COVID-19 News and Frequently Asked Questions


County news

Frequently asked questions

Health questions

What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness in humans. Novel coronaviruses are new strains that have not been previously identified in humans, including 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). In some cases, this illness can be mild with people having little to no symptoms. In more severe cases, this can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, severe influenza-like illness, kidney failure, and sometimes death.  

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

Health authorities are now encouraging patients with both typical and atypical symptoms of the virus to reach out for advice and, as appropriate, screening. These symptoms now include:

• Fever/chills
• Cough
• Shortness of breath
• Sore throat
• Runny nose
• Nasal congestion
• Difficulty swallowing
• Unexplained fatigue
• Unexplained headache
• Joint/muscle aches
• Loss of taste or smell 

What should I do if I think I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Individuals who believe they may have had exposure to COVID-19, either in the community or through travel, and who are experiencing a new or unusual onset of any of the symptoms listed above, are asked to contact any of the following for the preliminary virtual screening:

  • Your primary care provider during business hours
  • HKPR District Health Unit – 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5020
  • Telehealth Ontario – 1-866-797-0000 
  • A local Assessment Centre
    • Northumberland Hills Hospital COVID-19 Assessment Centre (905-377-7783) 
    • Trent Hills Assessment Centre (705-395-1801)

OR complete the online self-screening tool.

If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing other severe symptoms, call 9-1-1.

What should I do if I have recently returned from travelling, but do not feel sick?

The Government of Canada has (as of March 13, 2020) warned against all international travel. All travellers arriving in Canada from international points are required to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution. For the latest information for Ontario residents see the Ontario COVID website. It is believed that it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Self-monitor for symptoms and follow the directions above if you develop symptoms or if you have concerns.


Preventative measures

How does COVID-19 spread?

Coronaviruses are spread spreads by respiratory droplets of an infected person to others with whom they have close contact.

How can I protect myself against COVID-19?

The Ontario Ministry of Health is advising all residents to practice physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. 

At this time, there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19. Most people who contract COVID-19 will recover on their own.

There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses, like: washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding handshakes, maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask in public spaces where physical distancing is not possible, staying home if sick, and self-monitoring and self-isolating if you have come in contact with someone with COVID-19.

What is physical distancing?

Physical distancing means limiting the number of people (outside of your household) with whom you come in contact. To do this keep a minimum two-metre (six-foot) distance between yourself and others, and avoid large groups/non-essential trips in the community.

What is self-isolation (also called home isolation)?

Self-isolation is a strategy used to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to others. Individuals self-isolating must stay home, and limit time spent with others. While self-isolating individuals should not go to work, school, use public transportation, or go to other public areas (e.g. malls, restaurants). 

The following individuals are being advised to self-isolate and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19:

  • People who have been diagnosed with or are awaiting test results for COVID-19.
  • People who have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19.
  • People who have recently travelled outside of Canada.
  • People who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, new cough, shortness of breath).
  • People over 70 years of age. 
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised.

What do I do if I believe I see a community member who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms?

It is important to remember that there are many reasons a person might cough or sneeze. The best thing you can do at this time is protect yourself through proper hygiene practices. Wash your hands often, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow, and use hand sanitizer.


Mental health supports 

What services are in place for residents who are feeling overwhelmed, alone, isolated or worried?

Please visit our Community Resources page for a list of available services.

Declarations of Emergency 

Has the province declared a State of Emergency?

On March 17, the Government of Ontario declared an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The provincial state of emergency ended on July 24, 2020 with the coming into effect of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act 2020 (Bill 195). Bill 195 provides the Ontario Government with flexibility to address the ongoing risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Has Northumberland County declared a State of Emergency?

Northumberland County has not declared a local state of emergency.

The County Emergency Control Group—which includes the County Warden, the directors of the organization, and the Community Emergency Management Coordinator—continues to closely monitor the situation and assess continuity of County operations.

The Control Group has determined there is sufficient current capacity to meet community needs and maintain critical systems; a declaration is therefore not required at this time. The Control Group continues to evaluate new developments and will consider the need for a declaration of emergency as the situation evolves.

County service updates and facility closures

Are your offices open?

The County headquarters building remains open, while several other facilities are closed to the public to ensure physical distancing. Staff in all areas continue to serve the community and are available by phone and email. Residents are also encouraged to review our list of forms, applications and permits that can be completed online.

Northumberland County continues to take precautions across our operations to prevent the spread of this COVID-19. Our utmost concern is preserving the health and well-being of our residents and staff. Visit our Service Updates and Facility Closures page for more detailed information.

County Council meetings

Are County Council meetings taking place

Yes, County Council meetings continue as scheduled. In order to limit public gatherings as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, these meetings are currently taking place virtually.

Members of the public can follow Council proceedings by listening-in by phone, or by watching the live broadcast on our YouTube channel. A video archive of these proceedings is also available after the meeting, on YouTube.

Regularly-scheduled Council meetings take place the third Wednesday of each month. Please check our Council Portal for the date and time of the next meeting of County Council, along with call-in details to listen to the meeting by phone. 

Supports for businesses

What supports exist for businesses during COVID-19?

COVID-19 has had a severe impact on Northumberland businesses.

Programs have been announced by both the federal and provincial governments to provide support to businesses impacted by the pandemic. For a comprehensive list of these supports, visit

Locally, the Northumberland Economic Recovery Task Force was convened in May 2020 as an industry-led initiative to support the community through this crisis. As local business owners and leaders, Task Force members are invested in Northumberland’s economic recovery.

In collaboration with local government and industry stakeholders, Task Force members developed focused recommendations to help local businesses rebuild. 

Community resources 
With frequent changes to programming and services in our community in response to COVID-19, we have compiled a list to help our residents navigate community resources and supports available during this time. This website is being updated regularly based on our understanding of available resources. For COVID-19 Community Resources visit our Community Resources page.
Making donations 

Where can I direct my donations?

 Visit our Community Resources page for some donation opportunities.

Helpful resources

Where can I learn more?

For information on practices to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, and for credible sources of information, visit our Reduce Your Risk page.