What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 29
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- Ottawa has set another daily record with 105 more COVID-19 cases.
- New restrictions are coming for visitors to long-term care homes in Ottawa.
- Canada is buying nearly 8 million rapid COVID-19 test kits that aren't yet approved for use.
- Quebec's health minister says he now wants the province to be part of the COVID Alert app.
What's the latest?
Ottawa has passed another grim milestone with 105 new cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday, the city's highest one-day tally since the pandemic began. The number of active cases in the city is also the highest it's been, surpassing figures last seen in late April.
As of Monday, visitors to long-term care homes in areas of the province with high rates of community spread of COVID-19, including Ottawa, will be restricted to staff, essential visitors and one or two caregivers only.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also said the province is investing $540 million in the long-term care sector.
WATCH | Ontario's long-term care changes:
The federal government plans to buy 7.9 million rapid COVID-19 test kits that could give results in under 15 minutes. They haven't been approved yet by Health Canada.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said his government wants to join Canada's COVID Alert app after previously saying it had concerns about privacy and effectiveness.
How many cases are there?
As of the most recent OPH update on Tuesday, 4,258 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 682 known active cases — the highest that number has ever been — 3,291 resolved cases and 285 deaths.
Overall, public health officials have reported more than 6,400 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 5,100 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?
Some public health rules are being rolled back because of the second wave of the pandemic.
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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.
It's also closing the McNabb Arena respite centre for people without housing on Friday and expanding services at nearby support centres.
Ottawa's annual Help Santa Toy Parade is the latest in the region to be cancelled by pandemic restrictions.
Private, unmonitored gatherings across Ontario are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Quebec has introduced tighter restrictions in the province's "orange zones," which now includes the Outaouais.
WATCH | Why have parts of Quebec gone back into lockdown?
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.
Ottawa's medical officer of health is pleading with residents to reduce the number of people they're in close contact with as new cases of COVID-19 continue to surge.
WATCH | Troubling signs around infection rate:
Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.
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.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible.
WATCH | Students leaning on each other for help:
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, causing some to reach capacity before closing time or even before opening.
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.
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.
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.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit has walk-in sites in Kemptville and Brockville. There are testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.
The health unit will run a pop-up drive-thru test site in Prescott today.
Temporary COVID-19 drive-through testing will take place in Gananoque on Sept 28 at the Gananoque Arena & in Prescott Sept 29 at the Prescott Public Works Garage. 10am-6pm each day - get more info here: <a href="https://t.co/Ohq7C8qLSC">https://t.co/Ohq7C8qLSC</a> <a href="https://t.co/j9Page7Pbn">pic.twitter.com/j9Page7Pbn</a>—@LGLHealthUnit
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.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
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
- 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.