What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Aug. 11
Key updates on COVID-19 in the region
- Experts say 'no doubt' Canada is now in fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
- Quebec's back-to-school plan won't require classroom bubbles or masks in classes.
- Ottawa reports 10 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the number of known active cases to 82.
- Ontario reports 324 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths.
What's the latest?
With COVID-19 cases rising in multiple provinces after a summer lull, more signs point to Canada entering an expected fourth wave of the pandemic — one which could be dramatically different from earlier surges, thanks to rising vaccination rates, but not entirely pain-free.
The country's seven-day average for new daily cases is now close to 1,300 — an increase of nearly 60 per cent over the previous week, with cases ticking back up mainly in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.
Quebec won't require students in primary and secondary schools to wear masks once they are sitting at their desks this fall, according to the back-to-school plan released by Education Minister Jean-François Roberge Wednesday.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 10 COVID-19 cases and no new deaths Wednesday. There are 82 known active cases in the city.
Ontario reported 324 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths.
How many cases are there?
As of Tuesday, 27,903 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 75 known active cases, 27,228 cases considered resolved, and 593 people who have died from the illness.
Public health officials have reported more than 50,500 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including 49,400 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 198 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 215.
Akwesasne has had more than 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
What are the rules?
Ontario is in Step 3 of its reopening plan.
The plan allows indoor dining, with capacity limits based on distancing. Gyms, movie theatres and museums can reach a capacity of 50 per cent inside.
Larger general gathering limits are 25 people inside and 100 people outside. Those limits are even higher for organized events, leading to the resumption of summer festivals and professional sports.
Moving beyond Step 3 to the "exit step" will depend on health trends such as the percentage of people who are fully vaccinated. The province hasn't yet met those goals.
Western Quebec is now under green zone restrictions, the lowest on the province's four-colour scale.
The physical distancing length in the province has been reduced to one metre.
Ten people are allowed to gather inside private residences and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports.
Events during which people remain seated in designated spaces, like bleachers or stands, can now welcome up to 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.
Stadiums, venues and festivals can welcome 15,000 spectators outdoors and 7,500 people indoors.
The province's school plans depend on vaccination and overall spread.
It will be introducing a vaccine passport for non-essential services, and Quebec's premier has said details will be released soon.
WATCH | Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé unveils COVID-19 vaccination passport
What can I do?
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.
Vaccines curb the spread of all types of the coronavirus.
More than 1,427,785 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Ottawa. <br><br>There are still plenty of appointments available for 1st & 2nd doses. <br><br>Thank you for doing your part. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CommunityImmunity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CommunityImmunity</a> <a href="https://t.co/NlX1Mea0sk">https://t.co/NlX1Mea0sk</a> <a href="https://t.co/cJ4DHTpHqE">pic.twitter.com/cJ4DHTpHqE</a>—@OttawaHealth
There's federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.
Fully vaccinated Americans can visit Canada without having to quarantine starting Monday, while tourists from all other countries would be allowed as of Sept. 7. The U.S. border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Canada's vaccine task force says people can wait up to 16 weeks between doses. There are factors pushing provinces to drastically speed up that timeline, including supply and the more infectious delta variant.
That same task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses.
There have been more than 3.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region — combined first and second doses — which has about 2.3 million residents.
Ontario is vaccinating anyone age 12 or older.
People can look for provincial appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems, as do some family doctors.
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. Recently, a runny nose and headache have become more common.
Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.
Adults who live in or around <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ottawa?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ottawa</a> are invited to take part in this study aimed at assessing mix and match COVID-19 vaccine strategies.<br><br>See eligibility criteria: <a href="https://t.co/4JzgH6wi7a">https://t.co/4JzgH6wi7a</a>.<br><br>E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottnews?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ottnews</a> <a href="https://t.co/xvuUytvOcI">pic.twitter.com/xvuUytvOcI</a>—@OttawaHospital
Travellers who need a test have a few local options to pay for one. Those options now include Ottawa's Brewer Arena.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.
Akwesasne has COVID-19 test and vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.
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.