What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 11

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

Key updates on COVID-19 in the region

A pedestrian in a mask passes a restaurant on promenade du Portage in downtown Gatineau, Que.'s Hull community in late April 2021. (Guillaume Lafreniere/Radio-Canada)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Quebec Premier François Legault says the strict pandemic rules for Gatineau, the Pontiac and Collines-de-l'Outaouais end Monday, when those areas will become a red zone along with the rest of the region.

That means high schools and non-essential businesses can reopen, and the curfew will move to 9:30 p.m.

Random police checkpoints will continue on the Quebec side of the border with Ontario.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 67 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths Tuesday. One of the two people who died was a woman in her 20s, the city's youngest COVID-19 victim.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged provinces today to maintain strict public health measures until COVID-19 case counts are much lower than they are now , so that Canadians can enjoy a "one-dose summer."

How many cases are there?

The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining contact tracing and pushing hospitals past their limits.

As of Tuesday, 25,513 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,285 known active cases, 23,701 resolved cases and 527 deaths.  

Public health officials have reported more than 46,500 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 43,500 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 181 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 205.

Akwesasne has had nearly 680 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any.

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.

The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were 27 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs.

What can I do?

Eastern Ontario:

Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least May 20. Its health minister says that it will likely be extended.

People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising in their immediate area.

The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services.

Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues.

Ontario has indefinitely moved to online learning. Daycares remain open.

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Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items.

Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery.

Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally.

Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa is doing around playgrounds and Prince Edward County is doing around travel.

Western Quebec

Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. 

High schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed in Gatineau, the Pontiac and Collines-de-l'Outaouais until Monday.

A view of Gatineau, Que., from across the Ottawa River on May 5, 2021. (Christian Patry/CBC)

Private gatherings are banned in those areas, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Papineau are red zones with looser restrictions, meaning a 9:30 p.m. curfew and allowing secondary schools and non-essential businesses to reopen. The rest of the region joins it next week.

People are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air.

People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are now established.

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 walk in Ottawa in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday, May 17, 2020. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec.

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

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.

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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 Quebec and Ontario.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.

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Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. 

Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second.

More than 920,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 420,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 185,000 in western Quebec.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario's general vaccination age is 50 and older. Other factors such as jobs and health conditions also qualify — this category has expanded today.

People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

Appointments are available through the province for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's three "hot spot" postal codes, Indigenous adults and, through the city, Ottawans in more than 20 "priority" neighbourhoods.

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People who are 40 or will be this year can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine. Six Ottawa pharmacies in hot spots are offering a limited supply of Moderna vaccines to people age 18 and up.

Ontario is speeding up the second dose for some groups, such as frontline health-care workers and Indigenous people.

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It plans to allow everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24 and expects about two-thirds of adults to have a first dose by the end of May.

People as young as age 40 can book through the province starting Thursday.

Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details.

Western Quebec

Quebec's vaccination plan covers people 30 and older in the Outaouais, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, including pregnancy.

The province plans to reach children as young as 12 in June. The next expansion is tomorrow, when people as young as 25 can get immunized.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone.

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.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help.

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.

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.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.

People can make an appointment and check wait times online.

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.

Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593.

Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish.

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

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