What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 1

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

Medical staff in masks, at the opening of the COVID-19 assessment centre in Ottawa on March 13. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Recent developments: 

What's the latest?

Sixty-six more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa and two more have died, according to Ottawa Public Health (OPH).

As Ontario's testing backlog hits a record high, OPH confirms most people in this city are waiting more than 48 hours to get their test results.

Ontario is spending $461 million to top up the wages of personal support workers by $2 to $3 an hour until at least the end of March.

Greyhound Canada says it will no longer operate from Ottawa Central Station in Centretown. Its buses have not been running since mid-May and it says a new Ottawa hub will be announced before it resumes.

WATCH LIVE | Quebec news conference at 1 p.m. ET:

Psychologist urges people to stay active heading into the second wave of COVID-19

CBC News Ottawa

10 months ago
Dr. David Dozois, professor of psychology at Western University, says people need to prepare psychologically for a potential shutdown and urges people to stay active by picking up a new hobby or doing things that give you a sense of accomplishment. 0:47

Ontario has updated its COVID-19 screening protocols for children. Children in the province will no longer be removed from school or child care and advised to go for testing if they have a runny nose, headache, sore throat, fatigue or diarrhea.

These changes will keep kids in school or child care "as much as possible," the province said Thursday.

A Kingston house party was linked to at least five COVID-19 cases, and health authorities said they have yet to track down everyone who attended.

How many cases are there?

As of the most recent OPH update on Thursday, 4,388 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 677 known active cases, 3,422 resolved cases and 289 deaths.

Overall, public health officials have reported more than 6,600 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 5,200 of those cases considered resolved.

COVID-19 has killed 104 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 34 in the Outaouais and 18 in other parts of eastern Ontario.


What's open and closed?

Health officials on both sides of the Ottawa River are telling people to see fewer people in person or they will be forced to by stricter rules.

Ottawa's medical officer of health said Wednesday there's been an "alarming" increase of positive COVID-19 tests, urging residents to cut almost entirely back on close contact with people they don't live with or risk letting the illness spiral out of control.

That includes not dining in at restaurants with people you don't live with.

Western Quebec's health unit says residents need to stop gathering until the end of October or, like Montreal and Quebec, it will go into the final level of its alert system and they won't be allowed to see anyone they don't live with.

Private, unmonitored gatherings across Ontario are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Western Quebec is in orange alert, which means private and organized gathering limits, earlier closing hours for restaurants and recommendations against travelling to other regions.

Fall colours in Gatineau Park north of Ottawa on Sept. 27. The usual shuttle buses to see the changing leaves have been cancelled altogether to discourage crowding. (Nafi Alibert/Radio-Canada)

Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms or who has been identified as a close contact of someone who's tested positive to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.

Kingston has also tightened its distancing rules in city parks and increased fines.

WATCH | Picking up a hobby can help weather second wave:

Like many places in Canada, summer felt a bit more normal in Ontario, at least by pandemic standards. But as Premier Doug Ford said earlier this week, the province is officially in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today on Front Burner, CBC's Ontario provincial affairs reporter Mike Crawley on what led us to this second wave of COVID-19 cases, the government's response, and what it might take to stop it from becoming a tsunami. 21:25

Ottawa will resume ticketing drivers who park longer than allowed in unmarked areas and bring back public skating at five city arenas today.

It's also closing the McNabb Arena respite centre for people without housing tomorrow and expanding services at nearby support centres

As of Monday, visitors to long-term care homes in Ottawa will be restricted to staff, essential visitors and one or two caregivers only.

People sit outside a Starbucks in Ottawa Oct. 1, 2020. The coffee chain is temporarily not allowing people in Quebec and Ottawa to sit in its restaurants because of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

What about schools?

There have been more than 100 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff or student, most of them in Ottawa.

Not all of them have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.

Many school boards have a list of affected schools.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.

People can be contagious without symptoms.

This means precautions such as working from home, keeping your hands and frequently-touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone you don't live with or have in your social circle, including when you have a mask on.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, including transit services and taxis in some areas.

Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. 

Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.

Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days if they have not had a fever for at least 48 hours and has had no other symptom for at least 24 hours.

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 cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. 

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.

Getting tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure may not be useful since the virus may not yet be detectable, says OPH.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Where to get tested

Wait times and lines have been long at many of the area's test sites, though they have been better this week

There have also been delays processing tests at laboratories.

Ontario health officials have said they're trying to add more test capacity.

In eastern Ontario:

The Ontario government recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province because of your work.

Most of Ottawa's testing happens at one of four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

A test clinic is expected to open at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex in Orléans, likely by mid-October.

People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select Ottawa pharmacies.

COVID-19: Are daily infection numbers the right focus?

The National

10 months ago
Infectious disease specialists answer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic including if daily infection numbers are the right statistic to focus on and whether people need to re-evaluate the risk of activities as case numbers rise. 6:59

In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, there are drive-thru centres in Casselman and Limoges and a walk-up site in Hawkesbury that doesn't require people to call ahead.

Its medical officer of health says the Casselman centre will be moved to reduce its impact on traffic.

Others in Alexandria, Rockland, Cornwall and Winchester require an appointment.

In Kingston, the city's test site is now at the Beechgrove Complex near King Street West and Portsmouth Avenue.

Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.

WATCH | The National's COVID-19 Q&A:

People can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville, Picton or Trenton by calling the centre. Only Belleville and Trenton run seven days a week and also offer online booking.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit has walk-in sites in Kemptville and Brockville. 

There are permanent testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment, along with a pop-up site by appointment in Perth tomorrow.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor. Those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.

People can also visit the health unit's website to find out where testing clinics will be taking place each week.

In western Quebec:

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.

They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.

Shoppers stock up at a Costco store Wednesday in Boisbriand, Que. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most linked to a gathering on an island in July.

It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.

Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Inuit in Ottawa can also call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. 

Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.

For more information

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