For more information, see the Situation of the coronavirus (COVID‑19) in Québec page.
Some viruses in the coronavirus family cause disease in animals, while others cause disease in humans. Coronaviruses that cause disease in humans can be spread by close contact between people. In rare cases, coronaviruses that infect animals can also infect people. Like SARS‑CoV‑2, the virus responsible for COVID‑19, two other coronaviruses are spread from animals to humans and cause or have caused serious disease in humans, namely, SARS‑CoV in 2003 and MERS‑CoV since 2012.
Symptoms and treatment
The main symptoms of COVID‑19 are as follows:
- in children: 38°C (100.4°F) and above (rectal 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;
- 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.
Some people can spread the virus without knowing it because they have no symptoms or have not yet developed them.
People most at risk of dying from complications are those:
- with a weak immune system;
- with a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart, lung and kidney disease;
- age 70 and older.
However, the risk of death is highest for people aged 70 and older.
Development of symptoms
Québec residents who develop symptoms must contact 1 877 644‑4545. As needed, the caseworker will tell them what institution to visit for a check-up. If a consultation is required, it is important for residents to inform the health care facility about their travel history before they go to the facility so that the necessary preventive measures can be taken. Resident can also assess their symptoms using the COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool on the Government of Canada website.
Québec’s COVID-19 testing strategy takes each region’s specific situation into account. The number of tests available in each region is calculated based on population size but also on the level of community transmission observed there.
Designated screening clinics, designated assessment clinics and mobile clinics have been set up to ensure that people who need a test based on the indications established by public health will be able to get one.
Regions with a higher level of community transmission
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 region’s integrated health and social services centre (centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux – CISSS) or integrated university health and social services centre (centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux – CIUSSS) to find out where to go and how to arrange to get a diagnostic test. They can also call 1 877 644-4545 to be referred, if necessary, to the appropriate resource.
For the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal and CIUSSS du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, consult the Santé Montréal Portal .
For the CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest, CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre and CISSS de la Montérégie-Est, consult the Santé Montérégie Portal (in French only).
CISSS de Lanaudière (in French only)
CISSS des Laurentides (in French only)
Other regions of Québec
People who live in other regions of Québec who have COVID-19–like symptoms must call 1 877 644-4545 to be referred, if necessary, to the appropriate resource.
Stress, anxiety and depression
In the context of a pandemic, many people will experience stress, anxiety and depression reactions. To help you minimize the repercussions of these kinds of reactions on your life, see the Stress, Anxiety and Depression Associated With the Coronavirus COVID‑19 Disease.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Supportive treatment may, however, be provided.
Most people with COVID-19 will recover on their own.
Modes of transmission
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. This means that you can contract a coronavirus by touching your mouth, nose or eyes after contact with an infected person or surface. While it can be spread by contaminated objects or surfaces, this is not the main mode of transmission. The virus can also be spread through an infected person’s stool.
The exact mode of transmission of COVID‑19 is unknown at this time. However, a person with COVID‑19 is thought to be contagious from 48 hours before their symptoms appear. Studies are ongoing.
In general, coronaviruses 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.
In Québec, there is no evidence to suggest that people are at risk of contracting COVID‑19 from animals or animal products.
Health recommendations for everyone
Anyone who has visited any public must monitor themselves for symptoms and follow health recommendations :
- Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
- Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette:
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
- If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
- If you are sick, avoid contact with more vulnerable people, including older adults and people with a weak immune system or a chronic disease.
- Avoid direct contact when you greet someone, such as shaking hands, and use alternative ways to greet people.
- If you must go out, stay at least 2 meters (around 6 feet) away from people who do not live in your household.
For hygienic measures to adopt when you go to the grocery store, see the video (in French, subtitled in English).
To find out the health measures to follow during a move, consult the document COVID-19: Good Health Practices to Follow During a Move .
Every individual has their part to play to reduce the risk of spreading viruses. See the Preventing transmission of viruses and bacteria.
If you are worried or anxious about the coronavirus, you can contact the toll-free line 1 877 644-4545. To help you minimize the repercussions of these kinds of reactions on your life, see the Stress, Anxiety and Depression Associated With the Coronavirus COVID-19 Disease.
Posters showing the 5 main health recommendations are available in many languages.
Wearing a face covering in public
Wearing a face covering in public is strongly recommended especially when physical distancing is not possible, such as when you go to the grocery store or take public transit. When you wear a face covering in public, you must also follow other safety measures, such as hygiene and physical distancing measures (2 meters).
If you are sick, stay home. If you have to go to a clinic or to hospital, wear your face covering until you are given a procedure mask.
Children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, has a disability or is unable to remove their face covering without assistance should not wear a face covering.