What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 24
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- OC Transpo to scale back transit after ridership falls between 70 and 90 per cent.
- Ottawa could see up to 4,000 new cases a day at outbreak's peak, Ottawa Public Health projects.
- Ontario and Quebec governments release lists of essential businesses that can remain open.
- Ontario to temporarily lower hydro rates.
- 10 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in region today.
- Mayors of Ottawa, Gatineau ask people to cross provincial border only if necessary.
- 220 passengers without symptoms were released from CFB Trenton today; 21 others must remain.
What you should know
Health officials continue to ask all residents to practise social distancing as much as possible because people may be carrying the novel coronavirus without knowing it.
This means avoid non-essential trips out, cancel gatherings even with friends or extended family, and work from home. On Monday Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, said Ottawa residents should only have close contact with members of their own household.
WATCH: Catch up with local news and weather for March 24
Passing by a stranger briefly on the sidewalk outside is okay because in order for people to have close contact it must be prolonged, she said.
That said, a game of soccer or basketball outside would be considered close contact and is not recommended.
If you are practising self-isolation, Etches says you should not go outside, even for walks or trips to the grocery store.
Tuesday, the mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau asked people to only cross the provincial border if it's absolutely necessary.
WATCH: Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin explains the request
For people who have recently returned to Canada or have been in close contact with someone who has travelled, public health officials say to self-isolate for 14 days.
That means staying home for two weeks and asking neighbours, friends or family to pick up groceries, medications and other supplies.
All deliveries should be left at the door to maintain a two-metre distance between yourself and others.
People who feel sick should also self-isolate at home for 14 days or until 24 hours have passed after symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
On Monday Ontario and Quebec announced all non-essential businesses had to close by midnight Tuesday into Wednesday.
Both provinces released lists of dozens of businesses Monday night that can remain open, including grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, hotels, funeral homes, movers, insurance businesses and many others.
- Ontario releases list of essential workplaces that can remain open
- Quebec halts everything but essential services as community transmission detected
Ontario Provincial Police said Friday officers will fine individuals or businesses that break the social distancing rules.
Quebec has also banned gatherings of more than two people and told residents not to travel within the province.
MRC des Collines police in western Quebec said they were called to a gathering of a few people on Monday and they dispersed without them having to penalize them.
WATCH: Here's how governments are enforcing social distancing rules
The federal government's $82-billion aid package should start rolling out in early April.
The Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel overnight Friday, March 20. Illegal border crossings will be stopped.
More flights are being arranged for Canadians having issues leaving other countries.
Ontario is launching an e-learning program as its schools are closed until at least April 5. The premier said Monday, March 23 he didn't believe schools would resume at that time.
Quebec schools are closed until at least May.
WATCH: Parents face homeschooling challenges during pandemic
Public transit is still running, but with changes including rear-door boarding on buses and now on LRT trains, and less-frequent service.
Ottawa residents needing information can still call 311 and all essential services such as garbage and recycling collection, and some bylaw services, will continue.
Spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa
Ontario's Ministry of Health confirmed 27 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa, including Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, a health-care worker at the Ottawa Hospital, a City of Ottawa employee at 100 Constellation Dr., a Health Canada employee at Tunney's Pasture, two Ottawa Senators and three employees of tech company Ciena in Kanata.
Ottawa's medical officer of health says computer models suggest 4,000 people in Ottawa have COVID-19, many without knowing it.
There are a total of 54 cases in eastern Ontario — including 13 separated from the public at CFB Trenton — and another 12 confirmed cases in the Outaouais.
Ontario has 588 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus — eight have had two negative tests in a row and are considered resolved — and Quebec has 1,013 presumptive and confirmed cases.
Twenty five deaths in Canada have been linked to COVID-19: seven in Ontario and four 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.
They may take up to 14 days to appear, which is why that's the period of self-isolation.
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.
WATCH: Why handwashing is more effective than gloves
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 if they touch their eyes, nose or mouth before washing their hands.
That's why washing hands thoroughly and keeping surfaces clean, along with social distancing, can help stop its spread.
WATCH: Doctors answer your questions about COVID-19
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.
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.
- CBC EXPLAINS | Understanding COVID-19 testing in Ottawa
If you don't have symptoms, you won't be tested and should self-isolate for 14 days.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
In western Quebec:
Gatineau's downtown assessment location is at 135 Blvd. Saint-Raymond.
Again, anyone who's left the country should self-isolate for 14 days.
Any Outaouais resident should call the regional help line at 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever. They don't need factors such as travel to call.
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.
The assessment centre in Kingston is now at the Kingston Memorial Centre at 303 York St. It is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If you develop mild to moderate symptoms after travelling, either contact your health care provider or go to that test site.
Kingston's public health unit says to check its website for information and call Telehealth with any remaining questions.
The public health unit in the Belleville, Ont., area is asking people only call it at 613-966-5500 if they've checked the website and still have questions.
The same advice goes for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark's unit at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499.
Hawkesbury, Ont., has an assessment centre at 750 Laurier St. open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Like Ottawa, only go there if you have new or worsening symptoms and have travelled or been in contact with a confirmed case. Go to CHEO if you're looking after an infant younger than six months old that fits this description.
Self-isolate if you have mild symptoms, go to the hospital if your symptoms are severe.
WATCH: How to see if you can be tested in Hawkesbury
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is also working on a special "Community Paramedic Program" for home visits.
Only people older than age 70, who have chronic health problems or compromised immune systems can call 613-933-1375 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to ask about one of these visits.
On Friday, the Winchester District Memorial Hospital announced it is preparing an assessment centre with the help of the EOHU.
The hope is the facility will never have to be used, the hospital wrote in a release.
Renfrew County is providing home testing under some circumstances.
Its public health unit says people should only call 613-735-8654 if they have worsening symptoms and have returned to Canada within 14 days.
The province of Ontario generally advises people experiencing symptoms to call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or their health care provider.
There has been a lag of four days or more to get Ontario's test results, with more being done per day than can be processed.
First Nations communities
The Mohawk communities of Akwesasne and Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) have declared a state of emergency to prepare for possible cases.
Anyone in MBQ who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. A home test may be possible after that.
In Akwesasne, community members are asked to carry their status cards when crossing the Canada-U.S. border for essential trips.
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).