What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 22

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

A man waits for a bus on Bank Street in Ottawa on Sept. 21, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Recent developments: 

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health's (OPH) is reporting 93 new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa on Tuesday, marking the city's highest single-day tally since the pandemic began. The previous record was 76 cases on April 29.

The Outaouais has been moved from yellow to orange on Quebec's four-level colour-coded pandemic scale, automatically limiting private gatherings to six people, and events such as weddings or religious services to 25.

WATCH LIVE | Quebec health minister's update:

How does Quebec's COVID-19 alert system work?


3 months agoVideo
Quebec has unveiled a new, colour-coded COVID-19 alert system. Here's how it works. 1:55

As flu season approaches, Ottawa Public Health and the Ontario government say they're focusing on flu shots to avoid a potential "twindemic." OPH wants to administer the shots to 70 per cent of the population, up from the usual 40 per cent.

As the number of active COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Ottawa, public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms of the illness to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of $5,000 per day.

How many cases are there?

As of the most recent OPH update on Monday, 3,772 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 587 known active cases, 2,906 resolved cases and 279 deaths.

Overall, public health officials have reported 5,700 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 4,500 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?

Ontario and Quebec have rolled back some public health rules because of the widening spread of the coronavirus, considered the second wave in Quebec and some parts of Ontario, such as Ottawa.

Private, unmonitored gatherings across Ontario are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors until at least mid-October.

Local school boards say they're prepared, and in some cases have started, to pivot to remote learning if an outbreak of COVID-19 forces them to send students home.

Quebec has introduced tighter restrictions in the province's "orange zones,"  which now includes the Outaouais.

Physically distanced gatherings in public venues can still include up to 250 people, although in "orange zones" like western Quebec the maximum in a place of worship, a rented hall, or festival is now 25.

ICYMI | Explaining Quebec's alert system:

We hear from two small business owners on how they safely opened the doors during the pandemic. Melanie Doonanis a co-owner of DQ Ballroom and Fitness studios which just opened in West Ottawa on Saturday. And Zach El-masri is the owner and barber of Salad Days Barber Shop in Old Ottawa South which opened in August. 8:54

Ottawa will resume ticketing drivers who park longer than allowed in unmarked areas on Oct. 1.

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

Distancing and isolating

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

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 you don't live with or have in your social circle, including when you have a mask on.

The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health is holding a pop-up testing site Monday and Tuesday for the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. 8:39

Ottawa's medical officer of health and Quebec's top health official are pleading with residents to reduce the number of people they're in close contact with as new cases of COVID-19 continue to surge.

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.

Customers and vendors wear masks at Ottawa's Parkdale Market in mid-September 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jonathan Dupaul/Radio-Canada)

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

In Ontario, that's the same period of self-isolation for anyone with symptoms. When self-isolating, only leave home or see other people if it's critically important, such as to go see a doctor.

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.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems 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 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 as useful since it takes about that long for the virus to grow to be detectable by a test, said Ottawa's medical officer of health Vera Etches in early September.

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, causing some to reach capacity before closing time or even before opening.

Health officials have said they're trying to add more test capacity. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said he'd like pharmacists to be able to test starting this week.

CHEO said the Brewer Arena site will soon offer online booking.

In eastern Ontario:

In Ottawa any resident can get tested, but record wait times have led Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to ask that testing be limited for now to people with symptoms or who have been referred for a test because of contact tracing.

Testing for the general public happens at one of four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high. Some tests are also done in hospitals.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis can get a COVID-19 test today at the Wabano Centre on Montreal Road.

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.

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

A person walks through a parking lot that became a drive-thru, pop-up COVID-19 test site outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL's Ottawa Senators, Sept. 20, 2020. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, there is a drive-thru centre in Casselman and walk-up site in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don'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 Kingstonthe Leon's Centre is hosting the city's test site though Gate 2. There's another test site at Queen's University's Mitchell Hall open 5 to 8 p.m. on weekdays.

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

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.

A shopper in a mask at Ottawa's Tanger Outlets mall in mid-September 2020. (Jonathan Dupaul/Radio-Canada)

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.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor and 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 get a walk-in test in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond.

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 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.

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

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

For more information

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