID-19 to others is called the infectious period.

For a person with COVID-19 who has symptoms, the infectious period is 48 hours before the start of symptoms until 10 days after the start of their symptoms. For some people this may be longer. See Isolation and Quarantine for more information.

For a person with COVID-19 who had no symptoms when they were tested, the infectious period is 48 hours before they had their test done, to 10 days after the date of their test (if they remain symptom free). If the person develops symptoms after having their test, they are infectious to others for the duration of their symptoms. For most people, this is until 10 days after the start of their symptoms. See Isolation and Quarantine for more information.