What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Jan. 13

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

Masked pedestrians walking in downtown Ottawa on Jan. 8, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michel Aspirot/CBC)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Ontario residents and municipal officials including those in Ottawa are awaiting details of the province's stay-at-home order, which goes into effect at midnight.

Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday anyone unsure whether their outing is essential should stay home. Ford's office said the details of the order will likely be shared this evening, but won't include a definitive list of what's considered essential activity and what's not.

Ontario also said Wednesday it plans to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in all nursing homes and high-risk retirement homes by Feb. 15.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 179 more COVID-19 cases in Ottawa, with a record per capita rate of new cases and more patients in intensive care.

One more person has died of COVID-19 in western Quebec.

How many cases are there?

In Ottawa, 11,747 people have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,217 known active cases, 10,132 resolved cases and 398 deaths from COVID-19. 

Public health officials have reported more than 21,100 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 18,100 resolved cases.

Ninety-nine people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 137 people have died 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?

Ontario says people need to only leave home when essential to avoid more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

As of tomorrow, people who leave home for non-essential reasons can be fined. 

The province's examples of essential reasons include getting groceries, exercising and accessing health care and each should be done close to home.

Travel within Ontario is not recommended. Residents who leave the province should isolate for 14 days upon returning.

Private gatherings are not allowed. Outdoor household gatherings can't have more than five people. People who live alone are still allowed to interact with one other household.

Outdoor recreation venues remain open for now. Ottawa's new rules restricting some outdoor activities are under review in light of Ontario's updated lockdown.

People at an outdoor rink in Ottawa skate while wearing masks on Jan. 11. A stay-at-home order starts on Thursday for Ontarians. (Michel Aspirot/CBC)

In-person shopping is limited to essential businesses. Others can offer pickup and delivery.

The province will announce by next Wednesday which school boards can again offer general in-person learning. Child-care centres remain open.

The lockdown rules are in place until at least Feb. 11.

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In western Quebec, residents are asked not to leave home unless it's essential and not see anyone they don't live with, with an exception for people living alone who can visit one other home.

Quebec's 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is now in effect, with fines of up to $6,000 for breaking the rules.

It has shut down non-essential businesses and has extended secondary school closures until next week.

Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout Quebec.

Those rules are in place until Feb. 8.

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 they have symptoms, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.

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Masks, preferably with three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others. 

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

A pedestrian walks near the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa street Jan. 8, 2021. (Olivier Hyland/Radio-Canada)

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 Ontario and Quebec.

Anyone returning to Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days. Air travellers have to show recent proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

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.

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Symptoms and vaccines

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 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.

COVID-19 vaccines have been given to health-care workers and long-term care residents in most of the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

The exception for now is Renfrew County, which said it expects its first doses early next month.

Ontario wants every long-term care resident and worker to have at least one shot by Feb. 15.

About 10,000 Ottawa residents had received at least one dose as of Jan. 6. More doses arrived today.

In Ontario, it's expected that vaccination will expand to priority groups such as older adults and essential workers in April, potentially March, with vaccines widely available to the public in August.

Ottawa believes it can have nearly 700,000 residents vaccinated by then.

Quebec has a somewhat controversial policy of giving a single dose to as many people as possible rather than giving fewer people two doses.

As of Jan. 12, western Quebec's health authority had given out about 3,600 doses.

Where to get tested

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 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.

Ottawa has 10 permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester. Its Alexandria and Casselman sites are temporarily closed.

A sign in the border community of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Que., Jan. 12, 2021 tells Ontarians they're only supposed to cross to Quebec for essential reasons. Quebec is also putting up signs about its 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew along certain Ottawa River crossings. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada)

People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.

Kingston's main test site is at the Beechgrove Complex, another is in Napanee.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile clinic.

Renfrew County test clinic locations are posted weekly. Residents can also call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 with health questions.

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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, Fort-Coulonge 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 had nearly 100 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and four deaths. More than 200 people have tested positive across the community.

Its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back and 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 only confirmed case in November. Kitigan Zibi logged its first in mid-December and has had more since.

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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