What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, May 28

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

Bob Firestone, owner of Blue Cactus Bar and Grill, spoke to CBC News about what he’s hoping patio season will look like in the ByWard Market with physical distancing rules in place. 0:39

Recent developments:

  • OC Transpo wants all riders and staff to start wearing cloth masks by mid-June.
  • Ottawa Public Health is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths.
  • A staff member at a Gatineau, Que., care home has died of COVID-19, the first health-care worker in western Quebec to fall victim to the respiratory illness.
  • Starting tomorrow, libraries, museums and drive-ins in Quebec can reopen. 

What's happening today?

An employee at Gatineau's CHSLD Lionel-Émond care home has died of COVID-19, the first health-care worker in western Quebec to fall victim to the respiratory illness.

OC Transpo wants all riders and staff to wear a non-medical cloth mask or equivalent face covering starting on June 15. The recommendation will be discussed and voted on June 1 at a special meeting of the city's transit commission.

The Ottawa Public Library Board has approved plans to start taking back borrowed books and setting up curbside pickup June 8.

Quebec's libraries, drive-ins and museums can reopen Friday, while courts and tribunals can resume Monday.

Residents lined up outside Ottawa's Brewer Arena COVID-19 test centre on May 27, 2020 during a heat warning. There's no air conditioning inside the centre for now, just fans, but the city is working to rent one amid conditions described as 'gruelling.' (Francis Ferland/CBC)

How many cases are there?

There have been 1,930 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 240 deaths linked to the respiratory illness. There are more than 3,070 known cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec.


More than 2,300 people in the region have recovered from COVID-19.

The deaths of 49 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties and 32 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?

Ontario is in "stage one" of its three-stage reopening plan. When ready, its next stage should bring more offices, outdoor spaces and gatherings back.

Quebec malls, campgrounds and Airbnbs, courts and services such as dentist offices and hair salons can reopen Monday.

WATCH: ByWard Market restaurants looking ahead to different patio season

More than nine thousand people called the Distress Centre of Ottawa for help in the past two months. 8:09

Gatineau Park and provincial parks are now open with limits, like the National Capital Commission and Ottawa-Gatineau city parks

An empty Little Italy splash pad in Ottawa May 26, 2020 during a heat warning happening along with COVID-19 restrictions. Gatineau is opening some splash pads for distanced relief only during the late-May heat wave, expected to end tomorrow. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

This Sunday, the farmers market at Lansdowne Park reopens for preordering and picking up at a designated time.

The national park reopenings Monday include boat launches and trails in Thousand Islands National Park and along the Rideau Canal, with canal lockstations back up and running as well.

People keep their distance while walking around Ottawa-Gatineau under a heat warning the morning of May 26, 2020. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Ottawa has cancelled event permits until the end of August. Quebec has asked organizers to cancel events until September.

Ontario schools are closed through summer. Post-secondary schools are moving toward more online classes this fall, with the province promising a fall plan for younger students by July.

Quebec elementary schools outside Montreal are open. Its high schools, CEGEPs and universities are closed to in-person classes until fall.

Distancing and isolating

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.

That means physical distancing measures such as working from home and staying at least two metres away from anyone they don't live with.

Ottawa Public Health now wants people to think about how to safely do certain things and recommends people wear a fabric or non-medical mask when they can't always stay two metres from strangers, such as at a grocery store. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to Parliament Hill during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

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.

Vera Etches, Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health, says more than 50 per cent of people who may have symptoms of COVID-19 are waiting more than two days to get tested, complicating efforts to track the virus. 0:56

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. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

WATCH: If you feel sick, get tested, says OPH

A panel of experts answer questions about what’s happening with COVID-19 around the world and how it impacts Canada. 6:20

Where to get tested

In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested.

Tests are done 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.


Testing has also expanded 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.

In Kingston, the assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for anyone with symptoms. 

Napanee's test centre is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for people who call for an appointment.

Kingston is turning parts of these downtown streets into pedestrian and business spaces from June 22 until autumn. (City of Kingston)

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.

It has a walk-in site in Brockville open seven days a week at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.

WATCH: What are the global hot spots?

The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it at 613-966-5500, their family doctor or Telehealth if they have symptoms or questions.

If you have no symptoms, you can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre, or in Picton by texting 613-813-6864. You can also call Picton's number as a backup.

You may also qualify for a home test.

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, COVID-19-related or not.

If you're concerned about the coronavirus, take the self-assessment.

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.

A line outside a Rona store in Gatineau, Que., with limits and other measures because of COVID-19 in late May 2020. (Jonathan Dupaul/Radio-Canada)

First Nations

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 council plans to let businesses reopen tomorrow and Kitigan Zibi is keeping schools closed through the summer.

For more information

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