What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, April 3

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

Key updates on COVID-19 in the region

A pedestrian walks by a mural featuring a masked health-care worker on Ottawa's Rideau Street on Thursday, April 1. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa reported a record-setting 240 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. 
  • Ontario is now in a provincewide shutdown, one that started just after midnight.
  • Here are the latest rules under the new restrictions. 
  • Chinese-Canadian Jiayue Zhan offers advice to those who are also experiencing racist encounters during the pandemic.
  • When the pandemic was declared we all started spending more time at home, but we didn't all become homemakers. CBC spoke to professional cleaners and academics about our messy lives.

What's the latest?

Ottawa set a new record on Saturday, logging 240 new COVID-19 cases, the highest one-day total of the pandemic. 

One death was also recorded, bringing the city's death toll to 467. Another 131 new cases were reported in western Quebec. 

Ontario is now in a four-week provincewide shutdown after a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The restrictions mean restaurants are closed to in-person dining, both indoors and on patios until the end of the month. Gyms and personal care services are also shuttered.

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To help provide extra testing capacity over the long weekend, the Ray Friel assessment centre will be open Sunday using a third-party contractor to conduct tests on patients aged four and older.

Ottawa residents turning 70 or older this year can book appointments online to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments are available between April 8 and 21 at one of four immunization clinics. 

People are being asked not to cross the Ottawa River to go into Quebec, except for essential travel. The Outaouais is currently under Quebec's red zone rules. Gatineau, Que. and the MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais are under a curfew that begins at 8 p.m.

Jiayue Zhan experienced racism growing up but feels there's been a marked increase in incidents since the pandemic. She writes about what she's experienced first-hand, and her advice to others in her community.

Stuck at home during the pandemic? Find yourself doing mountains of dishes, never-ending loads of laundry and fighting a losing battle against clutter? CBC spoke with families, professional cleaners and academics about our messy pandemic lives.

Does this sink full of dirty dishes look familiar? CBC spoke with families, entrepreneurs, industry experts and academics about why COVID-19 seems to have translated into more labour at home. (Aaron Favila/Associated Press)

How many cases are there?

As of Saturday, 17.825 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,516 known active cases, 15,842 resolved cases and 467 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 32,400 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 28,800 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.

Kitigan Zibi has had 21 confirmed cases and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had nine, with one death.

CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch.

What can I do?

Eastern Ontario:

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.

Ontario's shutdown that started today, includes rules similar (but not identical to) grey-lockdown rules.

Gyms and personal care services must close and restaurants are only available for takeout. Non-essential businesses are able to open at 25 per cent capacity.

People sit on a patio at a restaurant in the ByWard Market on Friday, April 2, 2021. It was the last day people could dine indoors or outdoors at restaurants across Ontario before the provincewide shutdown came into effect Saturday. (Olivier Hyland/Radio-Canada)

Indoor gatherings are not allowed under the shutdown, except for people who live together and the usual exception for people who live alone. Outdoor gatherings can have a maximum of five distanced people and religious services, weddings and funerals are capped at 15 per cent capacity indoors and as many people as can be physically distanced outdoors. Social gatherings, such as receptions, fall under the rules for indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Schools won't 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.

Local health units can also set their own rules, like what Kingston's is doing around gatherings, Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Renfrew County's is doing around dining.

The new rules may replace some or all of those local rules.

Western Quebec

Quebec is now in its third wave. Premier François Legault said the situation is critical in Gatineau and asked people there to only leave home when it's essential.

Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed 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.

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Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. Places of worship can have a maximum of 25 people.

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 for those areas 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.

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

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person speaks, coughs, sneezes, or breathes onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.

People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. New coronavirus variants can be more contagious and are spreading quickly in some places.

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.

Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec.

OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.

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.

People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario.


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 2 should include people with underlying health conditions in April, followed by people who can't work from home or are 60 and older in June.

Phase 3, slated to begin in July, will involve vaccinating anyone older than 16.

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Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details.

Some Ottawans in certain neighbourhoods can check their eligibility online and call the city at 613-691-5505 for an appointment. So can Indigenous people over age 16.

People who are above or turning age 55 can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment as part of a pilot project. 

Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers.

The vaccination plan now covers people age 65 and older at western Quebec clinics. That will be followed by essential workers and finally the general public.

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.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there will also be giving shots and people can book their appointments now in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge.

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.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help.

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment

Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria.

People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies.

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ICUs filling with younger COVID-19 patients

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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.

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 ave. Buckingham. They can check the wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

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:

Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. It's closed to non-essential visits until April 11.

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.

People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593.

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

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