What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Aug. 19
Key updates on COVID-19 in the region
- Unvaccinated people are about 20 times more likely to get COVID-19 in Ottawa than fully vaccinated individuals, officials say.
- OPH says COVID-19 testing centres won't be crowded when schools return.
- Ottawa reports 19 more COVID-19 cases Thursday.
What's the latest?
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches warns the delta variant of COVID-19 is driving a resurgence of new cases in Ottawa, including 60 per cent of people who tested positive over the past month.
Etches says the risk of contracting COVID-19 is about 20 times higher among unvaccinated people than it is among vaccinated individuals.
Of the 168 Ottawa residents who tested positive for the virus between July 4 and Aug. 7, 112 were unvaccinated, 6 had received one dose but were not fully protected, 36 had received one dose, and 14 were fully vaccinated, according to Ottawa Public Health (OPH) data.
Despite the uptick in cases, Etches said hospitalizations and outbreaks remain low and OPH is working to decrease barriers to vaccination, encouraging people to continue wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, and limiting their close contacts.
She added extra laboratory capacity and take-home tests should help avoid last year's long testing lines when students go back to class.
OPH reports 19 more COVID-19 cases Thursday.
How many cases are there?
As of Thursday, 28,049 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 128 known active cases, 27,329 cases considered resolved, and 593 people who have died from the illness.
Public health officials have reported more than 50,900 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 49,600 cases now resolved.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 199 people have died with COVID-19. In western Quebec, the death toll is 215.
Akwesasne has had more than 725 residents test positive with COVID-19, and has reported 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
What are the rules?
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.
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 where 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.
This province's school plans don't include classroom bubbles or masks in class.
What can I do?
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future, such as 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 variants of COVID-19.
There's federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.
Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents can now skip the 14-day quarantine when travelling back to Canada. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine.
Fully vaccinated Americans can visit Canada without having to quarantine, while tourists from all other countries are set to be allowed as of Sept. 7. The U.S. border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least Saturday.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
That same task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses.
There have been more than 3.2 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 who will be age 12 or older in 2021. It will offer third booster shots to certain vulnerable groups.
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.
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.