What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, April 1
Key updates on COVID-19 in the region
- Ontario is going into another shutdown that starts Saturday at 12:01 a.m.
- Rules tighten in the Outaouais tonight, particularly in the Gatineau area.
- The Outaouais is reporting 126 more COVID-19 cases, while Ottawa reports 116.
- Vaccine eligibility is expanding in ages, pharmacies.
What's the latest?
Changes are coming in the pandemic's rising third wave.
All of Ontario will go into another shutdown. The premier announced Thursday that he's imposing a provincewide 'emergency brake' due to a surge in COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations across the province.
It begins 12:01 a.m. on Saturday and will last for at least four weeks.
WATCH | Ontario's announcement on rule changes:
The Outaouais is moving to Quebec's red zone rules as of 8 p.m. ET tonight and there are even stronger rules for Gatineau and MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais, including closing schools and an earlier curfew.
Health officials in the Outaouais reported another record of 126 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, more than the 116 cases in Ottawa. Two more people died of COVID-19 in each of those areas.
Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine pilot project in pharmacies is expanding to include at least two in every local health unit and to people at or above age 55 as early as Saturday.
How many cases are there?
As of Thursday, 17,410 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,263 known active cases, 15,681 resolved cases and 466 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 31,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 28,400 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 147 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 174.
Akwesasne has had more than 270 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and seven deaths. It's had more than 550 cases when its southern section is added.
What can I do?
A top science advisor says Ontario's COVID-19 spread is completely out of control.
Ottawa Public Health said Thursday its contact tracers can't keep up with the pace of spread, its test sites don't have much more capacity and there's pressure on the health-care system.
WATCH | Ottawa's rising COVID-19 numbers 'disheartening':
Ontario's expected shutdown Saturday would include rules similar (but not identical to) grey-lockdown rules, according to sources.
That would close gyms and personal care services and ban indoor dining at restaurants. Non-essential businesses would stay open at 25 per cent capacity.
Under current grey rules, people can only sit on a patio with people they live with.
Indoor gatherings are not allowed in grey except for people who live together and the usual exception for people who live alone. Outdoor gatherings can have a maximum of 10 distanced people and religious services can be bigger if space allows.
Schools would not be immediately affected, although some boards have told families to be ready in case they have to close classrooms again and return to full remote learning.
The new rules may replace some or all of those local rules. This section will be updated.
Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses close from tonight at 8 p.m. until Monday, April 12 at 5 a.m. in Gatineau and MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais, which almost entirely surrounds the city.
Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone to see one other household. The start of the curfew moves up to 8 p.m.
Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. Places of worship can have a maximum of 25 people.
WATCH | The premier discusses the rules:
The rest of the Outaouais is moving to red zone rules, which closes restaurant dining rooms but keeps schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses open with restrictions.
The start of the curfew remains at 9:30 p.m.
Weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 25 people, while other religious services can go up to 250 distanced people.
WATCH | The serious situation in the Outaouais:
People across the Ottawa-Gatineau area are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons.
Distancing and isolating
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on.
OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.
Healthcare workers' <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/superhero?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#superhero</a> powers don't include cloning. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ottawa?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ottawa</a> hospitals are full. If the current <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> resurgence continues, it will turn into hospitalizations and displace patients with cancer, mental illness, those who need surgery, etc. <a href="https://t.co/bWaKDtzDkA">https://t.co/bWaKDtzDkA</a>—@AlexMunter
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get help with errands.
Four COVID-19 vaccines have been approved in Canada.
Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second, meaning jurisdictions can spread first doses widely.
About 312,000 doses have been given out in the wider region since mid-December, including about 130,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 45,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario's first doses of Phase 1 generally went to care home residents and health-care workers.
The provincewide campaign has expanded to include more priority groups such as all people over age 75, and people 70 and older in certain regions. People can book appointments online or over the phone.
Phase 3, slated to begin in July, will involve vaccinating anyone older than 16.
10 minutes. That’s all you need. Please do not arrive for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment more than 10 minutes early. Thank you for helping us keep lines physically distanced and our clients and staff safe. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VaccinateKFLA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VaccinateKFLA</a> <a href="https://t.co/29foJ2bUzi">pic.twitter.com/29foJ2bUzi</a>—@KFLAPH
Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers.
Officials expect everyone over the age of 65 to be vaccinated by mid-April and everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24.
Symptoms and testing
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.
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If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
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In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.
People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies.
Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one.
Check with your area's health unit for clinic locations and hours. Some are offering pop-up or mobile clinics.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Maniwaki and Petite-Nation.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
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 call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
For more information
- Ottawa Public Health.
- Your 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.