What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, July 17

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

People sit at picnic benches and chairs placed on a street closed to car traffic in the Byward Market in Ottawa, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa Public Health reported another seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the city's total to 2,189 since the start of the pandemic. 
  • Ottawa and the rest of eastern Ontario enter Stage 3 today.
  • Playgrounds in city parks are now open for use.
  • Fitness studios, gyms, karaoke bars and dine-in restaurants can all reopen.
  • Ottawa's top doctor answers your Stage 3 questions on CBC's Ottawa Morning at 7:30 a.m. 

What's the latest?

Today marks the start of Ontario's Stage 3 reopening plan in eastern Ontario, including in Ottawa.

City playgrounds are no longer off limits, to the delight of kids, their parents and advocates for children's health

Restaurants and bars can now offer indoor service, but for some owners, today's reopening is serving up a large order of angst.

Indoor gatherings of up to 50 and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 are allowed under Stage 3, but people must continue to practise physical distancing outside their household or established social circle. 

People eat lunch at a restaurant with plastic dividers between tables, as a preventative measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, July 6, 2020. Under Stage 3, Ottawa businesses can now serve food and drinks inside. (Andre Penner/AP)

How many cases are there?

There have been another seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa for a total of 2,189 since the pandemic began, according to the latest report from Ottawa Public Health on Friday. The number of deaths remains at 263. The vast majority of cases in the city, 1,850, 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.

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What's open and closed?

Ottawa is now in Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan. Indoor, distanced gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, as they are in Quebec, and gatherings of up to 100 people outside are permitted.

Under Stage 3, movie theatres can open, playgrounds are no longer off-limits and indoor dining in restaurants is allowed.

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.

Bar, restaurant owners worry about new COVID-19 cases as indoor reopening begins

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Scott May, owner of Bar Robo and QBar, says bars and restaurants are facing a huge challenge when it comes to keeping patrons safe and avoiding a rise in COVID-19 cases as Ontario enters Stage 3 of its reopening plan.

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.

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.

Artist Jimmy Baptiste works on a mural in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

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.

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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.

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

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Some anti-maskers are printing off fake exemption cards to try to defy mandatory mask rules, a move being called a slap in the face to the immunocompromised and public health guidance.

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 Alexandria, Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.

In Kingston, the 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.

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.

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)

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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