What is COVID-19

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a coronavirus related to the common cold virus. Those affected by COVID-19 can exhibit symptoms ranging from mild to severe, similar to the cold and flu, such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing. They can also experience nausea and diarrhea. In some cases, those who have COVID-19 may show no symptoms. In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 we have all been asked to social distance.  Social (physical) distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with.  This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Here are some common reactions you or people you know may be experiencing:

  • Worry, anxiety and fear of the unknown in general.
  • Financial concerns and fears.
  • Anxiety/fears around your health or the health of your loved ones.
  • Feelings of being “on edge” – irritable, cranky or short with people.
  • Feelings of being low – hopeless, sad, apathetic (just don’t care).
  • Feelings of being detached or things feel surreal.
  • Wrestling with feelings – “do I visit grandma?”
  • You are not alone. The feeling of stress and anxiety is a totally normal reaction amidst
  • the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It’s ok to grieve things that you miss, and feel anxiety over the unknown.
  • Video: Taking Care of your Mental Health During The COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Mental Health Apps

How to Cope:

Limit news consumption to reliable sources
  • It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19 from trusted resources, but too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. Try balancing time spent on news and social media with other activities unrelated to quarantine or isolation, such as reading, listening to music or learning a new language.
Create and follow a daily routine
  • Maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning and fun, even if they must be executed remotely.
Stay virtually connected with others.
  • Your face-to-face interactions may be limited, but try using phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media to access social support networks. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, use these conversations as an opportunity to discuss your experience and feelings and emotions. Reach out to those you know who are in a similar situation. Facebook groups have already formed to facilitate communication and support among individuals asked to quarantine.  Some local FB groups: CareMongering Barrie, Barrie Families Unite.   Don’t forget your pets – Relying on pets for emotional support is another way to stay connected and loved.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

  • Get enough sleep, eat well and exercise in your home when you are physically capable of doing so. Try to limit/avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the stresses of isolation and quarantine. Set up a routine – Routines provide predictability and can be very supportive for those struggling to cope. Along with physical activity make sure you include self-care and creativity into your routine.
Use some basic strategies to manage stress and stay positive
  • Calm breathing. When you’re anxious, your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Try deliberately slowing down your breathing, and breath through your diaphragm.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. Find a quiet location. Close your eyes and slowly tense and then relax each of your muscle groups from your toes to your head. Hold the tension for three seconds and then release quickly. This can help reduce the feelings of muscle tension that often comes with anxiety.
  • Stay present in the moment. Anxiety can make your thoughts live in a stressful future that hasn’t happened. Try to bring yourself back to where you are. Practising mindfulness can help.
  • Challenge your negative self-talk. How you think affects how you feel. Anxiety can make you overestimate the danger in a situation and underestimate your ability to handle it. Try to think of different interpretations of the situation that’s making you anxious, rather than jumping to the worst-case scenario. Look at the facts for and against your thought being true.
  • Plan worry time. It’s hard to stop worrying entirely so set aside some time to indulge your worries. Even 10 minutes each evening to write them down or go over them in your head can help stop your worries from taking over at other times.
  • Get to know your anxiety. Keep a diary of when it’s at its best – and worst. Find the patterns and plan your week – or day – to proactively manage your anxiety. Keep a gratitude/positivity journal and watch your mood approve.
  • Learn from others. Talking with others who also experience anxiety – or are going through something similar – can help you feel less alone.Download smartphone apps for mindfulness and relaxation exercises.
  • Be kind to yourself. Practice self-care.  Download smartphone apps for mindfulness and relaxation exercises. Remember to focus on the why of social distancing.  By doing this you are reducing the possibility of transmitting COVID-19 and protecting those who are most vulnerable.

Here are some resources that you can use, or share with a loved one, that can help us all get through it:

Self-Help Online Supports:

Key ways to maintain your own mental health and promote the mental health of those around you: Self Care and Resilience:

During this time our sense of well-being and balance may be affected, we might forget to take care of ourselves or we might look for quick fixes or solutions to problems. Building self-care into your daily or weekly routine can greatly improve resilience and reduce anxiety.

Talking to Children about COVID-19:
Here are some helpful links to keep you in the loop and aware of any updates related to our basic needs and health:

Government Services/Supports:


Useful #’s

Additional Info

Community Supports/Programs

  • 211 Ontario
  • Barrie Food Bank 705-725-1818
  • Barrie Walk-In-Clinic
  • Big Brother’s Big Sister’s 705-728-0515
  • Busby Centre 705-739-6916 has moved operations temporarily into a local motel for the most vulnerable as well as providing tent, tarps and sleeping gear for those who are living rough.  Busby centre continues to bring food to locations through their outreach services.  Busby Centre will be increasing their outreach efforts in the coming days.
  • Catholic Family Services offices will be closed until April 3, 2020.  Closure includes all walk-in clinics, scheduled appointments, groups and workshops across all locations in Simcoe Muskoka. ** Partner Assault Response (PAR) program exception: Throughout this closure, CFSSC will provide telephone support to partners. To receive a support call, please leave a message at 1-888-726-2503, extension 123. This telephone line will be monitored daily (Monday to Friday).
    • ** Active Counselling Clients program exception: Throughout this closure, CFSSC will provide telephone support to clients currently working with a clinician. To receive a support call, please leave a message on the voice mail of your clinician.  Telephone lines will be monitored daily (Monday to Friday).
  • Catulpa Community Support Services 705-733-3227 Programs or services that involve face to face meetings are canceled at this time (eg – resources days, mother care).  Catulpa workers are working from home – phoning/skyping (if available) with clients.
  • CMHA : CMHA Simcoe County Branch has suspended all Face to Face service provisions, exceptions may fall under provisions provided by essential services such as the Assertive Community Treatment Teams and Early Psychosis Intervention. All Non-Face to Face service provisions will either be done by secured email, voice, text and/or OTN/Virtual option.
  • Cover Health OHIP Covered – Virtual Walk In Clinic
  • Dial-a-doc OHIP Covered physician phone in appointments
  • Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services Our 1-844-523-2237 main line remains open 24/7 to take calls. We will respond if you need to reach us. Our CAS partners continue to provide after-hours service, should you have an urgent matter after the hours of 8:30-430 please your regional Children’s Aid Society.
  • Elizabeth Fry Society – Shelter temporarily relocated to the Comfort Inn, 210 Essa Road – Office Located in
    • Room # 331 * you must call first – 705-715-1052
  • Empower Simcoe 705-726-9082 including Early On Centre
  • Gilbert Centre 705-722-6778 Centre is currently closed. Harm reduction supplies will be distributed in the community through our street outreach. To reach our Harm Reduction team, call or text Sarah (705) 816-3493, or Sue (249) 535-0570. Email: info@gilbertcentre.ca
  • Huronia Urgent Care 705 792 0933
  • John Howard Society (705) 733-0683
  • Kerry’s Place – Autism Supports
  • Kinark Central Intake; 1-888-454-6275.
  • LEAP Fund
  • Methadone Clinics – call ahead – OPEN – some services/hrs may have changed
  • Newpath Local: 725.7656 Toll Free: 1.866.566.7656 Email: info@newpath.ca  Services will be delivered by telephone only.  If you are coming to a Walk-In-Clinic, please call and a counsellor will contact you to book an appointment by telephone.
  • RVH NON EMERGENCY LINE- 705 728 9802
RVH RAAM Clinic 705-797-3095 Currently operational/counselling support by phone, not currently accepting walk ins
  • RVH Withdrawal Management – currently closed until further notice
  • RVH Medication Clinic will take place at the RAAM clinic
  • RVH Psychiatry Appointments – currently ongoing – by phone
  • CTO – continued service – no changes
  • RVH MH Day program – suspended at this time with possible plans to conduct groups by OTN
  • CARAH House – Currently not accepting guests at this time 705-728-5044/1-888-893-8333
  • Salvation Army Bayside Mission 705-728-3737 Currently closed to the public, beds are full and mission is not receiving new guests. Mission will reassess guests each Monday.  Mission continues to give out meals (packaged-take out) at 12pm and 5 pm daily
  • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions (Children’s Aid Society) 1 800-461-4236 Offices in Barrie, Bracebridge, Collingwood, Huntsville, Midland and Orillia will be CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC until April 4, 2020 .  Reporting line still operational
  • St Vincent Du Paul – Answering Machine 705-722-0753
  • Telehealth- 1 866 797 0000
  • Women & Children’s Centre of Barrie 705-728-6300 We encourage women to continue to call our crisis line (705.728.2544) to receive counseling and safety planning support.
  • United Way
  • Youth Haven Members of the public who wish to donate to Youth Haven to call us first at 705-739-7616 to arrange a time to drop off donations.