Ottawa

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 21

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s chief coroner, says the normal process for holding funerals has been upended amid the pandemic, with families being asked to make much faster decisions than they otherwise would. 1:36

Recent developments:

  • New information from Ottawa Public Health shows 14 of the city's 25 COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term care homes.
  • Ottawa has 42 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, with no new deaths.
  • Ottawa's Youth Services Bureau and CHEO are opening an eight-bedroom centre for vulnerable people ages 16 to 21 to isolate.
  • Visit our frequently updated Facebook page for some feel-good local stories. 

What's happening today?

Ontario says there's a scenario where its outbreak has peaked. Ottawa isn't ready to say the same. The question of when Canadians will be through the worst of the pandemic is being asked across the country.

Ontario's chief coroner is making sweeping changes to how hospitals and funeral homes deal with the dead, in part to speed up processing times and avoid overwhelming the system.

WATCH: Ontario's chief coroner 'saddened' by COVID-19 changes

Vera Etches, Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health, says there’s limited evidence for a peak in COVID-19 cases in the city, though the rate of hospitalizations is not increasing. 0:50

The City of Ottawa is considering buying a hotel to give vulnerable people shelter during and after the pandemic, but that hinges on other levels of government pitching in.

CBC Ottawa is launching a new live Q&A series called COVID Questions Answered on Wednesday mornings, starting tomorrow with a financial expert.

How many cases are there?

There are now 899 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and more than 1,575 in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

The deaths of 37 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 25 in Ottawa and three more in the wider region have also been tied to COVID-19. 

From what we know, nearly 575 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.

WATCH: Why Ottawa's top doctor can't say the city has peaked

Summer job prospects are taking a hit amid the pandemic, with some students worried about the possibility of trying to pay tuition without the boon of summer income. Lily Akagbosu, president of Carleton University’s students association, University of Ottawa student Chris Wright, and Queen’s University student Shane Weston spoke to CBC News. 2:14

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.

Parliament Hill's Peace Tower and the National War Memorial are reflected in a window at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, in front of a digital screen displaying an image of a rainbow with the message "Everything will be okay," in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday, April 19, 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

Waste collection is delayed for some Ottawa neighbourhoods this week because a city-contracted worker tested positive for COVID-19.

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: Tuition money in short supply

The City of Ottawa has announced an extra $11 million in funding for the city’s social services during the pandemic, money that Coun. Jenna Sudds says will allow the shelter system to expand and make physical distancing easier for clients. 0:37

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: How Ottawa is stepping up support for the homeless

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.

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.

People walk and run along Queen Elizabeth Drive in Ottawa as it is closed to motor vehicle traffic to allow people to get outdoors while practicing physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, on Saturday, April 18, 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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