What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 4
Key updates on COVID-19 in the region
- Some restrictions are being loosened in the Outaouais on Monday.
- Ontario wants students back in classrooms this spring, the education minister says.
- Ottawa is reporting 94 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths.
What's the latest?
Quebec Premier François Legault says elementary schools can reopen on Monday across the Outaouais.
Those are the only rule changes taking effect next week for Gatineau and the nearby Pontiac and Collines-de-l'Outaouais regions.
The Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Papineau regions are going back to red zone rules, meaning the curfew moves back to 9:30 p.m., non-essential businesses can reopen and high school students can return to the classroom.
At a news conference Tuesday, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the province wants kids to be back in school this spring and will continue to seek advice from the medical officer of health "on the way forward."
He said students who want to learn remotely next school year will be able to.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 94 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, the first time that daily number has been below 100 since late March.
OPH is reporting five more deaths including an Ottawa resident in their 40s, the city's fourth death in that age group. Four more people have died of COVID-19 in the Outaouais.
How many cases are there?
As of Tuesday, 24,751 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,777 known active cases, 22,459 resolved cases and 515 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 45,100 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including 41,600 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 177 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 201.
Akwesasne has had more than 650 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were 37 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs.
What can I do?
People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They should stay within immediate area or province unless it's absolutely necessary to leave.
The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions that include small activities with households and small religious services.
Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues.
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.
Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential.
Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until Monday across the Outaouais
Private gatherings are banned, 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.
As of Monday, elementary students can return to classrooms across the region. The Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Papineau regions are going back to red zone rules, meaning the curfew moves back to 9:30 p.m., non-essential businesses can reopen and high school students can go back to classrooms.
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
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.
OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.
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Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands.
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 800,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 365,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 155,000 in western Quebec.
- Ontario may shorten vaccine interval, looking into mixing first and second doses
- Ontario pharmacies facing 'administrative nightmare' booking 2nd vaccine doses
The province has opened up appointments for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes.
Ontario has a staggered rollout plan to expand its vaccination campaign week-by-week, allowing everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24.
Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. Some have said they won't have the vaccine supply to cover everyone who becomes eligible right away.
It's also doing a staggered expansion, reaching down to people age 18 and above as of May 14. Its next local expansion will be to people age 40 to 44 tomorrow.
Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24.
People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province.
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.
WATCH | Pandemic languishing explained:
In eastern Ontario:
As Ontario enhanced restrictions and ordered a stay-at-home order across the province, the number of COVID-19 cases in the KFL&A region have continued to rise. <a href="https://t.co/p6F5kXLjDJ">https://t.co/p6F5kXLjDJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/nncyni60Ws">pic.twitter.com/nncyni60Ws</a>—@KFLAPH
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, their contacts and people who have been told to get tested.
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.
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.
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
- 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.