What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, Aug. 1

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

People ride electric unicycles on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa Public Health reported 17 new cases Saturday.
  • There are 124 new cases across Ontario.
  • An employee at a city-run summer camp has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Realtors say COVID-19 has sparked a wave of buyers looking for cottages.
  • A high school science teacher who contributed to SickKids's recommendations on allowing children to return to the classroom says Ontario's back-to-school plan is unnecessarily risky. 
  • Ontario has issued stricter rules for bars and restaurants that will require them to keep client logs for 30 days to support contact tracing.

What's the latest?

Ottawa has 17 new cases of COVID-19, according to Ottawa Public Health. The latest number is a continuation of the city's double-digit trend of new, confirmed cases since July 18. 

On Saturday, the City of Ottawa reported a summer camp employee at the Foster Farm Community Centre tested positive for COVID-19. The person last worked Wednesday and is self-isolating at home. Staff and children who were in close contact with the employee are being kept away from the camp for 14 days.

Realtors in the Ottawa area say they are seeing a spike in demand for nearby holiday homes in a time when air and international travel is perceived as a risky proposition.

In places such as Dunrobin and Buckham's Bay, beautiful properties that just sat on the market for months because of economic trepidation or fear of flooding were snapped up in June, said one agent.

Ontario is tightening the rules for bars and restaurants operating during the pandemic. Business owners are being asked to keep a record of their clients for 30 days to facilitate contact tracing. Patrons are required to stay seated at all times, whether indoors or outdoors, with limited exceptions.

A high school science teacher who contributed to SickKids's recommendations on allowing children to return to the classroom this fall says that Ontario's back-to-school plan is unnecessarily risky.

There is nothing that can "compare the risk of returning to school with any risk that we have right now," Ryan Imgrund told CBC from his home in York region, pointing out there are more precautions around going to bars than to class.

The COVID Alert app is seen on an iPhone in Ottawa, on Friday, July 31, 2020. The app tracks the locations of phones relative to other phones, and notifies users if they have been in proximity to another app user who has tested positive for COVID-19. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

How many cases are there?

There have been 2,539 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the pandemic began. The number of deaths is at 264, with the first in more than a month announced Tuesday. The person who died was in their 40s.

The majority of cases in the city —2,025 — are classified as resolved.

In all, public health officials have reported nearly 3,900 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, and nearly 3,200 are resolved.


COVID-19 has killed 102 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 17 in other parts of eastern Ontario and 33 in the Outaouais.

What's open and closed?

Ottawa is now in Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan, which means many more businesses are allowed to reopen, including dine-in restaurants and movie theatres.

Quebec has similar rules, with its distanced gathering cap going up to 250 people in public venues next week. 

More national museums open to the public next month, starting with the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum on Saturday.

Patrons at Beyond the Pale Brewing Company in Ottawa sit on the outdoor patio on July 16. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Elementary students in Ontario will be heading back to school full time come September, while most high school students will split their time between the classroom and online learning. 

Quebec's back-to-school plans will bring students to classrooms again this fall.

Distancing and isolating

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.

That means physical distancing measures such as working from home, meeting others outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle, including when you have a mask on.

Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 are now allowed in Ontario. People should still keep their distance from people not in their circle.

Masks are now mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, where transit officials and taxi drivers are now required to bar access to users over age 12 who refuse to wear a mask.

Masks are recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.

Ottawa's medical officer of health said in mid-July people should be ready for COVID-19 social restrictions well into 2021 or 2022.

Anyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.

Specifically in Ottawa, anyone waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate at least until they know the result.

The same goes for anyone in Ontario who's been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for people with weakened immune systems and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. 

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pinkeye. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested at one of three sites.

Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

Testing has also expanded for local residents and employees who work in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area.

There is a drive-thru centre in Casselman that can handle 200 tests a day and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.

Others in Alexandria, Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.

In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is now hosting the city's test site. Find it at Gate 2.

Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call for an appointment.

People arrive in atrium of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa on July 18, 2020, its first day reopened to the public after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it, their family doctor or Telehealth if they have symptoms or questions.

You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre and in Picton by texting or calling.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.

It has a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.

Renfrew County is providing pop-up testing in five communities this week and home testing under some circumstances.

Residents should call their family doctor and those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 to register for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.

In western Quebec:

Outaouais residents now can get a walk-in test in Gatineau five days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond and at recurring clinics in communities such as Maniwaki, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions or to make an appointment.

A runner makes his way up a painted flight of stairs in Ottawa on Thursday, July 30, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

First Nations:

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

Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Ten of them are active as of Monday, most linked back to a gathering on an island with a non-resident who wasn't showing symptoms at the time.

It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. It's 100 miles or 160 kilometres away on the American side.

Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. Face coverings are now mandatory in its public buildings.

People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259.

Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time. It plans on starting to open schools and daycares next month.

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