What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, May 14
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- Retail stores with street entrances can start welcoming back customers on Tuesday in Ontario, according to the province's reopening plan.
- The NCC is closing more roadways to help people practise physical distancing.
- Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should get tested.
- The federal government plans to reopen national parks and historic sites at the start of June.
- Visit our Facebook page dedicated to feel-good local stories. Today we feature an update on a six-year-old's fundraiser for a hard-hit care home.
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.
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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.
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.
Quebec provincial parks remain closed.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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
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
- Ottawa Public Health.
- Your local eastern Ontario health unit.
- The Ontario Ministry of Health (in several languages).
- The Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada.