COVID-19: Update to testing guidance and symptom reference document

Posted Thursday May 28, 2020

Posted By: Emily Ngo

Category: General

To: All Healthcare Providers
Date: May 28, 2020
From: Dr. Monir Taha, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health

We are writing to remind you to frequently check the Ministry of Health website for new and updated guidance documents on COVID-19. Ministry directives, memoranda, and other resources are also available. Ontario emergency orders are also posted.

Ministry of Health Guidance Updates

Ministry of Health Memo May 24th 2020:

Effective immediately testing is available for the following populations:
Symptomatic testing:

  • All people with at least one symptom of COVID-19, even mild symptoms.

Asymptomatic, risk-based testing:

  • People who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • People who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their employment, including essential workers (e.g., health care workers, grocery store employees, food processing plants).

The above Ministry of Health direction is in addition to the following updated documents:
COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance Update Version 4.0, please note:

  • The additional section with Guidance for all Populations
  • Modifications to the symptoms list in keeping with COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms Version 4.0 (below).
  • The addition of Household Contacts of Emergency Child Care Centre Workers to the list of higher risk groups

COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms Version 5.0 Please note:

  • The removal of hoarse voice and sneezing from the symptoms list
  • The addition of myalgia and multisystem inflammatory vasculitis (in children) to the list of atypical symptoms

Daily screening for symptoms among staff in community workplaces

With workplaces increasingly re-opening, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is encouraging daily screening of workplace staff to identify symptoms of COVID-19. Symptomatic staff must go home and self-isolate and should seek COVID-19 testing. OPH encourages individuals to seek medical care if feeling unwell by contacting their healthcare provider or calling Telehealth.


  • Recommendations for testing of the general public may continue to change. However, the priority groups should still be prioritized for testing, should demand for testing exceed assessment and/or lab capacity.

For COVID-19 information see OPH’s Physician and Health Care Professionals Coronavirus website, visit, or call 613-580-6744.

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