What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Nov. 20

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

A nurse speaks with a driver as she demonstrates how a drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre will work at the National Arts Centre garage on Nov, 18, 2020 in Ottawa, the day before it opened. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

The province will move communities in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) from the orange "restrict" zone of its pandemic scale to the yellow "protect" zone, starting Monday at midnight.

EOHU said in a news release that the province announced this move during a press conference Friday.

The yellow phase means the region is going back to having limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors for gatherings. It will allow 50 indoors and 100 people outdoors for organized public events. 

The Kingston, Ont., area is also being moved out of the green zone into yellow as of Nov. 23.

And as Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Friday that Toronto and Peel regions will move into lockdown starting Monday, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is urging residents to avoid all non-essential travel to help the region stay in the green zone.

Ottawa, which remains in the orange zone, had 77 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday, ending a string of days where the city's rolling average had decreased.

Hospitalizations have steadily dropped since the start of last week and outbreaks have gone down significantly over the last four weeks.

After a year off, the CFL is planning a comeback in 2021 with fans in the stands. The Redblacks are scheduled to start at home June 11 against Montreal.

How many cases are there?

As of Friday, 8,104 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 412 known active cases, 7,328 cases now considered resolved and 364 people who have died of COVID-19.

Public health officials have reported more than 13,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 11,500 resolved cases.

Eighty-seven people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 70 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?

Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Travel from one region to another discouraged throughout the Outaouais. Ontario says people shouldn't travel to a lower-level region from a higher one.

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Ottawa and the EOHU are currently in the orange zone of the provincial pandemic scale, which allows organized gatherings and restaurants, gyms and theatres to bring people inside.

However, starting Monday, the EOHU will be moved to the yellow zone.

Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches has said Ottawa's situation is stable and people should focus on managing risks and taking precautions, such as seeing a few friends outside at a distance, to bring the spread down further.

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Communities in the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health Unit will also be moved to yellow as of Monday. The health unit had previously been green, the lowest level.

Dr. Kieran Moore, the local medical officer of health, has been asking residents to not see anyone they don't live with in person, even at a distance. The health unit also wants restaurant workers to get tested.

The rest of eastern Ontario remains in the province's green zone.

In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec's red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.

Indoor dining at restaurants remains prohibited and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.

The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — with more in seated venues.

This week Quebec announced what it will take to have a small holiday gathering next month and said rules won't be loosened until mid-January at the earliest.

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What about schools?

There have been about 200 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:

Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.

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 sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible 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.

People walk along Rideau Street in Ottawa's Lowertown neighbourhood Nov. 18, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

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. 

Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

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. 

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. 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.

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Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province.

Anyone seeking a test should now book an appointment. Different sites in the area have different ways to book, including over the phone or going in person to get a time slot.

People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.

Ottawa has eight permanent test sites, with additional mobile sites deployed wherever demand is particularly high. A test site should open at the McNabb Community Centre next week.

A demonstration that's closed part of Laurier Avenue means people going to the drive-thru test site at the National Arts Centre should go to the Elgin Street entrance.

Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other test site is in Napanee.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test site visiting smaller communities.

People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.

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 Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne has had its most known COVID-19 cases of the pandemic this month, with eight known active cases on the Canadian side of the international border. 

Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel.

Akwesasne schools are temporarily closed to in-person learning and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre has also closed. 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 reported its first confirmed case this month.

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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