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Frequently Asked Questions

Latest updates on COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

Visitor Information at Niagara Health

Assessment Centres - 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 January 26, 2021

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources - Canada.ca

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Essential Care Partners  and support persons

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

  • 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?

COVID-19 Assessment Centres are prioritizing those most at risk for the virus. 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?

Testing at Niagara Health's COVID-19 Assessment Centres is available by appointment only. Assessment Centres are prioritizing testing for those most at risk for having COVID-19.

Yes. Our Assessment Centres are 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.

Where are the COVID-19 Assessment Centres located?

Find your closest COVID-19 testing location to book a COVID-19 test.

You can find maps to Niagara Health’s Assessment Centres on our webpage.

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 at our centres 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 one of our Assessment Centres.

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 its assessment centres, 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, then:

  • St. Catharines, ext. 44470
  • Niagara Falls, ext. 52451
  • Welland, ext. 33220

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 are you planning for an increase in patients?

We are closely monitoring the number of patients coming to the hospital and working diligently to manage patient flow. We are maintaining space within the hospital so there is capacity for a potential surge of COVID-19 positive patients.

We have also implemented important infection prevention and control procedures, including physical distancing for the continued safety of our patients, our community, and our teams. We’re appreciative of the community’s patience during this time and we ask for your continued understanding as we work as quickly and safely as we can to re-introduce services while maintaining vigilance for COVID-19 activity.

Information on any current outbreaks will be posted to our case reporting page.

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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Services

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How will I know if my upcoming surgery is postponed due to COVID-19?

Niagara Health is cautiously starting to resume elective surgeries and procedures as of Tuesday, May 25, starting with day surgeries and other outpatient procedures.

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?

Niagara Health administers the vaccine at the hospital clinic located in the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre to targeted groups as set out by the Ontario Vaccine Task Force. This program continues to evolve and is dependent on supply. The Niagara Region Public Health website has more information on eligibility and when certain groups are targeted to become eligible.

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 vaccine information for youth (age 12-17)?

The following information has been made available by the Ministry of Health. Please review the links below for important information on vaccines:

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

The following information has been made available by the Ministry of Health. Please review the links below for important information on vaccines:

How can I book an appointment for my vaccination?

Register online through the provincial booking system. You will need your:
  • Ontario health card 
  • Birth date
  • Postal code
  • Email address and / or phone number
Certain priority groups may be contacted directly by Niagara Health to set up their vaccination appointment.

Why have second dose appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine been pushed out to 16 weeks?

Niagara Health follows the directives from Ontario’s Vaccine Task Force, which updated the timing between first and second doses from 35 days to 16 weeks on March 10. You can visit the Government of Canada website for additional information on the recent recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) regarding timing between first and second doses. As of May 14, the province has begun making certain exceptions to the second-dose interval. You can learn more on our Vaccination Clinic page.

What can I expect once I book my appointment? What will I need to bring?

Patients should:
  • Eat something before the vaccination appointment
  • Bring their photo identification and Ontario health card
  • Come no earlier than 5-10 minutes before their appointment time
The whole appointment process could take 30-40 minutes.

Where is the Niagara Health vaccination clinic and where are other clinics located in Niagara?

Niagara Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic is located at the Seymour Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre (240 St Paul St W. in St. Catharines) and is a 6-minute drive from the hospital’s St. Catharines Site. For information on clinic sites run by Niagara Region Public Health, including locations and schedule, visit their website. You can also find a list of pharmacies with the COVID-19 vaccine here.

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

To download a digital copy of your vaccination receipt please visit https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/

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

Why is the Seymour-Hannah vaccination clinic closing? 

Due to extraordinary efforts, we are at the point in our careful and gradual recovery effort against COVID-19 where we can wind down operations at the clinic. This change is in line with provincial guidance to start ramping down mass immunization clinics so that hospital staff and physicians can return to their regular duties. As of July 21, Niagara Health has administered 238,651 doses at its mass immunization clinic.

In the Niagara region, 79.4 per cent of eligible residents have received their first dose and 63.5 per cent have received both doses. Notably, 41 per cent of all doses given in Niagara were done at the Seymour-Hannah clinic including a Niagara Health record of 2,639 doses in one day on July 15.

We would like to thank our staff and physicians, volunteers, community physicians, Public Health colleagues, Niagara EMS and other partners whose contributions have made a huge impact in our fight against COVID-19.

When will the Seymour-Hannah vaccination clinic close?

We plan to close the clinic in mid-August, but this date could be sooner depending on demand. We will follow up as soon as we have confirmed timing.

What if someone had a dose booked at Seymour-Hannah after it is closed?

We are in the process of reaching out to everyone who had an appointment booked after mid-August to encourage them to move their appointments up to an earlier date. All impacted patients in the Niagara Health scheduling tool will be contacted directly with more information to ensure they get fully vaccinated as quickly as possible. Patients with scheduled appointments in the Ministry’s booking tool will be contacted via e-mail and encouraged to re-schedule their date at any of the Public Health Unit vaccination centres. Questions relating to vaccination appointment can be directed to the Niagara Health Vaccination Clinic at 905-378-4637, ext. 49099.

If I work or volunteer at the Seymour-Hannah vaccination clinic, how will the closure affect my role and what are the next steps?

We understand you likely have questions about your specific role and what your next steps are. As there are a variety of roles and responsibilities involved for those who have worked at the clinic, we ask that you please check in with your leader to help guide you through the next few weeks. Once the clinic closes, please note that all COVaxON accounts will be deactivated for those who are not actively working in a clinic.

Where can people get vaccinated once the Seymour-Hannah vaccination clinic is closed?

Following the closure of the Seymour-Hannah vaccination clinic, we will open a smaller vaccination clinic in the Mental Health Outpatient Clinic at our St. Catharines Site. This new clinic will serve approximately 200 patients per day. Eligible individuals can still book their vaccination appointments through the Ontario Provincial booking system, by calling 1-833-934-3900 and through participating primary care providers and pharmacies.

What will happen to the sticky notes once the clinic is closed?

The thousands of colourful sticky notes lining the walls of the arena have been a true testament to the impact you’ve had. Over the next few weeks, we encourage you to look around at the messages of hope and gratitude and know that you have played a critical role in helping to protect our community.

We are also currently working on a plan to preserve the sticky notes that help tell the story of the Seymour-Hannah vaccination clinic everyone involved who cultivated its culture of community, resilience and hope.

What will happen to the arena once the clinic is closed?

The Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre is owned by the City of St. Catharines, who generously donated this space to Niagara Health as our vaccination site on a temporary basis. The site has been in operation since Feb. 17 after moving from a smaller site at our St. Catharines Site. The City of St. Catharines will regain this space for recreational purposes.

What are some of the milestones reached at the clinic?

Some of our major milestones include surpassing 100,000 vaccine doses administered on May 8, followed by 200,000 doses on July 3. On July 15, we hit a record of 2,639 doses in a single day.

Other questions?

If you have further questions about COVID-19 or the vaccination plan, please reach out to us at covid-19@niagarahealth.on.ca.

 

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