What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 2

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

Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region

A child climbs the steps of the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Recent developments: 

What's the latest?

Residents of Ottawa's West End Villa and their families have launched a $16-million class-action suit against Extendicare, the owner of the long-term care home where 19 people have died in a COVID-19 outbreak.

The claim, filed in court Thursday, alleges Extendicare was negligent and breached the basic human rights of the home's residents.

Ottawa's medical officer of health told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning the city's health-care system is in the midst of a crisis because of the growing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

WATCH | Ottawa's health-care system on the verge of collapse:

Vera Etches sounding the alarm about COVID-19 in Ottawa

3 years ago
Duration 1:23
Ottawa’s medical officer of health says the city has reached crisis territory as the virus continues to spread and asks people to limit their social interactions over the weekend.

Ottawa has set another one-day record with 142 new COVID-19 cases, Etches said during an update later Friday morning. The previous high was 105.

COVID-19 testing in Ontario is moving to an appointment-only model starting Tuesday.

The province is lowering capacity at gyms, restaurants and event spaces in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel, and is repeating the message to limit close contacts to household members, effectively cancelling the previous strategy of social circles.

How many cases are there?

As of the most recent Ottawa Public Health update on Friday, 4,530 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 767 known active cases, 3,472 resolved cases and 291 deaths.

Overall, public health officials have reported more than 6,800 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 5,300 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's open and closed?

    Health officials are telling people to see fewer people in person or they will be forced to by stricter rules.

    Ottawa's medical officer of health said Wednesday there's been an "alarming" increase of positive COVID-19 tests, urging residents to cut almost entirely back on close contact with people they don't live with or risk letting the illness spiral out of control.

    School life in 2020 with Vanessa Brohman, Grade 12

    3 years ago
    Duration 0:44
    Vanessa Brohman says lunch doesn’t feel like lunch this year because she doesn’t have the freedom to go off school property or eat in the cafeteria.

    Western Quebec's health unit says residents need to stop gathering until the end of October or, like Montreal and Quebec, it will go into the final level of its alert system and they won't be allowed to see anyone they don't live with.

    Private, unmonitored gatherings across Ontario are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

    Western Quebec is in orange alert, which means private and organized gathering limits, earlier closing hours for restaurants and recommendations against travelling to other regions.

    WATCH | What red alert means in Quebec:

    The political challenges of a second wave | At Issue

    3 years ago
    Duration 20:07
    The At Issue panel discusses the political challenges of a second wave of COVID-19 and how governments are managing the surge in cases this time around. Plus, in this extended edition, the panellists also look at the Conservative Party's strategy and messaging around COVID-19 testing.

    Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms or who has been identified as a close contact of someone who's tested positive to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.

    Kingston has also tightened its distancing rules in city parks and increased fines.

    Ottawa has closed the McNabb Arena respite centre for people without housing and has expanded services at nearby support centres.

    As of Monday, visitors to long-term care homes in Ottawa will be restricted to staff, essential visitors and one or two caregivers only.

    The respite centre for people without housing at Ottawa's McNabb Recreation Centre closes Oct. 2, 2020. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

    What about schools?

    There have been nearly 120 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff or student, most of them in Ottawa.

    Not all of them 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.

    Many school boards have a list of affected schools.

    Ontario updated its COVID-19 screening protocols for children Thursday, no longer telling them to isolate and get tested if they have just a runny nose, headache, sore throat, fatigue or diarrhea.

    They'll still be asked to stay home, but can return after at least 24 hours if they feel better.

    Some health units tweak the province's guidelines, so check with the unit in your area. OPH says it will use the province's rules.

    WATCH | How the pandemic is changing school lunch breaks:

    Quebec’s red zones shut down for 28 days to slow COVID-19 spread

    3 years ago
    Duration 2:02
    Red zone restrictions are in effect in three Quebec areas, including Montreal and Quebec City, meaning bars are closed and restaurants no longer have indoor dining for the next 28 days as the province tries to manage a spike of COVID-19 cases.

    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 precautions such as working from home, keeping your hands and frequently-touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone you don't live with, including when you have a mask on.

    Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in all of Ontario and Quebec, including transit services and taxis in some areas.

    Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.

    A man wearing a mask walks along the Ottawa River with Parliament Hill in the background during the COVID-19 pandemic on Sept. 28. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)

    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.

    Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days if they have not had a fever for at least 48 hours and has had no other symptom for at least 24 hours.

    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.

    Getting tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure may not be useful since the virus may not yet be detectable, says OPH.

    If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

    Where to get tested

    Wait times and lines have been long at many of the area's test sites, though they have been better this week.

    There have also been delays processing tests at laboratories. Ontario's testing backlog reached an all-time high Thursday.

    Ontario health officials have said they're trying to add more test capacity and are requiring an appointment for all tests as of Tuesday.

    In eastern Ontario:

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

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

    A test clinic is expected to open at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex in Orléans, likely by mid-October.

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

    WATCH | The National's At Issue on the second wave:

    In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, there are drive-thru centres in Casselman and Limoges and a walk-up site in Hawkesbury that doesn't require people to call ahead.

    Its medical officer of health says the Casselman centre will be moved to reduce its impact on traffic.

    Others in Alexandria, Rockland, Cornwall and Winchester require an appointment.

    In Kingston, the city's test site is now at the Beechgrove Complex near King Street West and Portsmouth Avenue.

    Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.

    People can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville, Picton or Trenton by calling the centre. Only Belleville and Trenton run seven days a week and also offer online booking.

    The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit has walk-in sites in Kemptville and Brockville. 

    There are permanent testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment, along with a pop-up site by appointment in Perth today.

    There is a first-come, first-served site at the Merrickville Community Centre tomorrow.

    Downtown Perth, Ont., in August 2020. Perth's pop-up test today is at the Conlon Farm Recreation Complex at 127 Smith Dr. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

    Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor. Those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.

    People can also visit the health unit's website to find out where testing clinics will be taking place each week.

    In western Quebec:

    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.

    They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

    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.

    WATCH | Three Quebec regions now in red alert:

    First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

    Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most linked to a gathering on an island in July.

    It 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 also 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 an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. 

    Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.

    For more information

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