Coronavirus Information for Patients and Families

Updated Feb. 6, 2020

Unity Health Toronto is actively monitoring the situation with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as it unfolds. At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada states that the risk to Canadians is low. For more detailed information on the status of the virus and risk to Canadians, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada or Ontario Ministry of Health websites.

If you are feeling unwell and do not have an acute medical illness, you can call Toronto Public Health’s Hotline at 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, call 311 and ask for Toronto Public Health. 

Information for patients

  • If you have a clinic appointment, test or other procedure scheduled, and have any of the following symptoms, please call your clinic to see if you should still come:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
  • If your clinic says to come to the Emergency Department, when you arrive please wash your hands, put on a surgical mask and speak to the triage nurse about your symptoms and travel history. The health care team will then make a decision about whether you are at risk for the infection and do other appropriate investigations.

Important information for visitors

  • If you feel ill or have any symptoms of a respiratory virus, please avoid coming into the hospital until you feel better and are symptom free
  • Clean your hands before entering the hospital


Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Some human coronaviruses spread easily between people, while others do not.

On Dec. 31, 2019, Chinese health authorities identified a new (or novel) coronavirus (referred to as 2019-nCoV) through a series of reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

Symptoms of the novel coronavirus that has been detected in Wuhan, China have included:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

There is currently no restriction for visitors to our hospitals. All of our sites have signage posted indicating that visitors who are ill should not visit and staff are encouraged to remind visitors of this.

Patients coming to the hospital will be screened for symptoms and travel to the affected area. If a patient has the correct risk factors, the care team will make a decision about whether they need additional testing. 

While it is very unlikely, if you have the correct risk factors, your care team will wear protective equipment and place you in a room separate from other patients. After a careful review, a decision will be made as to whether you need testing, where this should be done, and whether you need to go to the emergency department (if you are not already there) and whether you need to be admitted to hospital.   Patients that have very mild symptoms may be sent home with instructions to isolate at home while awaiting test results and will be followed by public health. 

To reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses, including coronaviruses, you should follow usual health precautions such as:

  • washing your hands often using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • covering your cough with a tissue or sneeze in your elbow
  • staying home when you are sick
  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting touched objects and surfaces

Do I need a mask?

Do I need a mask? poster


At Unity Health Toronto, masks are given to patients when it is required for care, such as when you have a cough or other flu-like symptoms. Your care team will provide you with a mask when necessary.