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Frequently Asked Questions

Latest updates on COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Visitor Information at Niagara Health

Assessment Centre - Getting tested for COVID-19

These Frequently Asked Questions and Answers are updated on a regular basis.

Please check back often for the latest information. Updated Aug. 20, 2021

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources -

Essential Care Partners  and support persons

Essential Care Partners  and support persons


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What can I do to protect myself from getting COVID-19?

  • Get fully vaccinated
  • Clean your hands often
  • Practice physical distancing – avoid large gatherings and remain two metres apart from others
  • Wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces or where physical distancing is not possible
  • Avoid shaking hands and close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or into your sleeve
  • Stay home if you are sick

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19, which is the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, range from mild — like the flu and other common respiratory infections — to severe.

The most common symptoms include:

  • fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • chills
  • cough that's new or worsening (continuous, more than usual)
  • barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup)
  • shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)
  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • runny, stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)
  • lost sense of taste or smell
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • headache that’s unusual or long lasting
  • digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain)
  • muscle aches
  • extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy)
  • falling down often
  • for young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite

(Source: Ministry of Health)

I think I may have COVID-19. How can I be tested?

Members of the public should only seek testing if they are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by their public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by their local public health unit; and
  • Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care. Learn more here.

If you meet the criteria above, please book an appointment for testing:

  • Complete the online booking form here.
  • Or you can 905-378-4647 ext. 42819 (4-CV19) and leave a message. Staff at the Assessment Centre will return calls as soon as possible to schedule a date and time for testing.

If you do not meet the criteria above, please visit the Ontario Government's website for a full list of pharmacy testing locations.

If this is a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest Emergency Department. Advise them of your symptoms and if you have recently travelled.

Do I need an appointment to be tested?

Yes. Our Assessment Centre is available by appointment only. To book an appointment:

  • Complete the online booking form here.
  • Or you can call 905-378-4647 ext. 42819 (4-CV19) and leave a message. Staff at the Assessment Centre will return calls as soon as possible to schedule a date and time for testing.

Effective Dec. 11, 2020, individuals requiring a COVID-19 test for international travel clearance are no longer eligible for a publicly funded COVID-19 test in Ontario. Asymptomatic testing (testing for those who don’t have symptoms) is available through select pharmacies, including tests required for travel.

Where are COVID-19 Assessment Centres located?

Find your closest COVID-19 testing location and information on Niagara Health’s Assessment Centres

For safety reasons, COVID-19 Assessment Centres have dedicated entrances. Please do not enter through the main entrance or Emergency Department when you arrive for testing. Testing via Niagara Health is available by appointment only. Once your appointment has been confirmed, you will receive instructions on how to access the Assessment Centre.

Can someone accompany me at the Assessment Centre while I’m being tested?

We ask that you arrive alone for testing if possible.

I am uninsured. Can I still come for testing?

Yes. There is no fee for being tested at our Assessment Centre.

How long will it take to get my test results? How will I access them? What should I do while I am waiting for the results?

While Niagara Health conducts COVID-19 swabs at our Assessment Centre, samples are sent to Ontario Public Health labs for testing. Niagara Region Public Health follows up with patients on their test results only if their results are positive for COVID-19.

Patients with a valid Ontario health card can access their test results online in three ways:

  1. The Ministry of Health has launched a new user-friendly online portal for the public to easily access their COVID-19 lab test results. It can take up to seven days to receive test results for COVID-19. 
    Please note: If results state “Unable to post positive/negative results on this website”, results may be available in another location. To find the other location, look for an arrow on the lower right hand side that says “Previous results”. Verify the results in this section and match the date you had your COVID-19 test.
  2. The Niagara Health Navigator allows users to access the Ministry of Health online portal through the app, under the “Self-Assessment and Lab Results” tile.
  3. MyChart is a web-based portal that allows patients to track personal health records and information and access test results. Patients will need to register for a MyChart account to access COVID-19 test results.

Patients that do not have a current Ontario health card or would like the test results of their child (12 years old or under) may contact the Assessment Centre where they were tested or contact their health care provider (doctor’s office). To contact the Assessment Centre, call 905-378-4647 ext. 52451.

While waiting for test results, continue to self-isolate. Visit the Niagara Region Public Health website for more information about COVID-19 test results.

What happens if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at the hospital?

The health, safety and well-being of everyone is our top priority.

In an outbreak, our Infection Prevention and Control experts take immediate action to protect our patients, staff and physicians. They work closely with Niagara Region Public Health and our Occupational Health and Safety team to closely monitor the situation and adjust our safety measures as needed.

How do you plan for any potential increase in patients?

We closely monitor the number of patients coming to the hospital and work diligently to manage patient flow. We also maintain space within the hospital so there is capacity for any surges of COVID-19 positive patients.

I have an upcoming surgery/procedure, do I need to be tested for COVID-19 before coming to my appointment?

Most patients who are coming in for surgery/procedure must be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their appointment. Please check with your surgeon’s office as to whether or not you must have a COVID test. As you get ready for your surgery/procedure, you must self-isolate from others as much as possible. If you develop symptoms of COVID -19 (such as fever, cough, trouble breathing) before your surgery/procedure, please contact your physician for further instructions. Please refer to our tip sheet on how to prepare for surgery.


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Essential Care Partners  and support persons

We know that loved ones play an integral role in the care and well-being of our patients.

You can find important information on Support Persons and our Essential Care Partners program on our Visitor Information page

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Are Mental Health and Addictions services available?

COVID-19 has affected everyone differently and some people may be feeling worried, anxious and/or overwhelmed. There are services available at Niagara Health and in the community for those needing support. If you would like to know more about mental health and addiction resources across the Niagara Region, visit our website.

If you or your loved one is experiencing a mental health and addiction emergency, we encourage you to go to the nearest Emergency Department.  If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or are unable to get to the hospital safely (for example if you have taken an overdose), stay home and call 9-1-1.


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COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

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Why should I get the vaccine?

Getting vaccinated can help reduce the chance of getting ill with COVID-19 and the possibility of severe medical complications from the infection. The first studies of Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines have shown that people who get vaccinated have a significantly lower chance of getting the COVID infection than those who don’t who don’t get the vaccine.

By being vaccinated, not only do you help protect yourself, but you can also help protect the people around you, benefitting the whole community.

Who is eligible? When can I expect to be immunized?

The following groups are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination:

  • Children turning 5 and older in 2021 (Pfizer)
  • Adults 18 and older in 2021
Learn more.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Yes. Health Canada authorized the vaccine’s use after extensive testing and thorough review of all clinical trial results. For more information on the development and testing of this vaccine, please refer to the Government of Canada website.

Can I stop following public health measures after vaccination?

No. To protect our community it is important for everyone to continue practising public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Public health and infection control experts are monitoring the situation daily and will provide regular updates.

Where can I find more information about vaccines, their safety and side effects?

Please visit the Ministry of Health website for important information on vaccines.

How can I book an appointment for my vaccination?

Same-day and future-day appointments are available through the provincial booking tool or by calling 1-833-943-3900. 

You can also find a list of pharmacies with COVID-19 vaccines here.

Visit the Niagara Region Public Health website for information on their locations and schedule, and for more information on booking an appointment without an Ontario health card.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

  • Your health card if you have one or some form of government-issued identification
  • Your first dose vaccination receipt if you have one

What can I do if I've lost my vaccination receipt?

To download a digital copy of your vaccination receipt please visit

You will need to log on using your Health Card and then you will have access to the following services:
  • Vaccine appointment booking – book a vaccination appointment
  • Vaccine receipts – print vaccination receipt if a dose has been administered

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Niagara Health