What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 16
Key updates on COVID-19 in the region
- Ottawa reports 22 more cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Wednesday.
- Praise, cautious optimism greets today's reopening of the Ontario-Quebec border.
- Two Ottawa music festivals plan in-person concerts this summer.
- Researchers are watching a recent increase in wastewater coronavirus.
What's the latest?
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) confirmed another 22 cases of COVID-19 and one death Wednesday.
Restaurateurs say they are ready to feed empty stomachs from both sides of the Ottawa River as non-essential travel between Ontario and Quebec is legal once again.
Some Ottawa music festivals cautiously plan to reunite musicians with live audiences this summer as vaccination numbers rise.
WATCH | The recent rise in coronavirus levels in wastewater:
How many cases are there?
As of Wednesday, 27,481 Ottawa residents had tested positive for COVID-19. There are 287 known active cases, 26,608 cases considered resolved and 586 people have died.
Public health officials have reported more than 49,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 48,300 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 190 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 214.
Akwesasne has had about 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions hospitals continues. As of Tuesday, there were three COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs.
The Kingston area has also been taking many patients from other areas.
What can I do?
Up to 10 people can gather outside, including people from different households. Indoor gatherings between households are generally not allowed.
Gyms and personal care services are closed. Ontario has moved to online learning for the rest of this school year.
The province's reopening plan leans on rates of spread, hospitalization and vaccination. The next step would come in early July at the earliest, allowing small indoor gatherings, outdoor sports and personal care services.
Western Quebec is under yellow zone rules. This brings back some masked indoor gatherings for people who don't live together.
People can eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants and bars; a maximum of two people from different addresses can sit together.
Gyms can reopen and masks are mandatory inside.
Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people are allowed, or 25 if playing contact-free sports. As many as 2,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena and there is no longer a curfew.
Travel throughout the province is allowed but not recommended.
The next step in its reopening plan should start June 25, bringing back festivals and allowing people with two vaccine doses to do more.
Distancing and isolating
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on.
People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. These rules should change soon.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. Supply and the more infectious delta variant are some of the factors pushing provinces to speed that up.
That same task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses under certain conditions. Quebec and Ontario are both doing this.
More than 1,750,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including more than 775,000 in Ottawa and more than 300,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario is vaccinating anyone age 12 or older. People can look for provincial appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.
Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems, as do some family doctors.
Ontario is speeding up second dose appointments. The next expansion locally is planned for July 19 for people who got a first Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna dose on or before May 9.
All of these bookings depend on the supply being sent to health units.
Health officials continue to tell people who got a first dose before a second dose was automatically booked they won't be forgotten. They say most people that want a second dose can get one by autumn.
Its goal is second doses eight weeks after the first, allowing people to rebook by age. That has now expanded to people age 45 and over, moving to 40 and over tomorrow.
The local health authority is not offering walk-in AstraZeneca shots for the time being because of supply.
The province is looking at 75 per cent of people age 12 and up getting their second dose by the end of August.
Symptoms and testing
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 tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.
Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
For more information
- Ottawa Public Health.
- Your 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.