For answers to questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine, please visit our COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs.
All viruses, including SARS-COV-2 (which causes COVID-19) change, or mutate, over time. Not all mutations are of concern. However, some changes result in variants of concern (VOC) that pose significant concerns for public health because they spread more easily, cause more severe illness, require different treatments, or don’t respond the same to current vaccines.
While the first wave of COVID-19 posed a greater risk to the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, the VOCs in the third wave are not only more transmissible and are leading to more acute illness, but also affecting younger populations. Those aged 19 and under now account for 19+% of positive cases, and those aged 20-29 accounting for almost 20% (as of April 23, 2021).
You can greatly reduce your chance of contracting the virus by continuing to: 1) wear a face mask when outside your home, 2) follow stringent hand hygiene practices and 3) maintain physical distancing (2 metres/6 feet apart). Only go out when it is essential, avoid all large gatherings and social events, and avoid prolonged contact with those outside your immediate household.
If you are required to come onto campus for essential lab, studio or class work, or to support essential programs, we have implemented rigorous measures to protect you. To learn more, and to complete the mandatory test before you can enter the College, visit: Campus Re-entry Protocol and Guidelines.
Genetic variations of viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19, are common and expected. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, naturally develops mutations, that is, the genetic material in the virus changes over time. The Canadian government monitors and identifies variants of concern in Canada several times a week, along with demographics of those who test positive and those who are hospitalized.
Symptoms of COVID-19 and its variants can vary from person to person, and may differ by age group, and may appear up to 14 days after exposure to COVID-19. Some of the most symptoms reported by people infected with the virus are:
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- temperature 38°C or higher
- feeling feverish or having chills
- fatigue, weakness, muscle or body aches
- new loss of smell or taste
- gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
- feeling very unwell
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, remain at home. Please do not come to the College. Self-isolate and contact your doctor, health care provider or Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000. You can also conduct a COVID-19 self-assessment at this website.
To learn more, visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment.
As the Ontario government moves through its phases of its Declaration of Emergency, they ask the public to continue following best practices introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Physical distancing – keep 6 feet/2 metres away from others not living in the same household as you
- Limit in-person social contact to those living in the same household as you
- Wear a medical mask that covers your nose and mouth when inside public spaces, i.e., grocery stores, and outdoors where you cannot maintain physical distancing
- Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue, then place the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands, or cough/sneeze into your bent elbow
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer where soap and water are not readily available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth without first washing your hands
- Do not shake or hold hands
- Do not share personal items such as toothbrushes, utensils, drinks or towels
When you return home from an outing, wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Ontario has opened a number of assessment centres where you can be tested for COVID-19. In most cases, health officials ask that you go online to conduct a self-assessment before heading into an assessment centre. Most assessment centres request that only those individuals presenting with COVID-19 symptoms attend.
Below is a list of suggested assessment centres located near our campuses. For a complete list of Greater Toronto Area assessment centres, visit this webpage and scroll down the page to the list for Toronto locations, which includes a weekly scheduled for the Scarborough mobile assessment centre.
Ashtonbee, Progress Campus
North York General Hospital (Leslie St. just north of the 401): 11 am to 11 pm, seven days a week. An assessment centre located in the emergency department is open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm seven days a week. The hospital is encouraging people to do a pre-assessment by calling Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) or by using the Toronto COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool. There are no further requirements at this time. For more information call the main line at 416-756-6000.
Scarborough Hospital, 3030 Birchmount Road: 9 am to 6 pm seven days a week. The assessment centre is located in front of the hospital. At this time, patients will not be tested unless they are demonstrating serious symptoms. The hospital is encouraging people to do self-assessment first online by visiting www.shn.ca/covid-19. For more information call the main line at 416-495-2400.
Morningside, Progress campus
Scarborough Health Network, Centenary Hospital, 2867 Ellesmere Rd.: 10 am to 7 pm seven days a week. The assessment centre is located outside of the hospital building, on the East side heading toward the Emergency department, and is accessible from Neilson Rd. Please follow the directions on-site. Visit the centre only if you have symptoms of a respiratory tract infection or fever, including cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, runny nose, or joint aches, AND if you have been instructed by Public Health to visit the centre, or if you work in a vulnerable or at risk setting. These settings include, school or childcare centres, retirement homes, homeless shelters, prisons, or any healthcare setting such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, complex continuing care, rehabilitation centres, and dialysis centres, or other settings with vulnerable populations.
Story Arts Centre
Michael Garron Hospital (East Toronto) 825 Coxwell Avenue: By appointment only, 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week. The assessment centre is located in the hospital’s outpatient clinic located in D-wing, 1st floor, which is accessed from Mortimer Avenue. No walk-ins. The COVID-19 Assessment Centre provides screening, assessment and testing for individuals in East Toronto who are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19. Community members with potential COVID-19 symptoms who feel they need to be assessed for COVID-19 should phone the Assessment Centre at 416-469-6858. On the call, patients will be screened for travel and contact history and symptoms, and guided to self-monitor, self-isolate at home, come to the Assessment Centre, or go to the Emergency Department. Patients who need to go to the Assessment Centre will be offered a booked appointment. The hospital’s 24-hour emergency department also has a dedicated zone for assessment.
Humber River Regional Hospital, 2111 Finch Avenue West: 10 am to 6 pm, seven days a week. Use the west entrance for assessments. People are asked to do a self-assessment before showing up at the centre. For more information call the centre at 416-747-6740. The hospital is advising patients to call Telehealth Ontario first to be screened at 1-866-797-0000 or use the self-assessment tool prior to going to the assessment centre.
North York General Hospital (Branson Site), 555 Finch Avenue, North Entrance: 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week. Use the North Entrance. This location is available for Walk-In appointments. Last registration at 7:45 pm.
Currently, the Canadian government is strongly advising against non-essential travel outside the country until all levels of government lift their Declarations of Emergency related to COVID-19. The Canadian government may issue a travel advisory that restricts you from returning to Canada. In addition to bringing new variants of the virus to Canada, travellers put themselves at unnecessary risk. Authorities worldwide often impose control measures, including movement restrictions, with little or no warning. In some nations, travellers will have limited access to health care should they become ill, with many hospitals beyond capacity. For updates, visit Travel Advice and Advisories.
Yes. Regardless of citizenship, all travellers entering Canada must follow new testing and quarantine rules introduced to keep Canadians safe, particularly given the new COVID-19 variants in Canada and around the world. Travellers must quarantine even if they have tested negative for the virus and/or had the COVID-19 vaccine.
Travellers flying into Canada must undergo mandatory testing before they fly to Canada and during their quarantine. The quarantine period now includes a mandatory three night pre-paid booking at a government-authorized hotel at your own cost. Read more at Flying to Canada Traveller’s Checklist.
Travellers driving into Canada must also undergo mandatory testing before travelling to Canada and after they arrive during their quarantine. Read more at Driving to Canada Requirements Checklist.
The flu shot offered in doctors’ offices, public health units and pharmacies contains a number of antigens that stimulate an immune response to the most commonly expected viruses for the current flu season. If you have symptoms of influenza and were vaccinated this year, the doctor can quickly rule out viruses included in the current flu shot.
If you have a provincial health card, you can get your free flu shot from a doctor or nurse practitioner, at participating pharmacies or at some local public health units (Public Health Unit Locator).
International students can get a free flu shot from many pharmacies.
With a record number of people getting the flu shot, we suggest you call ahead to confirm the vaccine is in stock.
Avoid reading fake news. The College will continually update its website and provide the College community with the most reliable and current information from official providers including city, provincial and federal health agencies and the World Health Organization. If you want to read more on your own, follow credible online resources only. We suggest: