What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, March 19
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- 2 new cases in Ottawa, 1 at CFB Trenton.
- Canada-U.S. border restrictions likely early Saturday; Emergency funds early April.
- Ontario will accept expired health cards, driver's licenses.
- Send in questions for Ottawa's medical officer of health on Ottawa Morning Friday.
What you should know
Ottawa Public Health continues to ask all residents to exercise social distancing as much as possible because people may be carrying the novel coronavirus without knowing it.
This means if you can, you should work from home, limit the number of other people you come into close contact with, avoid non-essential trips out, cancel gatherings and try to keep a two-metre distance from others.
The current recommendation from Ottawa Public Health is that time spent outdoors is fine — so long as you keep your distance from others.
WATCH: Ottawans keep busy outside during outbreak
If you've recently left the country or have been in close contact with someone who has travelled, you should self-isolate for 14 days.
People should also self-isolate if they feel sick for 14 days or until 24 hours after symptoms are gone, whichever is longer.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency March 17, banning organized public events larger than 50 people and closing daycares, recreation centres and eat-in restaurants for the rest of the month.
Quebec put similar measures in place on Sunday, March 15.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and take-out and drive-thru food businesses will stay open but many stores are temporarily closing, leaving workers uncertain about how they'll make ends meet.
Some grocery stores and pharmacies are opening early for more vulnerable customers, including the elderly.
WATCH: Premier won't limit people in grocery stores
The federal government's $82B aid package should start rolling out in two to three weeks, said Finance Minister Bill Morneau Thursday, March 19.
The Canada-U.S. border should close to non-essential travel overnight Friday, March 20, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday, March 19.
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A number of new closures in Ottawa-Gatineau, including many municipal facilities, went into effect March 16.
Public transit is still running, but with changes including rear door boarding and less-frequent schedules.
Ottawa residents needing information can still call 311 and all essential services such as garbage and recycling collection, and bylaw some services — will continue.
Hydro Ottawa won't disconnect anyone's power until the end of July and is suspending "account collection actions."
Universities have asked everyone who can to move out of residences by Sunday, March 22 unless they're in exceptional circumstances, such as some international students.
Spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa
Sixteen people in Ottawa have now tested positive for COVID-19, including Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, a City of Ottawa employee at 100 Constellation Dr., a Health Canada employee at Tunney's Pasture and three employees of tech company Ciena in Kanata.
It's not yet clear whether an unidentified Ottawa Senators player with mild symptoms the team announced late Tuesday night is among that number.
One Ottawa patient, a person in their 60s, was in hospital but has since been released. One person whose COVID-19 status has yet to be confirmed is in hospital.
All confirmed cases are linked to travel.
There are a total of 31 cases in eastern Ontario — 10 separated from the public at CFB Trenton — and one confirmed Wednesday, March 18 at the Hull Hospital.
Ten deaths in Canada have been linked to COVID-19: seven in B.C., two in Ontario and one in Quebec.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 range from a very mild, cold-like illness to a severe lung infection. The most common symptoms include fever, fatigue and a dry cough.
Anyone who has difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to wake up and bluish lips or face should go to the emergency room.
Older people, those with compromised immune systems and those with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.
The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The virus can also spread through close, prolonged contact, like touching or handshaking, and it can spread from person to person via surfaces like door handles, mobile phones, tables and light switches.
That's why washing hands thoroughly and keeping surfaces clean, along with social distancing, can help stop its spread.
Important links and contacts
Anyone in Ottawa who has a new or worsening cough or fever and has travelled outside Canada, or has been in contact with a confirmed case, should go to the COVID-19 screening centre at the Brewer Arena.
If you don't have symptoms, you won't be tested and should self-isolate for 14 days.
The centre is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 151 Brewer Way, off Bronson Avenue near Carleton University. It's unique because you don't have to call ahead.
It's meant to divert non-emergency cases away from hospitals.
People with mild symptoms who do not meet these criteria should self-isolate until 24 hours after their symptoms are gone.
People with severe symptoms should call 911.
In western Quebec:
Gatineau's downtown assessment location at 135 Blvd. Saint-Raymond can do 56 tests a day and the test results take about 24 hours.
Anyone who's left the country should self-isolate for 14 days and call the province's toll-free line at 1-877-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever.
Anyone else who is sick should avoid direct contact with vulnerable people and practise social distancing.
If your symptoms require a trip to the emergency room, call ahead to that number if your condition allows to let them know your travel history.
WATCH: Quebec to increase COVID-19 testing, premier says
In eastern Ontario outside Ottawa:
There is also an assessment centre in Kingston, which reported its first three cases March 17, at the Hotel Dieu Hospital at 166 Brock St., open 1 to 8 p.m.
Renfrew County is providing home testing under some circumstances.
The province generally advises people experiencing symptoms to first call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, then their local health unit.
The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people only call it at 613-966-5500 if they've checked the website and still have questions.
Kingston's public health unit says check its website and call Telehealth with remaining questions.
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Renfrew County's unit says people should only call 613-735-8654 ext. 577 if they have symptoms and have returned to Canada within 14 days. The same advice goes for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark's unit at 613-345-5685.
The Mohawk communities of Akwesasne and Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have declared a state of emergency to prepare for possible cases.
The Algonquin communities of Kitigan Zibi and Pikwakanagan have scaled back non-essential services and are asking residents to follow general public health advice.
For more information, visit:
- Ottawa Public Health,
- your local eastern Ontario health unit,
- the Ontario Ministry of Health (in several languages), including their self-assessment tool.
- the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais (in French).
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