Guidance for Physicians and Patients

FAQ for staff and medical staff: Restarting patient & client services

View the summarized frequently asked questions regarding the restarting of patient and client services – updated May 14, 2020. Some of the discussion points are but not limited to:

  • What information are patient/clients provided before arriving at the hospital?
  • How are patients being screened before entering facilities?
  • Are family/visitors/support allowed to visit patients?
  • What kind of restrictions are being placed on in-person visits?
  • How can we protect family members or others who are visiting patients who are COVID-19 positive?
  • What if a patient/client appears to be symptomatic upon arrival at the hospital/clinic?

Resources:

Physicians Update: COVID-19:

Updated Guidance for Physicians and Patients  March 20 PDF update (2 pgs) for all information. A snapshot has been embedded below. 

  • The time required for self-isolation of cases (confirmed or clinical) whose symptoms have resolved has been reduced to 10 days from onset of symptoms (infectious period)
  • The time required for self-isolation of contacts or returning travellers remains at 14 days (incubation period)
  • Patients with mild respiratory symptoms should not be tested. Instruct them to self-isolate at home for 10 days and seek healthcare if respiratory symptoms worsen.
  • A test of cure is no longer required. Cases may return to their routine activities 10 days after symptom onset if their symptoms, other than cough, have resolved. Chronic cough may persist for a few weeks but cases are no longer infectious to others.

Testing Guidance:

Who should be tested for COVID-19? Who does not need to be tested for Covid-19?
Patients with respiratory symptoms who are:
  1. Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized, including pregnant women in their 3rd trimester
  2. Health Care Workers
  3. Residents of long term care facilities
  4. Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak (this testing will be organized by Public Health)
  1. Patients without symptoms
  2. Patients with mild respiratory symptoms, who can be managed at home. This includes returning travellers with an onset of illness within 14 days of return to Canada.
To prioritize testing label the requisition as coming from:
• Hospital (label as HOSP)
• Long-term care facility (label as LTCF)
• Health Care Worker (label as HCW)
Note that COVID-19 presents as a mild illness in the majority of patients and testing does not change management.

Please advise patients, with or without a history of travel, who have mild respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, to self-isolate at home for 10 days after the initial onset of their symptoms.


After 10 days, if their temperature is normal and they feel well, they can return to their routine activities. Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean they need to continue to self-isolate beyond 10 days. On day 10, if patients continue to have symptoms other than a cough, advise them to continue self-isolating until symptoms have resolved. Advise patients to seek medical care if respiratory symptoms worsen.

  • Returning travelers who develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of return will be considered “Clinical COVID-19” cases and their contacts managed in the same way as laboratory confirmed cases.
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