What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 4
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- Ottawa is reporting 104 new COVID-19 cases and one more death.
- Ottawa Public Health now classifies the city as a red zone.
- Students return to virtual class today.
- Google data gives one sample of how Ottawa's behaviour is changing in the pandemic.
What's the latest?
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 104 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, down from Sunday's record of 184. One more person has died of COVID-19.
The infection rate in Ottawa has risen dramatically since around Christmas, an increase experts attribute to activity before the current lockdown, which went into effect Dec. 26.
OPH now classifies the city as a red zone, a more severe outlook than its previous orange zone designation. The new classification would normally mean tighter restrictions, but because the city remains under a 28-day provincewide shutdown, there's no change from the current rules.
Data from tech giant Google reveals what people in Ottawa were searching for online during the pandemic.
How many cases are there?
In Ottawa, 10,472 people have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 789 known active cases, 9,290 resolved cases and 393 deaths linked to COVID-19.
Public health officials have reported more than 18,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 16,300 resolved cases.
Ninety-two people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 119 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.
In-person shopping is 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 the rules to be in place until Jan. 23, although that could change for each health unit depending on the data.
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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.
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, socializing outdoors and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.
Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.
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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.
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Symptoms and vaccines
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
The first COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada.
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
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. Hawkesbury's site is closed today and the Alexandria and Casselman sites will temporarily close next week.
People can arrange a test in Picton by calling the centre or Bancroft, 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 Maniwaki, Fort-Coulonge and as of this week, 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 more than 50 residents test positive, with several known active cases.
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.
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.