What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 14

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

A person wearing a mask walks along the Mackenzie King Bridge in downtown Ottawa on Oct. 10, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Ottawa city council rejected a move by Coun. Shawn Menard on Wednesday that would have given the Ottawa Police Service a smaller budget increase next year, and a larger one to Ottawa Public Health.

Ottawa's medical officer of health Vera Etches is recommending people celebrate Halloween at home this year. That means no trick-or-treating or handing out candy as the city grapples with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH | The risks of trick-or-treating:

Vera Etches, medical officer of health, says the city’s high rate of infection means that going door-to-door for Halloween isn’t recommended this year. 0:52

Ottawa has just 45 more cases of COVID-19, according to Wednesday's daily update from Ottawa Public Health (OPH). There are no additional hospitalizations or deaths.

A group representing thousands of businesses in Ottawa is asking the premier and his ministers for an immediate meeting about the province's decision to close down certain sectors in COVID-19 hot spots.

Speaking to Ottawa city council on Wednesday, Etches said she "absolutely" supports the province's decision, pointing out the city currently has the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission in Ontario.

WATCH | Ottawa now leads province in this COVID-19 category:

Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, says the number of cases per 100,000 residents has exceeded the rate of infection in other Ontario cities, including Toronto. 1:08

How many cases are there?

As of OPH's Wednesday update, there have been 5,707 Ottawa residents who've tested positive for COVID-19.

That includes 769 known active cases, 4,641 resolved cases and 297 deaths.

Overall, public health officials have reported more than 8,500 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 6,800 of those cases considered resolved.

COVID-19 has killed 104 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 34 in the Outaouais and 18 in other parts of eastern Ontario.


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.

In Ontario, occasionally seeing a small number of other people at a time outdoors while remaining more than two metres apart carries a lower risk of transmission.

Western Quebec residents need to stop seeing all people they don't live with, with some exceptions.

Gatineau is now in the COVID red zone -- the highest level on Quebec's COVID-19 alert scale. 8:20

In Ottawa, the second wave is being driven by people ignoring health rules.

It has been rolled back to a modified Stage 2, closing dine-in service, gyms, theatres and more, and moved to red on its alert scale, with hospitalizations doubling in less than three weeks.

The city's medical officer of health has said the entire health-care system is on the verge of collapse, while residents are being told not to have a Halloween party with other households or go trick-or-treating.

Gatineau and parts of the Outaouais are now on red alert, which means restaurants and bars can't serve people indoors, organized sports are suspended and theatres and performance halls must close.

Quebecers are also urged not to travel to Ontario or between regions at different levels on its scale except for essential reasons.

What about schools?

There have been about 170 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.

People can be contagious without symptoms.

This means people should take precautions like 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.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and are recommended outdoors when people can't stay the proper distance from others.

Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate, as should anyone told to by a public health unit. If Ottawans don't, they face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.

People living with someone waiting for a test result in Kingston, Ont., now do not need to self-isolate, while someone with COVID-19 there has to isolate for at least 10 days from the day they first experience symptoms.

Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days under certain conditions.

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.

Two Ottawa doctors talk about the uptick in Ottawa residents in hospital for COVID-19 treatment and how they are dealing with the increased intake. 13:47

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.

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.

Most of Ottawa's testing happens at four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high

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

The trail in the Mer Bleue Bog in east Ottawa is marked with one-way arrows to try to distance hikers in October 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

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. Pop-up sites are coming to Carleton Place tomorrow and Perth on Friday.

Signs on the doors of businesses in Carleton Place, Ont., in March. Ontario's premier is renewing calls for people to support businesses by ordering takeout, particularly in areas such as Ottawa where dine-in service is now illegal. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

In Kingston, the test site is at the Beechgrove ComplexNapanee's test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.

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 COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.

WATCH | How rapid COVID-19 tests work:

David Juncker explains how the rapid antigen test, newly approved by Health Canada, can help detect the risk of active transmission. 3:51

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.

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.

Roller-skiers use a Gatineau Park roadway in October 2020. The morning closure of some of the park's roads to vehicles is scheduled to end Oct. 25. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne has a mobile 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.

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.

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.

For more information

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