What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, May 14

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

Recent developments:

What's happening today?

Starting Tuesday, retail stores outside malls in Ontario will be able to welcome customers back inside. Non-essential construction will be allowed to resume, as will some individual sports and scheduled surgeries.

The National Capital Commission announced Thursday it's closing westbound lanes of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway between Dominion Avenue and Booth Street, as well as the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway between the Aviation Parkway and St. Joseph Boulevard, to help people practise physical distancing.

The closures will last from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of May. 

The Queen Elizabeth Driveway will continue to close every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Sunday, May 24, the NCC says. 

WATCH: Golf courses get ready to open

Mike Copeland, general manager of Pine View Golf Course, says physical distancing is “almost built into the sport,” so staff will be focused on avoiding lineups during check-in and organizing online payment. 0:48

Echoing advice earlier this week from Ottawa's medical officer of health, Ontario's health minister is now recommending anyone with COVID-19 symptom should get tested.

And national parks and historic sites will begin reopening in June so people living nearby can use trails and green spaces, the federal government announced this morning.

How many cases are there?

There have been 1,725 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 185 deaths linked to the respiratory illness. There are more than 2,650 known cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec.


More than 1,880 people in the region have recovered from COVID-19.

The deaths of 48 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, and 26 more in the wider region, have also been tied to the coronavirus. 


Confirmed cases are just a snapshot because not everyone can be tested and results take time to process, though testing criteria are being expanded.

The number of COVID-19 cases is decreasing. Deaths are going down as well. And hospitalization rates from the virus are stable. So does that mean we're nearing the end of the pandemic? Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health answers the question. 13:16

What's open and closed?

Most of Ontario's provincial parks are now open for limited day use. The rest will open by the weekend. Trails at Prescott-Russell's Larose Forest will also reopen Saturday.

Gatineau Park is open for people within walking or biking distance to walk or cycle through, like its urban spaces and Ottawa city parks.

Quebec provincial parks remain closed.

Parc National du Bic outside Rimouski is one of the main tourist attractions in the region and has been closed for weeks because of COVID-19. Quebec provincial parks have not yet done what Ontario's have and opened up again. (Julia Page/CBC)

The ban on non-essential travel into and through the Outaouais is now lifted everywhere except crossings between Ottawa to Gatineau, angering some cottage owners who want to check on their properties this long weekend.

Ontario schools will remain closed through May and Quebec high schools, CEGEPs and universities will stay closed to in-person classes until fall.

Ottawa has cancelled event permits and closed many facilities until July. Quebec has asked organizers to cancel events until September.

WATCH: Ottawa likely to see less economic damage than other cities

Pedro Antunes, chief economist with the Conference Board of Canada, says certain sectors, such as the federal public service and post-secondary institutions, will bolster the local economy during the pandemic. 1:03

Distancing and isolating

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, although people can be asymptomatic and still be contagious.

That means physical distancing measures remain in effect: people should avoid non-essential trips, work from home, cancel gatherings and stay at least two metres away from anyone they don't live with.

WATCH: What it will take to expand people's 'bubbles'?

In an interview on CBC’s Ottawa Morning, Vera Etches, the city’s chief medical officer of health, says expanding the ‘household bubble’ is a priority when it comes time to loosen some COVID-19 restrictions. 1:24

Anyone who has symptoms, travelled recently outside Canada or, specifically in Ottawa, is waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate for at least 14 days.

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.

People 70 and older or with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions should also self-isolate.

We chat with Stacy Goldstein about how she trained, planned and completed a marathon during COVID-19. 6:13

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 pink eye. On May 13, the Ontario government said in rare cases, children can also develop a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

WATCH: An inside look at vaccine research

Darryl Falzarano from the University of Saskatchewan is part of the worldwide push toward a COVID-19 vaccine and says a limited rollout next January remains a "possibility." 5:26

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

Ontario announced Thursday morning anyone with symptoms should now get tested. We will update this section as new information comes in from local health units.

Anyone concerned they have COVID-19 in Ontario can call Telehealth at 1-866-797-000 or fill out the province's online assessment tool.

In Ottawa anyone with symptoms can now be tested at the Brewer Arena from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., seven days a week, or at 595 Moodie Dr. and 1485 Heron Rd. those same hours on weekdays.

Some people, including those over age 60 and essential workers, will be given priority if possible.


The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call 613-966-5500 or one of its testing centres in Belleville, Trenton or Bancroft if they have symptoms. You may also qualify for a home test.

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, and others in Rockland, and Cornwall that require an appointment.

Clinics will be closed on Victoria Day.

In Kingston, the assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone with symptoms.

Tulips, a gift from the Canadian Tulip Festival, are loaded onto carts to be delivered to hospital staff to thank them for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, at The Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to call it at 1-800-660-5853, ext. 2499 if you have questions after doing the province's self-assessment.

It has testing sites open in Almonte and Smiths Falls which require a referral, as well as a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and a home test service for people in care or with mobility challenges.

Renfrew County is also providing home testing under some circumstances. Residents without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 if they have health questions after doing the self-assessment.

WATCH: Six-year-old's fundraiser gets $5,000 donation for Almonte care home

Clayton Donnelly and his six-year-old son Lennox, who raised $5,615 for the staff at Almonte Country Haven, delivered lunch to health-care workers there on Wednesday. 1:04

In western Quebec:

Outaouais residents should call 819-644-4545 if they have symptoms. They could end up being referred to Gatineau's testing centre.

First Nations communities

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 has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.

Pikwakanagan's new council has ordered all businesses to close and has cancelled its August powwow.

Kitigan Zibi has postponed its June election and is keeping schools closed through the summer.

For more information

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