What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sept. 2

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

Construction workers wear masks in downtown Ottawa on Sept. 1, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Recent developments: 

What's the latest? 

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday but marked 25 more as resolved, lowering the count of active cases in the city.

What happens if COVID-19 turns up at school?

In Ottawa, it depends on what happened with that person before and after a positive test.

Western Quebec students will have to isolate, if not more, if there's a positive case in their cohort.

Parents are once again trying to figure out plans for their kids after Ottawa's largest public board pushed back the start date for elementary and remote learners.

WATCH | What the delay can mean:

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Malaka Hendela, co-chair of the Ottawa-Carleton Assembly of School Councils, says sending kids back to school later will affect families who are already struggling to balance work and childcare.

What's the latest on schools?

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board says in-person school will begin Tuesday at the earliest for high school students and Sept. 14 at the earliest for elementary students. Remote learners will not start class until Sept. 18.

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With the start of another school year around the corner, classrooms, corridors and cafeterias have undergone big changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board refused requests for access by CBC Ottawa, but provided this footage instead.

The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) has also delayed the return to school, staggering it between tomorrow and Sept. 15 depending on grade. Its starting date for online learning remains unchanged.

The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est is delaying the start of the school year for some high school students and those who will be learning remotely until Tuesday. Other students return tomorrow.

In a letter to parents, the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) said once the school year starts it "may not be possible" now for students to switch between classroom and online learning because of high demand.

The board has implemented a staggered start over three days starting Sept. 11.

All five of western Quebec's school service centres and boards have started bringing students back and soon may get a provincial inspection.

How many cases are there?

There have been 2,987 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the start of the pandemic: 206 known active cases, 2,514 cases considered resolved and a total of 267 deaths related to the illness.

Overall, public health officials have reported nearly 4,600 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with nearly 3,900 resolved.


COVID-19 has killed 102 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 33 in the Outaouais and 17 in other parts of eastern Ontario.

What's open and closed?

Ottawa is in Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan, which means more businesses are open including dine-in restaurants and movie theatres.

Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 are now allowed in that province but attendees must follow physical distancing guidelines.

Customers in a distanced seating area outside Matron Fine Beer in Bloomfield, Ont., in Prince Edward County during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Quebec has similar reopening rules, with its cap on physically distanced gatherings in public venues now up to 250 people, allowing smaller festivals.

The Canadian Museum of Nature reopens with pandemic changes starting on Saturday.

The National Capital Commission's road changes to favour active transportation over vehicles are scheduled to end Monday, though they have been extended before.

Rue Jacques-Cartier in Gatineau reopens to vehicles Tuesday. PR Transpo transit service in Prescott-Russell resumes Sept. 14.

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A new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal outlines a plan to manage Ontario’s surgical backlog created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but doctors say more resources will be needed to perform more than 150,000 surgeries in less than two years.

Distancing and isolating

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

That means physical distancing measures such as working from home, meeting others outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle, including when you have a mask on.

Masks are now mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, where transit officials and taxi drivers are now required to bar access to users over age 12 who refuse to wear one.

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

A University of Ottawa student walks through campus on Sept. 1, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days. In Ontario, that's the same period of isolation for anyone with symptoms.

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.

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for people with weakened immune systems and OPH recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible. 

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 pinkeye. Children can develop a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can be tested at one of three sites.

The Brewer Arena test site will be closed on Labour Day.

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

People wait for a bus in downtown Ottawa on Sept. 1, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area, there is a drive-thru centre in Casselman that can handle 200 tests a day and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.

Others in Alexandria, Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.

In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is hosting the city's test site. Find it at Gate 2.

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

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Four Ontario teachers share their fears and anxieties about returning to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic and what they think should be done to keep staff, students and their families safe.

You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre and in Picton by texting or calling. Only Belleville and Trenton run seven days a week.

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 at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.

Almonte's site will be closed Monday.

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

It's testing in five communities this week with an appointment.

In western Quebec:

Outaouais residents now can get a walk-in test in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond. Wait times mean you may be assigned a time to come back if the centre is busy.

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

They can call 1-877-644-4545 to make an appointment or if they have other questions.

First Nations:

Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Most are linked back to a gathering on an island with a non-resident who wasn't showing symptoms at the time.

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.

Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. Face coverings are now mandatory in its public buildings.

People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. It lifted its state of emergency in late August.

Kitigan Zibi plans on starting to open schools and daycares next month.

For more information

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