What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 29

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

People wearing masks walk in front of the Parliament buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Sept. 28. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)

Recent developments: 

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:

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford promised on Tuesday to protect seniors in long-term care facilities with increased spending and new visitor restrictions in some regions. 1:23

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.

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.

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

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?

COVID-19 surge forces new lockdown in parts of Quebec

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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:

Why COVID-19 numbers will get worse before they get better

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New COVID-19 infections are emerging at double the rate of just two weeks ago. Experts say the curve is getting steeper and the only way to bend it back is to change behaviours — fast. 3:28

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.

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. 

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Abdullahi Esse says all the students in his class are having trouble adjusting after being out of the classroom for six months. 0:46

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.

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.

A server in a mask watches an Ottawa patio this summer. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

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.

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 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.

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.

A line of traffic in Chelsea, north of Ottawa, from drivers waiting to see fall colours in Gatineau Park Sept. 27, 2020. The NCC has asked people to consider visiting other parts of the region to see the changing leaves. ( Nafi Alibert/Radio-Canada)

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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