Health emergency and pandemic

A health emergency can be declared when a threat to the health of the population demands the immediate application of certain measures. It empowers the Québec government and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux to implement an array of measures to protect the health of the population.

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux could, for example, promptly purchase equipment or conclude the necessary contracts to protect the health of the population.

Yes. This exceptional measure demonstrates the Gouvernement du Québec’s determination to adopt the necessary measures to protect Quebecers.

There is community or local transmission of a virus when there is ongoing person-to-person transmission (that affects many people) in a community, with no history of travel.

A pandemic peaks when, after a significant rise in cases, the number of new cases stops growing and starts to decrease.

If nothing is done, the COVID-19 pandemic could spread very quickly with a very high number of people requiring admission to hospital over a very short period of time. Preventive measures “flatten the curve”, which means slowing and stretching out the spread of the virus over a longer period of time. As a result, the healthcare system will not be overwhelmed by the number of hospital admissions and COVID-19 patients will receive appropriate care.

For up-to-date information, consult the Government of Quebec’s official website often Québec.ca/coronavirus.

Listen to the radio or watch television and read newspapers. The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux will be providing health guidelines for the public to follow and information about where to get treatment.

Always follow government advisories and instructions. Advisories and instructions may change as the situation unfolds.

To learn how to recognize a credible source of information, go to the page How to recognize a reliable source of information on health.

No. There is no evidence that the virus spreads through blood.

However, people who have flu-like symptoms (cough, sneezing, fever), who have COVID-19 or who are waiting for a COVID‑19 test result must stay home. This means they cannot give blood.

People who work or live with a person who has COVID‑19 or who is waiting for a result may only give blood 14 days after the date the person recovered. If the test shows that the person does not have COVID‑19, anyone who has had contact with the person may give blood.

Anyone who has recovered from COVID‑19 must wait 28 days from the date they recovered before giving blood.

For more information about the criteria for donating blood, go to the page Who Can Donate? This hyperlink will open in a new window. on Héma‑Québec’s website.

Travellers

Anyone returning from a stay outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days. Such isolation covers both travellers who are sick or display symptoms and those who do not have symptoms and are in perfect health.

Individuals in self-isolation must stay at home and monitor their symptoms. If in doubt, evaluate the symptoms on Québec.ca/decisioncovid19 or call 1-877-644-4545 right away and comply with the directives that you are given.

Certain practices are recommended if they live with other people who have not travelled. To obtain additional information on the procedures to follow, please refer to the Self-isolating instructions section.

The Gouvernement du Québec is asking employers to be understanding and flexible toward employees who are returning from travelling or who have symptoms.

The Gouvernement du Québec suggests that individuals who are abroad come home if possible.

The Government of Canada in its Travel Advice and Advisories This hyperlink will open in a new window. section recommends that individuals who are abroad find out about the commercial options avilable to them to return to Canada and to return sooner than planned if such options become more limited.

For this information, you are advised to consult the Travel Advice and Advisories This hyperlink will open in a new window. section on the Government of Canada site.

The Gouvernement du Québec is asking Quebecers to cancel non-essential trips.

If you decide to travel anyway, you are advised to consult the Travel Advice and Advisories This hyperlink will open in a new window. section on the Government of Canada site. You must also self-isolate for 14 days when you return.

Truck drivers and air crews and seagoing personnel do not have to self-isolate given the important role that they play in the transportation of critical goods such as food.

There is currently no program to refund the cost of trips abroad. Travellers should contact their travel agent or travel insurer.

People suffering from COVID-19

If you have symptoms of coronavirus disease, you will feel tired and weak. Rest will help you fight the disease. Limit your contact with other people until the symptoms have resolved. You can resume your activities when your condition allows.

It is important to drink often because fever makes you sweat and lose a lot of fluids. At least 1.5 litres of fluids per day is recommended. Have hot or cold or drinks, whichever you prefer. Avoid alcoholic beverages or beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea and soft drinks. Alcohol and caffeine will make you urinate and increase fluid loss (dehydration).

Watch for the following signs of dehydration:

  • sensation of extreme thirst;
  • dry mouth and tongue;
  • infrequent or dark urine;
  • dizziness, confusion and headaches.

Complications of COVID-19 can develop a few days after symptoms first appear. If symptoms become more acute, you must go to the emergency room immediately or, if you need help, call 911. Watch for the following signs of a deterioration:

  • body temperature over 38°C (100.4°F);
  • persistent or increasing difficulty breathing;
  • drowsiness, confusion, disorientation or difficulty staying awake;
  • no urine for 12 hours;
  • fever in a baby under 3 months of age.

To protect people around you, this is what you must do until your symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue, etc.) have resolved:

  • Stay in a separate room to avoid contaminating your family;
  • Sleep and eat alone in your room;
  • Use a separate bathroom;
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, ideally with a tissue. Spit into a tissue. Wash your hands afterwards;
  • If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow or upper arm;
  • Put used tissues into a garbage bag in a trash can with a lid. Keep used tissues out of reach of children;
  • Do not have visitors to your home.

Good hygiene and prevention practices are explained and illustrated in the Self-care Guide.

In addition, please consult the document Procedure to Follow for People with COVID-19 in Isolation at Home This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The page Coughing and sneezing without contaminating illustrates the precautions to take to avoid contaminating your environment or your family.

The virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can live on objects and surfaces. It can survive for:

  • 3 hours on objects with dry surfaces;
  • 6 days on objects with wet surfaces.

It is important to clean countertops, washbasins, door handles and any surfaces that are frequently touched by hands. Cleaning and disinfecting are very effective at eliminating the virus.

  • For cleaning, use soap and water or household cleaning products.
  • For disinfecting, use a bleach solution or a disinfectant. A solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water is recommended, that is, 10 mL of bleach in 90 mL of water.

If you are sick, your bed linen, towels, clothes and dishes can be washed with those of other household members using regular detergent.

It can happen. There are reported cases of people getting infected with COVID-19 a second time, but it is rare and they are often patients with weakened immune systems. At the moment, most people who get COVID-19 recover and appear to be protected against reinfection with the virus.

To find out how to care for a child or an older adult who is sick, refer to the Caring for sick children and Eldercare sections in the Self-care Guide.

Over-the-counter medications can be used to relieve the symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Before using, read the labels carefully and do not take more than the recommended dose. You are strongly advised to ask your pharmacist for advice before using over-the-counter medications if you have symptoms. Do not take products that contain the same ingredients at the same time, such as Tylenol® and Tylenol® Sinus. If you have health problems, ask your pharmacist for advice or call Info-Santé 811 before taking over-the-counter medications.

Taking anti-inflammatories may make coronavirus disease (COVID-19) worse, but this information is based on clinical observations and has not been confirmed or disproven. According to some recommendations, ibuprofen should not be taken by people who have COVID-19 to relieve fever. Advil® and Motrin® belong to this drug class. If you are already taking anti-inflammatories and you test positive for COVID-19, speak to your pharmacist, doctor or specialized nurse practitioner.

Fever is a defence mechanisms that helps fight infection. Acetaminophen is recommended for the relief of fever and discomfort, unless you are advised otherwise by a health professional or are allergic to this medication.

Fever is defined as follows:

  • in children 0-5 years old: 38.5°C (101.3°F) and above (rectal temperature);
  • in children 6 years and older: 38.1°C (100.6°F) and above (oral temperature);
  • in adults: 38°C (100.4°F) and above (oral temperature);
  • in older adults: 37.8°C (100°F) and above (oral temperature);
  • or 1.1°C above the person's usual value.

Gargle with a glass of salt water: 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp.) of salt in 250 mL (1 cup) of lukewarm water (do not swallow the solution). Hard candy or lozenges, preferably sugar free, can also relieve your sore throat.

If you are worried, do not hesitate to ask for or accept help. It is important to talk about it with your family and friends.

For home care, you can also call 211 or ask your CLSC to connect you with home care services.

For food assistance, visit the Food Banks of Quebec This hyperlink will open in a new window. website.

For information about financial support for individuals, visit the Government of Canada’s website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

For information about other support measures, go to the Québec.ca/coronavirus page.

At this time, the long-term consequences of COVID‑19 are unknown. However, people who have COVID‑19 and develop pneumonia may take a few weeks or a few months to recover. People who have severe symptoms and who are treated in intensive care may experience health effects in the longer term, such as shortness of breath when they walk quickly. Studies are underway to find out more about the possible consequences of COVID‑19.

Avoid contact with pets or animals. If you are unable to avoid contact with an animal, wear a mask if you have one. If not, use a tissue or another piece of fabric to cover your nose and mouth.

If you must look after a pet, follow these hygiene measures:

  • Make sure you wash your hands before looking after the pet.
  • Follow the usual hygiene measures for contact with animals. To find out more, go to the page Maladies animales transmissibles à l’humain This hyperlink will open in a new window. (Diseases that can be spread from animals to humans – in French only).
  • Ideally, keep pets in a room or a cage that is reserved for their use in order to limit contact and contamination of the environment.
  • For pets that go outside, always use a leash or a fenced area.

If someone else has to look after your pet, choose a member of your household if possible. Tell them about the hygiene measures to follow, in particular limit contact with the pet, wash their hands before and after looking after the pet and disinfect any items the sick person touched and that the pet might have had contact with, such as toys, the leash or the poop bag holder.

These measures must be followed for 14 days after symptoms appear.

To learn more go to the page COVID-19 – Questions et réponses pour les clientèles du MAPAQ This hyperlink will open in a new window., [COVID-19 – Questions and answers for MAPAQ clients; French only] on the website of the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ).

At-risk individuals

The risk of serious complications for people with COVID-19 increases with age, but even young adults are at risk. The risk of dying from serious respiratory complications (pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome) due to COVID-19 is especially high in:

  • people age 70 and older;
  • people who have a weakened immune system;
  • people who have a chronic disease; such as:
    • diabetes;
    • heart disease;
    • lung disease;
    • kidney disease.

It is possible to deliver groceries to elderly people or people with a weak immune system solely if you do not display any symptoms and have not returned from a trip within less than 14 days.

It is important at all times to maintain distance between individuals, avoid direct contacts and abide by the usual rules of hygiene when you cough or sneeze.

According to the World Health Organization, pregnant women are at no greater risk than adults in general of complications related to COVID-19. Scientists note that there is no known risk of malformation or mother-to-foetus transmission. The usual preventive rules apply to pregnant women. For more information, see the Information for pregnant women page.

Yes, children are less at risk. However, they can still transmit the virus. Consequently, directives aimed at containing the virus’ spread also apply to children. For more information, see the Information for parents of children age 0 to 17 page.

Distance socializing strategies, such as using alternative ways of communicating, can help you stay connected and even become closer to family and friends.

Don’t minimize the positive effects of distance socializing, since continuing to socialize has a positive impact on your physical and psychological health at every stage of life.

For example, you can use direct or indirect means of communication or even get creative:

  • Direct: phone calls, video chats, text messages, social networks, digital apps (WhatsApp, Skype, etc.) or other technologies.
  • Indirect: prerecorded voice messages or videos, letters, postcards, digital photos.
  • Creative: drawings, crafts, photo collages, a recording of yourself reading a children’s story, arrange a time to say hello from your balcony or the street, dinner for two by Skype.

To get the most out of your experience, find out which means of communication you and your family and friends like best and decide how often you will use them.

Yes. However, all the individuals concerned should self-isolate voluntarily for 14 days before moving in to ensure that they are not suffering from COVID-19.

If you are under 70 years old, are in good health and your grandchildren do not have access to day care or cannot return to school, and the parents are essential workers, you can babysit them.

However, it’s important the following conditions are met:

  • no one has symptoms of fever, cough, difficulty breathing or sudden loss of smell without a stuffy nose, with or without loss of taste,
  • no one has been told to self-isolate,
  • none of the children in the family go to school,
  • you do not live with someone who is at risk (e.g., chronically ill or 70 years of age or older).

As far as possible, physical contact with children must be limited and a physical distance of 2 metres kept. If you must be in contact with children within 2 metres (e.g. infants), wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after holding the child. Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and items, such as door handles, light switches, faucets, etc. Clean bathrooms more frequently. Clean toys frequently, especially toys that children might put in their mouth. If you have been in close contact with the child change your clothes when you return home or when the child leaves. Follow the health recommendations for everyone.

Symptoms

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are as follows in children, adults and older adults:

  • fever:
    • in children 0-5 years old: 38.5°C (101.3°F) and above (rectal temperature),
    • in children 6 years and older: 38.1°C (100.6°F) and above (oral temperature),
    • in adults: 38°C (100.4°F) and above (oral temperature),
    • in older adults: 37.8°C (100°F) and above (oral temperature),
    • or 1.1°C above the person's usual value;
  • a new cough or a cough that gets worse;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • runny nose or nasal congestion;
  • vomiting, only in children;
  • stomach aches, only in children;

or

  • sudden loss of sense of smell without nasal congestion, with or without loss of taste.

Other symptoms may also appear such as sore throat, headache, aching muscles, intense fatigue, severe loss of appetite and diarrhea. Symptoms can be mild or more severe like those associated with pneumonia.

How long the symptoms last depends on the severity of the disease. Symptoms generally last less than 14 days. In severe cases, symptoms can last longer than a month.

You cannot tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu based on the symptoms alone because they are too alike. The only way to be sure is to get tested.

However, if you develop symptoms of a respiratory tract infection and you live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, it is almost certain that you have it too.

A person who has COVID‑19‑like symptoms can get tested at a designated screening or assessment clinic, a drive‑through screening clinic or an outdoor clinic.

If in doubt, evaluate the symptoms on Québec.ca/decisioncovid19 or call 1-877-644-4545 right away and comply with the directives that you are given.

You can only go to some clinics if you have an appointment and at particular times.

Transmission

COVID-19 is most commonly spread by droplets expelled when a person who is sick coughes or sneezes. These droplets are projected a maximum distance of 2 metres and fall quickly.

Therefore, it is recommended that you follow these instructions:

  • maintain a distance of at least 2 metres (around 6 feet) from other people;
  • avoid all contact with a person who is infected;
  • wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

The disease is mainly contracted by close contact with an infected person. It is spread by respiratory droplets expelled from the nose or mouth of a person who is sick when they cough or sneeze. Droplets can be projected a maximum distance of 2 metres (around 6 feet) and fall quickly. This is why keeping a distance of 2 metres away from other people is recommended.

Droplets can land on objects and surfaces near the person who just coughed or sneezed and survive for a short time. You must avoid touching these objects and surfaces with your hands and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

So far, there is no evidence that people contract the disease from the air, by airborne transmission far from an infected person.

It is also unlikely that the virus spreads through ventilation systems.

The virus is mainly spread by close contact with an infected person, through respiratory droplets when they cough or sneeze. It can also be spread when a person touches a surface contaminated with the virus and then brings their hands to their face without washing them.

The virus has been detected in some body fluids such as blood, semen and stool. However, the possibility of transmission through these body fluids remains uncertain at this time.

COVID‑19 is spread by close contact between people, including sexual contact like kissing, caresses, hugs, sexual relations, etc. A person can spread COVID‑19 even if they do not have any symptoms. This means that sexual partners must follow the health recommendations for everyone.

The risk of getting COVID-19 if you have contact with someone who does not have any symptoms is low.

However, many people who are infected have only mild symptoms. This is especially true in the early stages of the disease. For example, you can get COVID-19 if you have contact with someone who has only a mild cough but does not feel sick.

That’s why you are advised to keep at least 2 metres away from other people even if no one has symptoms.

It might, but so far COVID-19 has been found in many countries, whatever their climate. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when the weather becomes warmer.

In general, coronaviruses (COVID-19) do not survive for long on objects. They can survive on surfaces for a few hours to several days. It mainly depends on the type of surface (for example, copper, cardboard, stainless steel, plastic), the temperature and ambient humidity.

According to findings from a recent experiment, the virus might be able to survive up to:

  • 4 hours on copper;
  • 24 hours on cardboard;
  • 48 hours (2 days) on stainless steel;
  • 72 hours (3 days) on plastic.

No. The World Health Organization has confirmed that, to date, there is no information or proof to the effect that mosquitos can transmit the coronavirus.

No. Water treatment methods used in drinking water systems neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19.

For the moment, there is nothing to suggest that the disease is more dangerous now compared with the information obtained from initial studies. What we know about the epidemiology of COVID‑19 is also evolving very quickly. Studies published recently suggest that a significant proportion of people who are infected may not have symptoms. In addition, there is some evidence that the period of communicability starts before the first signs and symptoms appear. This finding has led the government to recommend, as a precaution, wearing a face covering on a voluntary basis in order to reduce the risk of people who have few or no symptoms spreading the virus in public places where it is difficult to maintain a distance of 2 metres from other people.

The Government is taking all the necessary measures to contain the contagion as much as possible. As a citizen, you can reduce the spread of infection by following the recommended physical distance and hygiene measures.

No. COVID-19 is not caused or spread by fifth-generation (5G) technology. There is no scientific evidence of a link between this technology and the virus. This information is also corroborated by the World Health Organization This hyperlink will open in a new window. (WHO) and the Chief Scientist of Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window..

In fact, this technology does not pose more risks than the telecommunication technologies currently used in the Québec territory that comply with Canadian requirements This hyperlink will open in a new window.. Telecommunications are useful in daily life and are even more important at this time for wireless communication, hence the need to preserve their integrity.

COVID 19 is spread from person to person by contact with droplets projected into the air when a person who is sick talks, coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by infected hands if you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after contact with an infected person or surface.

Transmission of the virus by ingesting food has been ruled out. In addition, the coronavirus cannot grow on food.

It is possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object where the virus is found and then bringing your hand to your mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not the primary means of transmission.

It is important to always follow the basic rules of hygiene, which include washing your hands thoroughly before eating and cooking, washing food thoroughly before eating, as well as coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with virus transmission from person to person. There is no indication that animals play a major role in the spread of the disease. At present, we know that cats, ferrets, hamsters and mink can be infected. Reported cases of animal infections are generally associated with the virus being transmitted to the animal from its human owner. However, it is likely that mink, infected by people, in turn infected employees at affected farms in the Netherlands. There have been no reported cases of virus transmission from a pet to a human.

The risk of being infected through contact with an animal is generally considered low. Application of the following measures reduces the risks of virus transmission between humans and animals:

Certain situations call for specific measures:

Prevention

It is important to answer, since the public health authorities are trying to contact you. Your cooperation with public health is essential to control COVID‑19 outbreaks.

Individuals in voluntary self-isolation must stay at home and monitor their symptoms. If in doubt, evaluate the symptoms on Québec.ca/decisioncovid19 or call 1-877-644-4545 right away and comply with the directives that you are given.

Certain practices are recommended if they live with other people who have not travelled. To obtain additional information on the procedures to follow, please refer to the Self-isolating instructions section.

If you stay home and do not have any contact with other people, you cannot spread or catch COVID-19. Washing your hands often and properly is still a good habit at any time, not just during a pandemic. In addition, if you have to go out or if you have contact with a person or an object that might be contaminated, you will already be practicing good hand hygiene.

You do not have to take any special precautions. Simply follow the usual recommendations, that is, open windows regularly, clean the floor and high-touch surfaces, etc.

There is a risk of getting infected by the virus when you touch surfaces and objects, but it is low.

To protect yourself, wash your hands with soap and warm water after touching objects that might be contaminated. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth until you have washed your hands properly.

If possible, wash the object that might be contaminated with the cleaning products and disinfectants that you usually use at home. For example, wash your reusable bags with your usual detergent.

Before eating your fruits and vegetables, wash and scrub them thoroughly under running water. There is no need to add soap or disinfectant.  

These are good habits at any time, not just during a pandemic.

Physical distancing means keeping a certain distance from other people. Since COVID-19 is mainly spread by close contact with infected people, it is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the disease. To minimize close contact with other people who are infected, you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible;
  • Avoid non-essential gatherings with people who do not live in your household (for example, dinner with friends);
  • Avoid physical contact with people who are most at risk of complications (older adults, people with chronic diseases or a weakened immune system);
  • If you must go out, stay at least 2 metres (around 6 feet) away from other people as much as possible.

As often as possible, but especially:

  • Before touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose);
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose;
  • After going to the bathroom;
  • When your hands are visibly dirty or after touching something dirty;
  • Before and after providing care to a family member or friend;
  • Before and after preparing meals;
  • Before and after eating;
  • Before and after going to a public place (for example, the grocery store or pharmacy).

Washing your hands with regular soap and warm water is more effective at getting rid of dirt and most viruses than gels, foams or liquid disinfectants. These products are recommended only when soap and running water are not available. Note also that to be effective, gels must contain at least 60% alcohol.

Techniques for washing your hands with soap and water or with an antiseptic product are described and illustrated on the Washing hands page.

If you or your child experience skin irritation or an allergic or inflammatory reaction when you wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, please stop using the product. Use soap and water to wash your hands instead. Frequent handwashing and washing your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can dry out the skin. To prevent dry skin, it is recommended that you use moisturizer on your hands every day. If the skin irritation or reactions persist, you should see a doctor.

The temperature of the water is not important when you wash your hands or clothes. The soap kills the virus, not the heat of the water used.

To wash your hands properly, you should rub your hands together with soap for at least 20 seconds. Techniques for washing your hands with soap and water or with an antiseptic product are described and illustrated on the Washing hands page.

Washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is the best method. Antiseptic gel should be used when soap and water are unavailable. Acetone-based products such as nail polish remover or hydrogen peroxide, mainly sold in drugstores, are not designed to disinfect the hands and pose a health hazard

There is a shortage of medical gloves right now. They should be reserved for use by health professionals. Wearing gloves can give you a false sense of security. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently and properly. Go to the page Washing your hands to find out how.

Show them:

  • the right way to wash their hands with soap and water;
  • how to blow their nose and sneeze with disposable tissues;
  • how to cough or sneeze into the crease of their elbow or upper arm.

Good hygiene and prevention practices are explained and illustrated in the Self-care Guide.

Remind them often to keep away from other people who are sick.

Keep the Decision Fact Sheet in the Self-care Guide on hand or where you can see it. You can use it to decide what to do if you or a family member have symptoms, depending on the situation.

Children age 16 and under are now allowed to see their friends while maintaining a distance of 1 metre. This allows children to interact more easily, while maintaining a safe distance.

Continued breastfeeding during the pandemic is recommended because breast milk contains multiple immune factors that fight infection. In addition, the virus that causes COVID‑19 is not spread through breast milk.

Even if you have COVID‑19 and have symptoms, you can breastfeed if you feel well enough. However, you will have to take the following precautions.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before you breastfeed.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Change your clothes before you breastfeed so that your baby will not come in contact with infected secretions.
  • Wash your breasts with soap and water if you think that they might have come in contact with secretions.
  • Between feeds, keep a distance of 2 metres (around 6 feet) from your baby. Ask a healthy family member to take care of your baby.
  • If you have any particular concerns about your baby’s health, talk to your doctor or the nurse who was assigned to you at your CLSC, if you have one, or call 1‑877‑644‑4545 (toll free).

If you are caring for someone who has been diagnosed with COVID‑19, you must take steps to protect yourself against the disease. To learn more, go to the page How to care for a person with COVID‑19 at home – Advice for caregivers This hyperlink will open in a new window. on the Government of Canada’s website.

No, it would be risky and the benefits are uncertain. There is a real risk, even for young people, of catching COVID-19 and being hospitalized or admitted to intensive care.

In addition, even if infected people develop antibodies against the virus, at this time it is impossible to know if this would provide a natural defence or effective, lasting immunity.

At this time, it cannot be confirmed that tests done on people who are asymptomatic are conclusive, However, if a person has symptoms consistent with COVID‑19 and had close contact with a confirmed case, they can be considered to have COVID‑19 without doing a test.

If in doubt, evaluate the symptoms on Québec.ca/decisioncovid19 or call 1-877-644-4545 right away and comply with the directives that you are given.

In addition, people who live in regions or areas where there is a higher level of community transmission who develop symptoms must consult the website of their CISSS (integrated health and social services centre) or CIUSSS (integrated university health and social services centre) to find out where to go and how to arrange to get a diagnostic test. You will find the list of CISSS and CIUSSS websites in the COVID-19 tests section. 

If in doubt, evaluate the symptoms on Québec.ca/decisioncovid19 or call 1-877-644-4545 right away and comply with the directives that you are given.

In addition, people who live in regions or areas where there is a higher level of community transmission who develop symptoms must consult the website of their CISSS (integrated health and social services centre) or CIUSSS (integrated university health and social services centre) to find out where to go and how to arrange to get a diagnostic test. You will find the list of CISSS and CIUSSS websites in the COVID-19 tests section. 

Yes, unless you have been told to self-isolate for 14 days. If so, you must stay at home. This means that you cannot go out for a walk until the 14 days are up.

If you have not been told to self-isolate:

  • People who live in a residential and long-term care centre (CHSLD), a private seniors’ residence or in intermediate resources and family-type resources (IR-FTR) are allowed to go outside but they must be supervised.
  • Anyone else can go outside to get some fresh air and take a walk. It is important to keep at least 2 metres (around 6 feet) away from people who do not live in your household.

Because COVID-19 is spread from person to person, it is not currently recommended to have animals tested, except in exceptional circumstances or in the context of research activities.

If you are concerned about your animal’s health, call your veterinarian. Discuss your concerns with them, but also other known illnesses that can affect animals. There is limited knowledge about which animals are likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Veterinarians with specific questions about animal health or public health can get more information by calling 1-844-ANIMAUX.

Wearing a mask or a face covering

Masks may refer to medical equipment and are certified by government bodies before use. A face covering is a handcrafted mask used as a form of protection that can be made at home. It can be used in addition to basic preventive measures (washing your hands, coughing into your elbow, distance of 2 metres, etc.) but is not a substitute for them. It does not protect the wearer, but might reduce the risk of an infected person who has few or no symptoms spreading the virus that causes COVID‑19 to other people.

Information is constantly evolving, both about how the virus is spread and how effective face coverings are. Information from recent studies varies and the number of infected people who have few or no symptoms is unknown. The pros and cons were weighed up and led us to suggest wearing a face covering as an additional measure. Remember that wearing a face covering is not a substitute for other basic preventive measures, such as washing your hands.

Various reference authorities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and INSPQ, have opted to favour the wearing of face coverings, which can be used by the general population to reduce community spread and, more specifically, in public settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux also asked the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) to do a literature review and produce an opinion in order to guide the decision making process. The opinion produced by the INSPQ is available online on the page COVID‑19 : Port d’un couvre-visage par la population générale This hyperlink will open in a new window. [COVID‑19: Use of face coverings by the general public; French only].

Wearing a handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, might reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID‑19 from an infected person who has few or no symptoms to other people. There is no evidence that wearing a mask in the community protects the wearer. When you wear a mask in public, you must also follow other safety measures, such as hygiene and physical distancing (2 metres) as often as possible.

To find out how to use a mask, go to the page Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Wearing a mask or face covering, also known as a homemade mask, is mandatory on public transit for people age 10 and over. This obligation applies to buses, the subway, ferries, taxis, car services, etc.

Wearing a mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth is mandatory in enclosed or partially enclosed public places for people age 10 and over.

Children under 10 years of age, people whose particular medical condition prevents them from wearing a mask and people who are unable to put on or take off a mask by themselves do not have to wear a face covering. However, wearing a mask or face covering is recommended for children between 2 and 9 years of age. It is not recommended for those under age 2.

For a list of places where wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory or to find out how to use a face covering, go to the page Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Wearing a face covering is strongly recommended (but not mandatory) for busy streets where physical distancing is not possible.

It is not recommended that face coverings be worn by children who are less than 2 years old. Face coverings are strongly recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 9 years, but non-compliance is tolerated. Children over the age of 10 are required to wear a face covering when taking public transit as well as in closed or partially open public places. Since children are more likely to touch their face, their parents and/or others who have charge of them must wash their own hands and the child’s frequently with soap and water or a water-alcohol sanitizer.

To view the list of locations where wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory or learn how to make and use a face covering, go to the Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic page.

Children in educational childcare services are not required to wear a homemade mask, also known as a face covering.

At school (preschool, primary school and secondary school):

  • Students in preschool and in grades 1 to 4 of primary school are not required to wear a face covering.
  • Students in grades 5 and 6 and secondary school students must wear a face covering when moving outside classrooms, in common areas and in the presence of students who do not belong to their class group. They must also wear a face covering in school transportation or public transit (age 10 and up).
  • In red zones, all secondary school students must wear a face covering at all times in common areas, including in class in their stable class group and on school grounds.

See the information sheet This hyperlink will open in a new window. for more details on wearing a face covering at school.

Individuals whose personal medical condition prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering are not obliged to. Here are a few examples of situations in which the mask requirement may be waived due to a medical issue:

  • The individual is not capable of putting on and removing the mask by themself due to a physical disability.
  • The individual has a facial deformity.
  • The individual has a cognitive disorder, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, substance abuse or serious mental health problem that prevents understanding the face covering requirement, or if wearing a mask or face covering leads to significant mental breakdown or distress.
  • The individual has a severe face or ear skin condition that is significantly aggravated by wearing a mask or face covering.

It is recommended that people who are exempt from the mask or face covering directive due to a health condition, avoid locations where they are mandatory as much as possible. However, third parties are not permitted to limit their access to such locations. If these individuals frequent such locations, it is recommended that they strictly abide by the 2-metre physical distancing from others directive (does not apply to attendants or accompanying persons).

Moreover, individuals with chronic medical conditions including heart and lung diseases are not exempted from the requirement to wear a mask or face covering. In fact, such persons are among those for whom masks or face coverings provide the greatest benefits. Whenever possible, they should try to use procedure masks, which provide improved protection from the virus.

Learn more at Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No. You are not required to state why your condition prevents you from wearing a mask, and no medical note will be required of you. Venue operators have no right to decide whether or not your exemption is legitimate. They must allow you access to the location, while reminding you of the importance of other measures, such as hand-washing and the 2-metre distancing rule while you remain in the venue.

It is recommended that individuals exempt from wearing a mask or face covering due to a health condition avoid locations where they are mandatory, as much as possible. They can ask a friend or family member to go to the store for them or order necessities online. However, third parties cannot restrict their access to venues where wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory. If such individuals frequent these locations, it is recommended that they strictly abide by the directive for 2-metre physical distancing from others (does not apply to attendants or accompanying persons).

A handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, should not be worn for long. It should be worn for short periods only in enclosed or partially enclosed public places, on public transit and in other public places where physical distancing (2 metres) is not possible, then taken off. It should also be changed when it is dirty, damp or damaged.

Check the Tips and instructions on the Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic page.

People who have symptoms of COVID‑19 must not go out in public. If you refuse to wear the mask or face covering in a place where it is mandatory, the operator may first remind you of this obligation. Then, considering that the operator risks monetary penalties if users do not wear the mask or face covering, he may refuse to serve you. If you show up in a public place without a mask or face covering and you have symptoms compatible with COVID‑19, you are at a high risk of infecting people around you. You should not leave the house except for medical reasons. In this case, wear a mask or face covering. You can consult the Instructions for People With COVID‑19 Symptoms at any time.

If in doubt, evaluate the symptoms on Québec.ca/decisioncovid19 or call 1-877-644-4545 right away and comply with the directives that you are given.

Face shields in no way replace masks or face coverings in locations where they are mandatory. Individuals that only wear a visor/face shield will be denied access to public transit and stores.

Face shields do not provide sufficient protection from droplets and are not impermeable. As such, droplets in the air can penetrate face shields from the sides and below.

Face shields are only used for the protection of eyes from aerosols, such as when intubation takes place. This does not happen in stores and other public settings.

You can make a handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, using materials that you already have at home. The fabric used must be soft and tightly woven, for example cotton, and let the air through when you breathe. You must use at least 2 layers of fabric. The handcrafted mask must fit comfortably and snugly over your face. You must be able to wash and dry it without it getting damaged or misshapen. There are many ways to make fabric handcrafted mask. To find out how to make and use a handcrafted mask, go to the page Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Procedure masks must be used in a judicious manner due to their limited availability. Procedure masks are available on some forms of public transit. Wearing a procedure mask or a homemade mask, also called a face covering, is mandatory in enclosed or partially enclosed public places, on public transit and is strongly recommended for people circulating in other public places where it is difficult to maintain a distance of 2 metres from other people.

Handcrafted masks, also called face coverings, are very easy to make at home. However, if a company wants to make handcrafted masks, they must make sure that they meet the following criteria:

  • they are made of tightly woven, but soft fabric, such as cotton;
  • they are comfortable and allow for easy breathing;
  • they are made of at least 2 layers of fabric;
  • they fit snugly over the nose and under the chin;
  • they maintain their shape and function after washing and drying.

These criteria may change as we learn more.

However, handcrafted masks are not medical devices and, consequently, are not regulated like medical masks.

A seam over the nose and mouth reduces the seal of the handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, since the elastics pull on the seam, letting more particles through. Make sure there are at least two layers of fabric without a seam over the mouth and nose. A model with seamless inner layers would be effective.

You should wash your handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, every day. As soon as you get home, put it in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry. Don’t forget to wash your hands after you handle it. Ideally, it should be washed in warm water with your regular laundry detergent. Then put it in the dryer or allow it to air dry. Make sure the handcrafted mask is completely dry before you use it again.

If it is a fabric handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, fold the outside of the mask inward and put it in a clean bag. As soon as you get home, wash your handcrafted mask with the rest of your laundry.

If it is a disposable model, put it in a closed trash container after using it.

You must wash your hands after you take your mask off.

Procedure masks must be used in a judicious manner due to their limited availability. At this time, there is sufficient stock to meet the needs of the health care network.

Yes. Employers are responsible for providing any protective equipment employees need.

Level 4 – Maximum Alert (Red Zone)

A person who lives alone can invite one person to their home. They are advised to always invite the same person in order to minimize contact.

Having visitors from another address is prohibited.

An exception has been made for people who live alone in recognition of the fact that it can be very difficult for people who live alone to not have any face-to-face contact for 28 days.

In red zones, private gatherings are prohibited, whether inside or outside the home.

In red zones, activities organized in public places (group activities) are prohibited. Premises and facilities may stay open, but anyone who uses them must stay in their family bubble (made up of people who live at the same address) and maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from people belonging to other bubbles at all times.

Children and teenagers in the same class group may not see each other at other times and in other places without distancing. The class group concept is valid in schools only. Outside school, the general instructions for gatherings must be followed.

In red zones, organized group activities in public places are prohibited. However, it should be noted that the concept of “organized activity” implies a certain level of organization. For example, you may go for a walk with another person (keeping 2 metres apart), but you may not organize a hiking activity with several families in the neighborhood. Judgement is needed as to whether the gathering is organized or not. Sites and facilities may stay open, but people who use them must stay in their family bubble (made up of people who live at the same address) and maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from people belonging to other bubbles at all times.

Playground equipment in public parks will stay open in maximum alert zones (red zones). People must stay in their family bubble (made up of people who live at the same address) and maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from people belonging to other bubbles at all times. The health recommendations must be followed at all times.

To see the list of activities that have been suspended, go to the Affected economic sectors in the red zone (COVID‑19) page.

In red zones, you can go for a walk in a public place with someone who does not live in the same household, although it is not recommended. Where possible, physical distancing of 2 metres must be observed at all times with people who do not live at the same address.

Remember that organized group activities in public places are prohibited. Sites and facilities may stay open, but people who use them must stay in their family bubble (made up of people who live at the same address) and maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from people belonging to other bubbles at all times.

We encourage you to exercise good judgment in order to limit social contact as much as possible.

Outdoor activities in public places are not prohibited. You can see people from other households, provided distancing of 2 metres is observed.

However, remember that organized group activities in public places are prohibited. For example, you may not organize a birthday picnic in the park with several friends.

We encourage you to exercise good judgment in order to limit social contact as much as possible.

Travelling from one zone to another is not recommended if you live in a red zone. Essential travel (e.g., workers, students, shared custody, freight transport) is allowed.

Yes, it is strongly recommended that these people limit their presence in shops and restaurants in other zones as much as possible and wear a face covering at all times. Distancing of 2 metres must also be observed.

Travelling from one zone to another is not recommended if you live in a red zone. However, it's recommended that you go to your cottage directly without going to the shops. We suggest you go shopping before going to the cottage.

If you live in a red zone, you may not go to a cottage with people who live at another address because it would involve 2 different family bubbles and gatherings are not allowed.

Remember also that interregional travel to another zone is not recommended (except essential travel, workers, shared custody, freight transportation). You are allowed to go to your cottage, but it is important that you do your shopping beforehand so that you don’t have to stop at shops in another region.

The measures that apply in a red zone continue to apply to residents of that territory when they are outside the territory. A resident of a red zone will have to comply with the measures that apply in red zones, regardless of where they are. Remember that travel between regions is not recommended. To find out the measures that apply in red zones, see the Level 4 - Maximum Alert (red) page.

No, since the measures that apply in a red zone continue to apply to residents of that territory when they are outside the territory. A resident of a red zone will have to comply with the measures that apply in red zones, regardless of where they are. This means they cannot go to a restaurant, but they can have food delivered or get carry-out.

Workers may come to do work that is planned in the house (e.g., electrician, babysitter, housekeeping, etc.). It is important to follow the health recommendations at all times.

A person who is providing a service or support can go to a client's home in a red zone. Remember that people must stay in their family bubble (made up of people who live at the same address) and, where possible, maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from people belonging to other bubbles at all times.

Yes, businesses where clients come to the home (e.g., photography studios, pet grooming salons, hairdressing salons, etc.) can continue to operate. It is important to follow the health recommendations.

A funeral service with or without viewing of the deceased can be attended by no more than 25 people. The health recommendations must be followed at all times and an attendance register must also be kept.

A face covering is recommended in common areas and corridors. Gatherings in common areas are prohibited.

Demonstrations are still allowed, but wearing a face covering is mandatory at all times and demonstrators must keep 2 metres apart.

In a red zone, ridesharing with someone who does not live at the same address as you is not recommended. If there is no alternative to ridesharing, it is preferable for the passenger to sit in the back of the vehicle. It is also important to follow the health recommendations for everyone, avoid sharing items and to disinfect any surfaces the passenger touched at the end of the work day. Wearing a face covering, also called a homemade mask, is strongly recommended when it is not possible to keep a distance of 2 metres from other people. If you have to rideshare, try to do it with the same person every time and keep the number of people in the car to a minimum.

Consult the following document for more information on the measures to be observed: COVID‑19 : Taxi, covoiturage et transport adapté [COVID‑19: Taxis, ridesharing and paratransit] This hyperlink will open in a new window..

In a red zone, moving house is not recommended but is not prohibited. If you absolutely have to move, follow the instructions in this document: COVID‑19 : Mesures pour les déménageurs (in French only) This hyperlink will open in a new window. .

If you can't hire movers and you absolutely need help moving, you can ask family members and friends to help provided you comply with a number of requirements.

First, make sure no one has symptoms associated with COVID‑19, has returned from travelling in the last 14 days or has been in contact with infected people.

You must also limit the number of people and the length of time they are there as much as possible. As much as possible, ensure there is always a distance of 2 metres between everyone.

Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and follow the other basic health recommendations (avoid direct contact for greetings, such as handshakes; cough into your elbow; avoid touching your face with your hands, etc.).

Treatment

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 for the moment. Most people with the virus will recover on their own by remaining at home without needing to go to the hospital.

However, people who are infected with the virus, especially people who are seriously ill, must receive special care to relieve and treat the symptoms. For example, they may need to be given acetaminophen if they have a fever, oxygen if they have difficulty breathing or an infusion if they are dehydrated.

Some people who have severe difficulty breathing will need additional supportive treatment to help them breathe (for example, a tube in the airway, a mechanical ventilator).

Lastly, many studies are being conducted to assess the efficacy of medications or treatments that are already being used for other diseases in patients diagnosed with COVID-19, in particular chloroquine. In addition, many research teams are trying to develop new medications, but none are available at the moment.

At this time, dozens of research teams are working on developing a vaccine against COVID‑19. Some teams have developed a vaccine prototype, but additional studies must be done to determine if the vaccine is able to provide enough immunity to prevent or reduce infection. The studies will also identify the side effects of the vaccine and whether it is safe. To do this, tests must be done on animals before human testing can begin. Then, there must be enough production capacity to immunize the entire population. While the usual process may be fast tracked, it will take still take many months to complete. A vaccine is unlikely to be available before 2021.

There are no foods, supplements, vitamins or natural health products that can be used to protect you against or treat COVID-19.

You cannot strengthen your immune system through diet.

However, for the immune system to function effectively, it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods every day, as recommended in Canada’s Food Guide. To find out more, go to the page Healthy eating.

Mental health

It is normal to have signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression during a pandemic. Most people have the resources and mental strength to adapt to this type of situation. To find out more for yourself and your family, go to the page Stress, Anxiety and Depression Associated With the Coronavirus COVID‑19 Disease.

Mourning someone who has passed away (also called bereavement) is one of the realities of life that can be very difficult, especially in these unusual days of the COVID‑19 pandemic

The process of bereavement varies from one individual to the next. The intensity and duration of these feelings varies from one person to the next. It is quite normal to feel confused and shaken. For this reason, it is vital to take the time needed to get back on your feet and, especially, to develop a caring attitude towards yourself and others.

To learn about common reactions, how to cope with grief and the resources available, go to the page Bereavement during the pandemic (COVID‑19).

Like adults, children and teenagers can experience the loss of a dear one at any time and especially in these days of the COVID‑19 pandemic. The death of someone cherished is always a very upsetting and painful experience, one that is difficult and complicated to cope with.

Children and teenagers are unique individuals, each trying to understand death and express sorrow, uneasiness and worry in their own way. How they react depends on their age, maturity, culture, relationship with the departed and support network, to name but a few factors.

To learn about the possible manifestations of grief in children and teenagers, how you can help them and the resources available, go to the page Bereavement during the pandemic (COVID‑19).