What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 30
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- Ottawa is reporting 64 more COVID-19 cases; many key indicators continue to rise.
- The city is unlikely to exit lockdown early if the trend persists, says Dr. Vera Etches.
- People visiting the city's outdoor rinks must wear masks, except those actively skating.
- The deadly outbreak at Extendicare Starwood is over.
- Five more people have died of COVID-19 in western Quebec.
What's the latest?
Dr. Vera Etches says it's unlikely the nation's capital will leave lockdown before the rest of the province on Jan. 23. Many of the city's key indicators would qualify Ottawa as a red zone if trends continue.
Ottawa Public Health reported 64 more people testing positive for COVID-19 in its Wednesday update and no more deaths.
One of the city's largest outbreaks of the pandemic has ended at the Extendicare Starwood long-term care home.
Five more western Quebec residents have died of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa suggests residents keep masks handy when visiting outdoor rinks.
It says anyone within 15 metres from the rink's edge is required to wear a mask.
According to Roger Chapman, director of by-law and regulatory services, "if rink users are actively engaged in skating, masks are not mandatory, but they are highly recommended as per public health guidelines."
An OC Transpo employee has tested positive for the virus. The individual began to develop symptoms on Dec. 27, and has been self-isolating since Dec. 28.
The city says the employee wasn't in close contact with the public but visited public areas along the Confederation Line. Contact tracing is underway.
How many cases are there?
In Ottawa, 9,866 people have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 473 known active cases, 9,001 resolved cases and 392 deaths linked to COVID-19.
NEW: <a href="https://twitter.com/ottawacity?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ottawacity</a> will be mandating masks on city rinks beginning at 5pm today. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottnews?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ottnews</a> <a href="https://t.co/jvhOjdmkFG">pic.twitter.com/jvhOjdmkFG</a>—@NewsHoff
Public health officials have reported more than 17,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 15,700 resolved cases.
Ninety-two people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 112 people have died in western Quebec.
What can I do?
With Ontario's lockdown measures now in effect, the Ontario government says people need to stop gathering and moving across the province to avoid even more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths — including in areas with low case counts.
- Ford orders lockdown for all of Ontario starting Boxing Day
- Read the full Ontario COVID-19 shutdown plan
People are asked to only leave home when they need to, stay in their health unit and if they leave the province, to isolate for 14 days upon returning.
No indoor public events or indoor social gatherings are allowed, except with members of the same household or one other home for people who live alone.
Outdoor gatherings can't have more than 10 people and should be distanced and masked.
In-person shopping will be limited to essential businesses. Restaurants and non-essential businesses can offer curbside pickup and delivery.
Schools won't immediately return with in-person classes, except for some post-secondary classes. Child-care centres will be open, but day camps will not.
The plan is for rules to be in place for four weeks, though that could be changed for each health unit depending on the data.
In the red zone of western Quebec, health officials are also asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential with an exception for people living alone to visit one other home.
Quebec has shut down non-essential businesses until at least Jan. 11 and has extended holiday school closures until the same date.
Being in the red means no indoor dining at restaurants, while gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.
Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout Quebec.
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.
Health officials have confirmed Ottawa's first case of a new variant of COVID-19, first identified in the United Kingdom.
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.
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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.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get friends and family to help with errands.
Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.
Symptoms and vaccines
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
The first COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada.
- Health Canada waiting on more data before making a decision on AstraZeneca vaccine
- How Canadians could know when it's their turn to get vaccinated
In Ontario, it's expected that will expand to priority groups such as older adults and essential workers in April, with vaccines widely available to the public in August.
Where to get tested
Many clinics have different hours around Christmas and New Year's Day, with more information in the links below.
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.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester.
People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test clinic visiting smaller communities or people with problems getting to a site.
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.
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 most of its known COVID-19 cases in November, but still has an active case. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel, and its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back.
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.
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.
For more information
- Ottawa Public Health.
- Your local 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.