Ontario launches enhanced online tool for those concerned they may have coronavirus

Mar 23 2020, 7:56 am

Ontario has launched an enhanced and interactive self-assessment tool as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in the province.

The new tool takes the public through a series of questions to inform those who are concerned if they may have contracted the virus.

Based on the individual’s responses, users are told their next steps which include; continuing to practice social distancing, self-isolation, calling a primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario, or in the case of symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing or severe chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency department.

The online tool also provides the province with real-time data on the number and geography of users who are told to seek care, self-isolate, or to monitor for symptoms.

“I encourage anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19, have symptoms or may have travelled outside of Canada to first self-isolate and then take a few seconds to complete our new online assessment tool,” Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, said in a statement.

“This easy-to-use tool, developed with guidance from Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, is a great first step in that process. By answering a few questions, Ontarians will be able to make informed choices about what to do, while the province collects real-time data to enhance our ongoing response.”

Last week, the province said they are “rapidly expanding” service capacity to ensure timely responses and has increased Telehealth’s line capacity to more than 2,000 to help manage the high daily call volume.

In some cases, based on the virtual assessment, individuals may be referred by their primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario to one of the province’s 58 assessment centres for an in-person assessment. The centres are done by referral only, but have been implemented to relieve the pressures on hospital emergency departments.

There are seven assessment centres located just in the GTA.

Over the weekend, the federal government also launched a similar enhanced online assessment tool.

According to Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, 280,000 Canadians have used it so far.

As of March 23, there are 489 confirmed cases in Ontario with eight resolved and six reported deaths.