What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 8

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

A student peers through the window of a school bus in Montreal. The youngest students at the Ottawa Catholic School Board are heading back to class today, along with some Grade 9 students at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Recent developments: 

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported another daily spike in COVID-19 cases Tuesday, with 36 new and only five resolved, driving the city's active case count up to 242. Half of Tuesday's new cases are people over the age of 60.

The city's medical officer of health says about 190 students and 10 staff at five French Catholic schools have been told to self-isolate because of possible exposure to COVID-19 aboard school buses.

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Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, says officials are asking so many students to self-isolate because it’s unclear whether physical distancing rules were properly followed on the buses in question.

A long-term care facility in Ottawa's west end is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak involving more than two dozen residents and staff members. Twenty-eight residents and three employees have now tested positive for COVID-19 at Extendicare West End Villa on Elmira Drive.

Quebec has revealed a new COVID-19 alert system that will use colours to indicate the severity of the pandemic in Quebec's different regions.

The Outaouais is yellow, meaning there are some early signs of potential trouble that will soon trigger a follow-up call with local health officials and the province.

A sprawling recreation complex in Ottawa's east end has become the latest business to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For 44 years, the Ottawa Athletic Club on Lancaster Road has offered tennis, swimming, golf lessons, fitness classes, summer camps and other recreational activities. Friday is its last day of operation. 

How many cases are there?

There have been 3,134 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the start of the pandemic. As of Monday, there were 242 known active cases, 2,625 cases considered resolved and 267 deaths related to the illness.

Overall, public health officials have reported more than 4,800 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 4,000 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?

Five local boards are opening buildings today, meaning all but the Upper Canada District School Board have started bringing students back.

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A new Ontario rule formally removes time limits on caregiver visits to long-term care homes as of today, and eight Ottawa arenas are available again for rentals.

Also today: rue Jacques-Cartier in Gatineau and the Queen Elizabeth Driveway (on weekdays) are now reopen to vehicles.

The driveway will close to vehicles on weekends the rest of the month.

A person carries their groceries as they walk among cyclists on the Queen Elizabeth Driveway in Ottawa April 18, 2020. It was closed to motor vehicle traffic to allow people to get outdoors while practicing physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Ontario is in Stage 3 of its 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.

A staff member makes her way through a temporary welcome tent and COVID-19 screening area at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa Sept. 4, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Kingston, Ont., has tightened its distancing rules in city parks and closed the Breakwater Park beach because of what the city says has been risky behaviour.

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

PR Transpo transit service in Prescott-Russell resumes Monday.

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 their circle, including when you have a mask on.

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Masks are now 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.

A staff member sprays disinfectant on a pair of recently returned rental canoes at Dows Lake in Ottawa on the Labour Day long weekend, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

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.

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With COVID-19 infection numbers creeping up across much of Canada, there is growing concern that we may be heading towards a second wave, especially with schools reopening. Younger Canadians being more likely to let their guard down when it comes to safety protocols as summer winds down.

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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Grade 11 student Sierra Deschamps, who goes to school in Ottawa, says she’d rather be in the classroom full time because it’s more likely she’ll get distracted while learning online at home.

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 pinkeye. Children can develop a rash.

People should not get tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure, since it takes approximately five days for the virus to grow to levels where it's 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

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 four sites — including a new drive-thru testing centre.

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.

Ottawa's new drive-thru COVID-19 test site at RCGT Park east of downtown on Sept. 4, 2020. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area, there is a drive-thru centre in Casselman 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 ahead.

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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.

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 six 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.

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.

WATCH | The economic impact of millions working from home:

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. Its office and well-being centre will be open by appointment, with bookings starting Sept. 14.

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

Kitigan Zibi's fitness centre and playground park are opening up with restrictions..

For more information

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