What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, July 16

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

A man runs down Wellington Street in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Recent developments:

  • Ontario enters Stage 3 of its reopening plan tomorrow.
  • Quebec's Health minister is considering closing bars after the province saw a surge in new cases.
  • The federal government will pay $19 billion to provinces and territories to help with reopening economies and a potential second wave of the virus. 
  • Ottawa Public Health is reporting 15 new COVID-19 cases Thursday.

What's the latest?

Eastern Ontario moves to Stage 3 of the province's phased reopening plan tomorrow, allowing for larger gatherings and more indoor activities.

Ottawa confirmed late Wednesday it's reopening playgrounds and allowing outdoor competitive team sports, while reminding residents to keep their distance whenever possible. 

Child-care centres can look after 15 kids starting July 27, up from the current limit of 10.

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The wait-list for elective eye surgery in Ottawa could balloon to thousands of people if the city's main treatment centre doesn't reopen soon, according to one of its doctors.

The federal government will provide $19 billion to the provinces and territories to help fund a "safe restart" of the Canadian economy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today.

How many cases are there?

There have been another 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa for a total of 2,182 since the pandemic began, according to the latest report from Ottawa Public Health. The number of deaths remains at 263. The vast majority of cases in the city, 1,846, are classified as resolved.

Gatineau has reported a total of 542 cases.

Public health officials have reported more than 3,500 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, of more than 3,000 are resolved.



Kingston, which saw a spike in new cases in late June mainly related to a nail salon, hasn't reported a new case of COVID-19 since July 5.

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

The last coronavirus-related death in the region was June 25, according to its health units.

What's open and closed?

Quebec now allows indoor, distanced gatherings of up to 50 people, including in places of worship and indoor sports venues, and has relaxed rules at daycares.

Closing time for ByWard Market patios is moving up an hour tomorrow.

The National Gallery of Canada will reopen Thursdays to Sundays, starting this Saturday and Sunday with free admission. Quebec offices can start to welcome some workers back as of Saturday.

Gatineau plans to open more sports facilities next week. Indoor visits will be allowed again at Ontario's long-term care homes as of Wednesday.

Quebec's back-to-school plans bring older students to classrooms again. Ontario has put three options for next school year on the table, while post-secondary schools are moving toward more online classes in September.

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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 and in Ontario, staying at least two metres away from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle.

Michael Charles Smith wears a pandemic-themed shirt as he waits for a bus on Ottawa's Richmond Road July 15, 2020. (doug hamilton)

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

Masks are now mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario, and will be mandatory in Quebec as of Saturday.

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.

More than a dozen blocks of Bank Street in downtown Ottawa are being closed to vehicles on Saturdays this summer to allow more space for pedestrians and businesses. (Joseph Tunney/CBC)

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 individuals who have weakened immune systems and Ottawa Public Health 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.

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

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

Others in AlexandriaRockland and Cornwall require an appointment.

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In Kingstonthe Leon's Centre is now hosting its test site. Find it at Gate 2.

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

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.

Young paddlers make their way along the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, Ont. on July 9, 2020. Daytime highs are expected to be around 30 C until Tuesday, not counting the humidity. (Sean Kilpatrick/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.

Renfrew County is also providing pop-up 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 should call 1-877-644-4545 if they have symptoms for further assistance, which can include an appointment for a test.

First Nations:

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

Akwesasne has opened a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to Akwesasne who's been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

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.

Both councils plan to start up more services next week, though Akwesasne is not opening sports facilities yet.

Pikwakanagan resumed more services July 13.

Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time.

For more information

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