What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, March 26
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- Via Rial employee who worked on Quebec City-Windsor route tests positive for COVID-19
- University of Ottawa cancels spring convocation.
- 2 more deaths, 170 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.
- 8 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region; 2 are in hospital.
- Ottawa, Gatineau closing community sports parks and courts, playgrounds.
- Gatineau opening more shelter space to encourage physical distancing.
- Ontario restaurants can now offer takeout or delivery alcohol.
- Montfort and Queensway Carleton hospitals prepare to open centres for assessment and clinical care of COVID-19 patients.
- The Ottawa Hospital is appealing for donations of masks, gloves, shields and other personal protective equipment for health-care staff. Any companies or organizations with donations can email: email@example.com
What you should know
As Ontario sees a substantial surge in coronavirus cases, health officials continue to call on residents to keep up physical distancing as people are likely carrying the novel coronavirus COVID-19 without knowing it.
This means avoiding non-essential trips out, working from home and cancelling gatherings, even with friends or extended family.
Ottawa Public Health advises residents to restrict contact to members of their own household, and to stay at least two metres away from everyone else.
WATCH: Here's what social distancing looks like in cities around the world
Public health officials are also urging anyone who's had close contact with someone who has travelled to self-isolate for 14 days. That means staying home for two weeks and asking relatives, friends or neighbours to deliver groceries, medication and other supplies. All deliveries should be left at the door to maintain a two-metre distance.
People who feel sick should also self-isolate.
LISTEN: 'Too soon to say' how social distancing is affecting COVID-19 spread, OPH says
Travellers who return to Canada must now enter a mandatory 14-day period of self-isolation or face a fine of up to $750,000, or as much as six months in jail.
Only people deemed essential workers are exempt.
To help bolster the economy while many businesses stay closed and workers stay home, Ontario announced a $17-billion aid package Wednesday.
The City of Ottawa declared a state of emergency Wednesday. Other municipalities in the region including Cornwall, United Counties of Prescott and Russell, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Kingston, Prince Edward County and Rideau Lakes have also declared states of emergency.
On Thursday the University of Ottawa announced it's cancelling spring convocation due to the risk posed by COVID-19.
WATCH: Ottawa food banks see increased need during COVID-19 pandemic
Ontario Provincial Police said Friday officers will fine individuals or businesses that break the physical distancing rules.
Sports venues such as fields and courts are closed to discourage gatherings. Park spaces remain open.
WATCH: CBC Ottawa's Local Daily for Thursday, March 26
Quebec schools are closed until at least May, while Ontario has launched an e-learning program while its schools remain closed, likely past the initial date of April 6.
Public transit authorities are scaling back service because ridership has dropped substantially.
Ottawa residents needing information can still call 311, and all essential services such as garbage and recycling collection, as well as some bylaw services, will continue.
Spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa
Ottawa saw its first COVID-19-related death on March 25. A man in his 90s with no travel history died 10 days after he first developed a fever.
Ontario's Ministry of Health confirms 32 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 has said computer models suggest 4,000 people in Ottawa have COVID-19, many without knowing it.
Vera Etches said the virus could infect 4,000 people a day at its peak if physical distancing and self-isolation recommendations aren't respected.
Ontario has 858 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus. The addition of 170 confirmed cases between Wednesday and Thursday is the largest single-day jump in the province.
Quebec has 1,629 presumptive and confirmed cases.
Thirty-nine deaths in Canada have been linked to COVID-19, including 15 in Ontario and eight 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.
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: Here's how Canadians are helping each other through the pandemic
The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The virus can also spread through close, prolonged contact, such as touching or handshaking, and via surfaces such as door handles, mobile phones, tables and light switches if they touch their eyes, nose or mouth before washing their hands.
When to get tested
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. You don't have to call ahead.
- CBC EXPLAINS | Understanding COVID-19 testing in Ottawa
If you meet some of the criteria but don't have symptoms, you won't be tested and should self-isolate for 14 days. If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
The Montfort and Queensway Carleton hospitals are preparing to open centres similar to the Brewer site, but with a wider scope including clinical care for COVID-19 patients. More details are expected next week.
LISTEN: Critical care clinics 'ready to be opened' if needed, Ottawa hospital says
In western Quebec:
Gatineau's downtown assessment location is at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond.
Outaouais resident should call the regional help line at 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever, whether they've travelled or not.
If your symptoms require a trip to the emergency room, call ahead if your condition allows to let them know your travel history.
Another space is opening up for the city's shelter users at the Centre communautaire Père-Arthur-Guertin on rue Bériault because the Gîte Ami shelter's capacity has been reduced for physical distancing.
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 the test site.
Kingston's public health unit says to check its website for information, and call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 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.
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 who have symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed case should use the province's self-assessment tool.
Call Telehealth, their health care provider or it at 613-735-8654 if they still have more questions.
The province of Ontario generally advises people experiencing symptoms to call Telehealth 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.
In the Outaouais, the local health agency is calling anyone whose tests take more than a week to get back to them.
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 public health advice.
Pikwakanagan's election on Saturday, March 28 is going ahead, with members strongly encouraged to vote remotely.
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