What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, April 20

CBC Ottawa's latest roundup of key points during the coronavirus pandemic.

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

Barbara Yaffe, associate chief medical officer of health, says that even though cases of COVID-19 community spread in Ontario appear to have peaked, public health measures must remain in place. 0:56

Recent developments:

  • There have been two more deaths and 54 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, according to the city's latest update.
  • Akwesasne's health department is opening a mobile COVID-19 test site.
  • Quebec is allowing the resumption of residential construction projects that were scheduled for completion by August.
  • Need something to brighten-up your weekend? Check out our frequently updated Facebook page.

What's happening today?

New pandemic models suggest the outbreak in Ontario may be peaking earlier than expected — as long as people keep adhering to physical distancing rules.

That means the province could see fewer than 20,000 cases of COVID-19 instead of the 80,000 predicted earlier this month.

WATCH: Ontario's peak depends on actions of residents

Roger Chapman, Ottawa’s general manager of community and protective services, said the decision to issue a ticket often comes down to the history of activity in the park and whether residents continue to frequent closed basketball courts, picnic areas and benches. 1:09

Ottawa bylaw officers are again coming under fire for being overzealous in enforcing emergency rules, this time for ticketing a 17-year-old boy who was playing basketball by himself in a park.

How many cases are there?

There are now 857 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and nearly 1,500 in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

The deaths of at least 32 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 25 in Ottawa and three more in the wider region have also been tied to COVID-19.

The vast majority of the deaths are seniors. 

From what we know, more than 450 people out of that regional total have recovered, but most local health units don't share that data.

Confirmed cases represent only a fraction of the actual number because of limited testing.

Distancing and isolating

Physical distancing remains in effect: avoiding non-essential trips, working from home, cancelling all gatherings and staying at least two metres away from anyone you don't live with.

Anyone who has symptoms, travelled recently outside Canada or, specifically in Ottawa, is waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate for at least 14 days.

A cyclist wearing a mask rides along Queen Elizabeth Driveway in Ottawa, which has been partially closed to motor vehicle traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, on Saturday, April 18, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

In Ontario, anyone in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed to have COVID-19 must also self-isolate for 14 days.

Ontario also recommends people older than 70 and those with compromised immune systems or underlying health issues go into voluntary self-isolation. 

How daily life is changing

Passengers on domestic flights must now wear non-medical masks covering their nose and mouth.

Municipal parks are only open to walk through, provincial and national parks are closed and authorities are watching for gatherings in many communities.

Ottawa has cancelled event permits and closed many facilities until July. Quebec has asked organizers to cancel events until September.

WATCH: Ottawa bylaw's ticketing tightrope

Doctors answer viewer questions about COVID-19 including whether there’s a risk of getting vaccines that haven’t had enough testing. 3:59

Quebec has banned non-essential travel into and through the Outaouais.

Schools in Ontario and Quebec are closed until at least May and non-essential businesses should be closed. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

They range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, most commonly fever, fatigue and a dry cough.

Recently added symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose and less common symptoms such as the loss of taste or smell.

Older people, those with compromised immune systems and those with underlying medical problems are more likely to develop serious problems.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

WATCH: When could we get a vaccine?

Matthew Marchand, who has been on the road since March 5, says finding meals has been a challenge with COVID-19 restrictions in place — and a truck too big for a fast food drive-thru. 1:00

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can be contagious without having symptoms.

The germs can also spread through close, prolonged contact, such as handshaking, and via surfaces such as door handles, phones and light switches.

Where to get tested

Anyone concerned they have COVID-19 in Ontario can fill out its online assessment tool. 

There's also Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000; be prepared for wait times.

Ottawans with symptoms and who meet certain criteria can get tested at the Brewer Arena. 

It's open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You don't have to call ahead.

People with mild or moderate symptoms can also visit clinics in Bells Corners or Alta Vista weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


There are drive-thru test centres in Casselman and Hawkesbury without needing to call ahead with similarly-expanded criteria and others in Rockland, Winchester and Cornwall with a referral.

Vulnerable people can call 613-933-1375 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to ask about a home test.

The assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone with symptoms.

WATCH: The challenge of finding food for truckers

The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people only call it at 613-966-5500 if they still have questions after the province's self-assessment.

Same for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark's unit at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499.

It has testing sites by referral from a family doctor or the health unit only in Almonte and Smiths Falls, a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and a home test service for people in care or with mobility challenges.

Digital screens on the side of the National Arts Centre tell Ottawa residents that "everything will be OK" on April 19, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Renfrew County is also providing home testing under some circumstances.

Anyone who doesn't have or can't reach a family doctor can call its new primary health-care centre at 1-844-727-6404 if they have any health questions.

In western Quebec:

Outaouais residents should call 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever, whether they've travelled or not. You could be referred to Gatineau's testing centre.

If your symptoms require a trip to the ER, call ahead if you can to let them know your travel history.

First Nations communities

Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.

Akwesasne's health department is opening a mobile COVID-19 test site by appointment only. Call 613-575-2341 extension 3220 if you live in the northern part of the community and have symptoms.

Anyone returning there from farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Anyone in Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.

Pikwakanagan's new council has ordered all businesses to close.

Kitigan Zibi has postponed a June election.

For more information

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