While we don’t know precisely how many people in Ontario currently have COVID-19 due to testing thresholds, the province has seen a surge of the virus, wastewater signal estimates show.

But how do you know if you have contracted COVID-19 in the province’s sixth wave? Here’s a refresher on what symptoms to look for and what to do next.

Signs and symptoms

Expecting to lose your sense of smell and taste as a first sign of having the virus? This previously common symptom doesn’t seem to present as often with Omicron and its subvariant, studies show. Experts have expressed that this variant seem to mimic a cold or the flu.

Look for:

  • A sore throat
  • A runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Feeling very fatigued or weak
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches
  • Gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

Symptoms can present differently in different people, the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health report shows.

How to get tested

With limited PCR testing available to the general public, confirming that you’ve contracted COVID-19 is more difficult than prior waves. However, the Ontario government has made at-home testing through rapid antigen tests free to access.

You can pick up a box of five tests from some independent pharmacies, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, and most grocery stores. To find a supplier near you, the province’s locator tool can be accessed here.

It is important to note that some may test negative on a rapid test despite having the virus. If you’re symptomatic and suspect you have COVID-19, it’s recommended that you stay home (if possible.)


If you test positive for the virus, you will need to isolate at home.

The time period for this varies in Ontario depending on your vaccination status. Isolation follows either the onset of your symptoms or a positive test result, whichever comes first. You can leave isolation provided your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.

If you are fully vaccinated or a child under the age of 12:

  • You must isolate for five days.

If you are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, hospitalized with COVID or residing in a high-risk setting:

  • You must isolate for 10 days.

If you are severely ill or an ICU patient:

  • You must isolate for 20 days.

Take note that the day of your positive test or symptoms counts as day zero, and your isolation counter begins the following day.

How long does the virus last?

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to say. Like symptoms, the length of time one might suffer from COVID-19 varies between individuals and could depend on your vaccination status, age or other factors which increase risk.

If you’re worried about long COVID, there is some hope: evidence is growing that many of those who suffer at length from symptoms will eventually recover.

Jenna Moon is a general assignment reporter for the Star and is based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @_jennamoon