What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 6
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- The City of Ottawa has reopened green spaces within municipal parks, but park amenities including playground equipment and benches remain off limits, as do dog parks, sports fields and basketball courts.
- A fifth person has died of COVID-19 in western Quebec, according to the province's daily report.
- The City of Ottawa will offer an update on the COVID-19 situation at 2:30 p.m. ET.
- Visit our Facebook page dedicated to feel-good local stories; today we feature a pizza executive getting a fresh pie to a boy fighting cancer in Toronto.
What's happening today?
Green spaces in City of Ottawa parks reopened Wednesday, but that doesn't mean things are back to normal just yet. Playgrounds, benches, dog parks, sports fields and other shared amenities remain no-go zones.
You can have a picnic or throw a ball on the grass now, so long as you're in a group of five or fewer, and you continue to maintain a two-metre distance from anyone who's not a member of your household.
Garden centres in Ontario can start welcome customers back as of Friday. Hardware stores across the province can reopen starting Saturday, but under strict conditions. Other retailers can open for curbside pickup starting Monday, as long as they have a street entrance.
The province's emergency order prohibiting gatherings of more than five will extend through the May long weekend.
Read through our recap of today's Ottawa Morning Q&A on COVID-19 and civil liberties.
WATCH: Ottawa parks reopen to lounging, picnics
How many cases are there?
There are now 1,558 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, and there have been 139 deaths linked to the respiratory illness. There are more than 2,430 known cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
Nearly 1,330 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the region.
The deaths of 43 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, and 12 more in the wider region, have also been tied to the novel coronavirus.
Confirmed cases are just a snapshot because everyone can't be tested and the results take time to process, though testing criteria are slowly being expanded.
What's open and closed?
Quebec has banned non-essential travel into and through the Outaouais until May 11, when the ban should be lifted everywhere but Gatineau.
The Laurentians region's restrictions ended Monday, which includes Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Que. Health officials still advise against unnecessary trips.
Municipal parks are only open to walk through. Provincial and national parks are closed. The NCC plans to reopen Gatineau Park for people within walking or biking distance starting Saturday.
Ottawa has cancelled event permits and closed many facilities until July. Quebec has asked organizers to cancel events until September.
WATCH: A tough 2020 for catering companies
Quebec plans to allow manufacturing businesses to start back up as of this coming Monday.
As for schools: Ontario's will remain closed through May, but Quebec plans to open elementary schools and daycares in mid-May for parents who want to send their kids.
Quebec high schools, CEGEPs and universities will stay closed to in-person classes until fall.
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 takes to offer safer takeout
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, fatigue and a dry cough.
Other potential symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose and the loss of taste or smell.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
Where to get tested
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 people who fit the criteria can be tested at the Brewer Arena from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., seven days a week.
Those with mild or moderate symptoms can visit clinics in Bells Corners or Alta Vista weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Kingston, the assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone with symptoms.
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.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to call it if you have symptoms at 1-800-660-5853, ext. 2499.
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 a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 if they have health questions.
In western Quebec:
Outaouais residents should call 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever. 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.