What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 17
Key updates on COVID-19 in the region
- Ottawa reported 36 more cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and three deaths.
- Sources say Canada is changing test requirements for short trips abroad.
- Ontario's health minister says younger kids can soon pre-register for a COVID vaccine.
What's the latest?
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 36 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday and three deaths. All three of these victims were 70 and older.
Fully vaccinated Canadians taking short trips abroad will soon no longer need proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test to return home, according to sources.
Sources, who spoke on the condition they not be named because they aren't authorized to speak on the record, said the government is only dropping the test requirement for Canadians and permanent residents for trips under 72 hours.
Enrollment in the U.S.-Canada trusted traveller programs known as NEXUS and FAST is also resuming following a pandemic hiatus — but only American centres are reopening.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Wednesday that health units will soon share more plans for if and when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for younger children, including allowing pre-registration.
How many cases are there?
As of Wednesday, Ottawa has had 31,491 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 380 known active cases, while 30,498 cases are considered resolved and 613 people have died from the illness.
Public health officials have reported more than 58,400 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 56,500 cases now resolved. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 225 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 223.
Akwesasne has had more than 1,050 residents test positive for COVID-19 and has reported 14 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
What are the rules?
Private gathering limits are 25 people inside and 100 people outside.
Under its green zone rules, 10 people are allowed to gather inside private residences and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports.
A number of new, less strict rules are now in effect, including dancing and singing allowed in restaurants, no distancing in gyms and no masks when seated in high schools.
The premier said in October the state of emergency that gives the government special powers will be lifted once kids aged five to 11 are vaccinated.
A vaccine passport is in place for most people age 13 and up in many public spaces. People can use an app or show paper proof; people from out of province can show proof from their province, territory or country.
Other groups in the region are also coming out with their own COVID-19 vaccine policies, including for staff and visitors.
What can I do?
This means it is important to take precautions such as staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and considering distancing from anyone you don't live with.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands and have supplies in case they need to isolate.
WATCH | Concerns about the lasting effects of the pandemic on older people:
The U.S. has reopened its land border with Canada. It requires all travellers — land, air and water — to be fully vaccinated. Some people with mixed doses will be allowed and it won't require a recent test.
The prime minister said in late October he's "very confident" countries around the world will accept provincial or territorial proof of vaccination.
Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada.
The two most common are approved for youth as young as 12 and Health Canada has been asked to expand that age lower for both. Health officials are well into developing plans for if one is approved.
Canada's vaccine task force says people can wait three to 16 weeks between first and second doses and it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses.
Did you receive either a first dose or a full two dose series of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19Vaccine</a> outside of Ontario? Let us know!<br><br>Anyone who received their first dose outside of Ontario must submit their proof of first dose to us at least 3 business days before receiving the second dose. <a href="https://t.co/CruX9zobVR">pic.twitter.com/CruX9zobVR</a>—@RCDHealthUnit
There have been more than 3.6 million COVID-19 first, second and third vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region, which has about 2.3 million residents.
Local health units have some flexibility so check their websites for details. They offer doses on short notice as campaigns look to fill gaps in vaccine coverage and cover expanded third dose eligibility.
The province has recommended people under 24 get the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine because the Moderna Spikevax vaccine brings a mild risk of a rare heart condition.
Symptoms and testing
"Long-haul" symptoms can last for months.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
In eastern Ontario:
Ontario says to get tested by making an appointment at a clinic if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.
Officials in Ottawa and Kingston have said they're seeing more people coming to its sites after having symptoms for several days. Since delaying testing can increase the risk of spread, they ask people not to wait.
Rapid and take-home tests are available in some places, including pharmacies and some child-care settings when risk is high. A positive test will trigger a test at a clinic.
Travellers who need a test have 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 or see if they're near a walk-in option online. They can also call 1-877-644-4545 with questions during hours the line is running.
Gargle tests are being offered in some places instead of a swab.
Rapid COVID-19 tests are available in all Quebec preschools and elementary schools.
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 COVID-19 test and vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341.
Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.
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.