What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

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Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Quebec has cancelled plans to allow some Christmas gatherings in red zones across the province, including Gatineau. Provincial officials say COVID-19 restrictions in those regions make such exceptions unfeasible.

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Federal officials working on Canada's vaccine rollout say Health Canada could approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine within 10 days and deliveries could start at the end of December.

Ontario's daily COVID-19 update says Ottawa has 41 of the province's 1,824 newly confirmed cases.

How many cases are there?

As of Thursday, 8,608 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 371 known active cases, 7,859 cases now considered resolved and 378 people who have died of COVID-19.

Public health officials have reported more than 14,100 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 12,700 resolved cases.

Ninety people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 83 in western Quebec. 

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?

Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Ontario says this will apply through December's holidays, with people who live away from home such as post-secondary students asked to reduce close contacts for 10 to 14 days before going back.

Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout the Outaouais.

Ontario says people shouldn't travel to a lower-level region from a higher one and some lower-level health units want residents to stay put to curb the spread.

Ottawa is currently in the orange zone of Ontario's five-colour pandemic scale, which allows organized gatherings and restaurants, gyms and theatres to bring people inside.

The city's medical officer of health said on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Thursday the COVID-19 decline has stabilized and Ottawa won't be moving to yellow on Ontario's pandemic scale next week.

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Three other eastern Ontario health units are under yellow zone restrictions:

  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health.
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

That means restaurant hours, table limits and rules around capacity fall somewhere between those in place in Ottawa and the rest of eastern Ontario, which is currently green, the lowest level.

In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec's red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.

There is no indoor dining at restaurants and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.

The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — more in seated venues.

Its rules won't be loosened until mid-January at the earliest.

What about schools?

There have been about 200 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:

Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.

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Distancing and isolating

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

People can be contagious without symptoms.

This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.

Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.

A commuter waiting for a bus outside of Parliament on Dec. 2, 2020. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.

Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.

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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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 pink eye. Children can develop a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

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

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.

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

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

Ottawa has nine permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

Local city councillor Mathieu Fleury says Vanier is getting a COVID-19 test site.

Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other site is in Napanee.

People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester. The Limoges site closes Dec. 11 and reopens in Casselman Dec. 14.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test site visiting smaller communities.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.

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In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.

They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne had its most known COVID-19 cases of the pandemic in November. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel and its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back.

Akwesasne schools and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre are temporarily closed to in-person learning. It has a 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.

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its first confirmed case last month.

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

Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.

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.

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