While COVID-19 has impacted all of us, there are individuals who may be at a greater risk of poor health from COVID-19 due to factors such as age, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, existing health conditions, ability, income, transportation, social isolation, or difficulty accessing culturally appropriate health services. This section is for individuals who may need extra support and also for the agencies and caregivers who provide support to individuals at risk during COVID-19.

Continue to check the Government of Canada and Ontario websites as these provide updated information on funding for individuals negatively impacted and who require extra support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are people who smoke or vape/use e-cigarettes at a higher risk for COVID-19?

If you smoke, vape, or use e-cigarettes, you may be at more risk of serious outcomes of COVID-19. Smoking, vaping or using e-cigarettes, can harm your lungs and weaken your immune system’s ability to fight respiratory infections like COVID-19.

Everyone’s quit experience is different so if now is your time, get the supports you need at Smoker’s Helpline.ca and also find out what local supports are available. 

It’s also important to continue to follow public health guidelines for preventing COVID-19 infection such as: avoiding smoking or vaping in groups, washing your hands before and after smoking or vaping, and not not sharing products/devices. You can also remember to keep your distance from others, and respect the areas where you can’t smoke or vape under the law. This includes buffer areas around patios, sport areas, and other zones.

What should caregivers or people with physical disabilities or intellectual disabilities consider during the COVID-19 pandemic?

During the COVID-19 pandemic we are all experiencing hardships with our daily routines. For some of us there are physical and intellectual limitations that make the COVID-19 pandemic even more stressful. It’s important that we take care of ourselves and our loved ones during this challenging time. Watch this short video for more information on how to keep our loved ones safe.

To help understand other hardships experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic view this short video with Dr. Sudit Ranade Medical Officer of Health, discussing the COVID-19 pandemic with Dan Edwards, motivational speaker.

For additional information about the resources available in Lambton County visit:
Lambton County Developmental Services
Community Living Sarnia-Lambton
Pathways Health Centre for Children
Ontario Disability Support Program (Sarnia)
Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities


How can I keep myself and community members safe while volunteering?

Lambton County has seen an outpouring of support from people across the county wanting to help those in need during COVID-19. While this is appreciated, Lambton Public Health wants to make sure volunteers and community members are safe.

The Government of Ontario is partnering with SPARK Ontario to coordinate local volunteers to help seniors and the most vulnerable as they self-isolate during the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you are volunteering for an organization or more informally at a neighbourhood level, such as delivering groceries to an elderly neighbour, follow the below recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

• If you are in the at risk category, please consider your own health before volunteering.
• Ensure to practice physical distancing (at least 2 metres apart).
• Protect yourself and your family from becoming ill.
• If you have any symptoms of illness, or have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms use the online COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool and do not interact with any vulnerable members of your community.

Volunteering with Community Organizations
Volunteers helping community organizations keep normal services running. Follow the above recommendations.

Volunteering Informally in Your Community
If you wish to volunteer consider the following:

• Contact the person you are trying to help in a safe way (for example, phone call, text message, drop a note into their door with your name and phone number), and let them know that you are available and can assist with shopping, etc.
• If someone has asked you to help them, do not enter their home unless absolutely necessary. If you enter their home, wear a mask while inside their home and wash your hands before entering and after leaving their home.
• If you are dropping off shopping or a prescription, etc., simply call and let them know when you are dropping items off at their door. If face to face contact is necessary, remember to practice physical distancing.

Where do I find information about COVID-19 for Newcomers, Immigrants and Refugees?

The YMCA Learning and Career Centre is offering virtual services to all newcomers in the Sarnia-Lambton Community.

How people can protect themselves and what to do if they think they have contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus. The information sheet is available in multiple languages.

Where can I find information for First Nation, Inuit and Metis people in Lambton County?

First check with local healers and elders in your community. There are 3 health centres in Lambton County you may wish to contact for information related to COVID-19:

1. E’Mino Bmaad-Zijig Gamig (Aamjiwnaang Health Centre)
2. Kettle & Stony Point Health Services
3. The Walpole Island Health Centre

You can also contact the Native Friendship Centre in Sarnia at 519-344-6164 or email info@slnfc.org.


The Government of Canada has released information to support First Nation and Inuit people in preparing, monitoring and responding to COVID-19.

Access information sheets in other languages, including some Indigenous languages, that will tell you how to protect yourself from the novel coronavirus and what to do if you think you have COVID-19.

Can I receive health-care if I haven’t received OHIP benefits yet?

Ontario is waiving the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage. Additionally, the province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage. Together, these measures will ensure that no one will be discouraged from seeking screening or treatment for COVID-19 for financial reasons. Keep updated about ongoing changes that the Ontario government is making.

Where do I access income support during COVID-19?

Social Services in Lambton County is the initial point of contact for persons requiring assistance to cover the costs of basic needs such as food or shelter. Learn more about the supports available in Lambton County.

Social Services is also available to provide assistance in applying for Ontario Works and referrals to all other social services.  

• They are open by appointment only, by telephone or by email. For inquiries please call 519-344-2057 or email socialservices@county-lambton.on.ca 

Find financial help during COVID-19 from federal, provincial and territorial benefits programs, such as:

• Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), 
• Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), 
• Canada Child Benefit top-up,
• Mortgage deferrals and student loan deferrals.

Answer a few simple questions to create a personalized list of financial benefits that could be available based on your specific circumstances.

Difficulties accessing food and medications?

Why leave home? Check the link for a list of grocery stores and pharmacies that offer shopping and home delivery.

If you require medications, plan ahead. Check to see if you can obtain a larger supply of your medication if safe and consult with your pharmacy for home delivery options.

Garden Fresh Box is a low cost food purchasing program with pickup sites throughout Lambton County. The Garden Fresh Box Program continues to accept orders. For a location near you, call LPH at 519-383-8331 ext. 3111.

Meals on Wheels offers nutritious meals delivered as frozen entrees, soups and desserts and are available for delivery throughout rural Lambton County.

Food Banks largely continue to be open. Find a food bank near you to reach out and learn about extra precautions they may be taking.


The Inn of the Good Shepherd is also offering their Mobile Market with COVID-19 friendly modifications. Learn more about the precautions and to find the location nearest you.

Where can I find mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Humans are social. Even though quarantine and isolation are helping keep others safe, it can still be challenging. We may experience a variety of emotions such as fear, guilt, anger, frustration, or even relief. Sleep may also be difficult. Here are some ways you can stay mentally healthy during this time: 

• Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Seek credible information from Lambton Public Health and other public health sources and limit it to a few times a day. 

• Learn ways to build your resiliency: check out Wellness Together, Canada’s new mental health and addictions portal or CAMH’s COVID-19 specific website with a ready-made list of coping strategies.

• Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs to cope. The World Health Organization is sharing strategies about staying healthy while at home and encouraging people to use #HealthyAtHome to share their ideas on social media.

• Make time to unwind. Keeping a schedule can be helpful but don’t forget to do things you enjoy or try something new! Check out the electronic Lambton County Library services still available such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, and more.  

• Connect with others. Physical distancing doesn’t mean disconnected. Get creative! There are tons of ways to connect with people online, by phone, or regular mail.

If you think you need to talk to a professional then please reach out to the supports listed below. There is also this fact sheet for province-wide resources.

24/7 Mental Health and Addiction Services

• Mental Health First Response Line – 519-336-3445 or 1-800-307-4319
• Distress Line – 519-336-3000 or 1-888-347-8737
• Kids Help Phone (under 20 years old) – 1-888-668-6868www.kidshelpphone.ca
• Good 2 Talk (17-25 years old) – 1-866-925-5454www.good2talk.ca
• Connex Addiction, Mental Health and Gambling Helpline – 1-866-531-2600ConnexOntario.ca
• Concerned about abuse?  Services are still available for those needing support.
• Crisis Text Line – www.crisistextline.ca
• Hope for Wellness First Nation and Inuit Helpline – 1-855-242-3310 or www.hopeforwellness.ca
• Get help withdrawing with drug or alcohol use by calling Bluewater Health Community Withdrawal Management at 519-332-4673.

Grief does not take a break. St. Joseph’s Hospice continues to be a resource from a distance. For more information about grief and Hospice grief supports, go to www.stjosephshospice.ca or call 519-337-0537.


How can I reach out for more help?

For some of us, we may need extra help to manage better.  There are lots of ways that people can stay connected or receive mental health supports despite the changes to services.

Tel-Check can provide regular phone calls to seniors, people with disabilities and people who may live alone or with their families/caregivers; a safety check-in and a reassurance call to ensure that the person is not in need of any assistance; emotional and listening support, & medication reminders.

Lambton County Connects is a free phone based program and an ideal way for isolated community members to stay connected and participate in social activities with others.

The Ontario Caregiver Association offers free resources, a helpline, and live chat for those caring for loved ones.  They also have a collection of COVID-19 specific tips and resources for caregivers during this challenging time.

Young people may be having an especially challenging experience right now.  For more information on how to help children and youth during COVID-19, go to our Parents & Caregivers section. St. Clair Child & Youth Services continue to offer counselling and consultation services over the phone for folks 0-18 years old.

Where can I find housing supports for owners, renters and landlords?

County of Lambton Housing – access information through the link or contact 519-344-2062 ext.2200. Non-essential office visits have been cancelled.

Guidance for providers of services for people experiencing homelessness (in the context of COVID-19) – Government of Canada

Read this factsheet for more information about protecting yourself and others in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings.

Learn about changes to rental and eviction processes during COVID-19.

For tenants who live in Lambton County and have any tenancy-related issues (e.g., eviction, owe rent, unit needs repairs, harassment by landlord), please call Community Legal Assistance Sarnia 519-332-8055 or 1-888-916-2527.

Can I use taxis, ride shares, or public transportation during the COVID 19 pandemic?

Find more information about what Lambton Public Health recommends for using taxis, ride shares, and public transportation.

Can I still get harm reduction supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes this is an essential service. Please visit Lambton Public Health (160 Exmouth street, Point Edward, ON) at the North entrance and ring the doorbell. If you are in the County you can receive your supplies from North Lambton Community Health Centre (NLCHC). Information about harm reduction program can be found on the Lambton Public Health Harm Reduction Program web page.

What are some healthy coping strategies I can use to avoid using more drugs or alcohol?

It is important to practice healthy behaviours to help you cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Checkout this great resource from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) for 6 ways to cope in a healthy way and how to stay safe if you choose to use substances. For more information about coping with isolation and finding professional help, see the other FAQs on this page.

Where can I access healthcare for urgent medical needs other than the hospital?

First contact your Healthcare Provider to see if they are offering telephone or virtual visits.

Other available options:

Rapids Family Health Team Access to Care Centre continues to be open for episodic medical conditions (e.g., urinary tract infections, ear aches, rashes, etc.). If a patient is unwell and can’t get in touch with their primary care provider, they can access care during the following hours:
Monday thru Thursday 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
CALL 519-491-6188

Good Doctors Clinics 
Patients can now visit with a doctor by calling (888) 930-6571 OR texting (705) 910-7799. Most common issues can be resolved directly through a phone or video call with a doctor from home.

Wiltshire Walk-In Clinic
Patients who would like to check-in to our walk-in clinic, please stay home and TEXT (519) 491-1922 with your name with the best phone number to reach you and we will contact you shortly when your turn is up.

MD Connected
Virtual appointments are now available to ALL residents of Ontario. Connect to a doctor from the comfort of home through the MD Connected app. It is available for download on Google Play or Apple Store with an invite from MD Connected. Visits can also be completed through a secure online portal.
Now Extended Hours:
8am – Midnight, 7 days a week

Our OHIP-covered virtual services have been expanded to include: 
• COVID-19 Screening
• Dermatologist Consultation
• Pediatrician Consultation
• Mental Health Consultation
• Medical Cannabis Consultation
• HIV PrEP and PEP Consultation
• Ketamine Therapy for Depression

Dial-A-Doc
Dial-A-Doc provides OHIP covered phone appointments with Ontario doctors for various medical services to those who do not have a family doctor available. Prescriptions will be faxed to your local pharmacy

More information for healthcare providers.

Resources

Income – Benefits & Services

Food

Housing

Get connected

Mental Health

Prevention

Ask a Question

Fill out the form below if you have a question about COVID-19 and vulnerable populations.