Don’t wait till it’s too late: Emergency care in the time of COVID

14 May Don’t wait till it’s too late: Emergency care in the time of COVID

COVID-19 may have some people hesitating to seek medical attention when they need it. It is important to know that 911 services, paramedics and Emergency Departments are continuing to respond to medical emergencies. And if you need medical care, it is critical that you do not wait to seek help.

When you need emergency care

If you have the following symptoms, it’s important to seek care immediately, whether by calling 911 or getting to an Emergency Department on your own:


If you do go to a hospital emergency department, you can be assured that they are taking extra precautions to keep patients safe:

  • Frequent cleaning of the facility
  • Staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves
  • Frequent hand-washing by health care providers and other personnel
  • Separate care areas for patients with COVID-19
  • Screening at emergency room entrances
  • Doctor’s offices and Telehealth


Doctor’s offices and Telehealth

If you are experiencing less urgent symptoms, reach out to your doctor’s office or contact a walk-in clinic. Many are doing virtual visits to continue providing care. If you are uncertain about what kind of help you need, call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. This is a free, confidential service to get health advice or information. While they are experiencing high call volumes due to COVID-19, a nurse will call you back.

For COVID-19 Emergencies

Most people with the virus will have mild symptoms. If you think you might have COVID-19, you should call your doctors office to discuss next steps for testing and treatment. However, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, seek immediate help by calling 911. These include:

  • Bluish lips or face
  • Confusion or inability to stay awake
  • Ongoing chest pain or pressure
  • Trouble breathing


When you call 911, tell the operator that you may have COVID-19. This will ensure that paramedics arriving on the scene are wearing the proper protective gear to be able to treat you quickly while not spreading the virus to others.