What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 4

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

Children toboggan on the crowded slopes of Westboro Beach Jan. 2, 2021. Public health advice is to stay two metres from anyone you don't live with outside and wear a mask if that's not possible. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Recent developments:

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. 

Today is the first day of school after the holidays, but most won't be returning to the classroom in both Ontario and Quebec because of holiday lockdowns in each province

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. 

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?

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.

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.

Ottawa has seen 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 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.

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.

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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

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. 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.

The first COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada.

Doses have been given to health-care workers in Ottawa and at CHSLD Lionel-Émond in Gatineau.

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.

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 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.

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

Jean Charles Cenozier, owner of Royal Prince Cuisine in Ottawa, planned to give away 1,000 free meals to people in need during the pandemic Dec. 22, 2020. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

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.

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

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.

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its first confirmed case in November and Kitigan Zibi logged its first in mid-December.

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

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