What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 21
Key updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the region
- OC Transpo buses will be fitted with protective Plexiglas shields to protect drivers.
- Organized sports are becoming a pandemic problem in Ottawa, the city's medical officer of health warned.
- Four more people have died from COVID-19 in Ottawa and there are another 60 cases in the city, OPH reported Wednesday.
- The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has logged another death from COVID-19.
What's the latest?
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says participants in organized sports in the city are spreading COVID-19 before, during and after events.
OPH is asking players not to carpool or eat with teammates who don't live under the same roof. Participants are also being advised against sharing gear or playing on more than one team.
OC Transpo is set to install barriers on its buses to protect drivers from abusive and sometimes violent passengers — an issue the city has been looking into since the mid-2000s.
A relevant benefit now is that they offer extra protection against the spread of COVID-19.
WATCH | COVID-19 spreading during sports:
Ottawa's COVID-19 death toll has increased by four and there are 60 new cases in the city, OPH said Wednesday.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), which covers the region east of Ottawa, has also reported another COVID-19-related death.
How many cases are there?
As of Wednesday's update from OPH, 6,226 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 717 known active cases, 5,201 resolved cases and 308 deaths.
Testing numbers have been lower than the groups running it would like.
Public health officials have reported more than 9,500 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 7,900 of them resolved.
Seventy-two people with COVID-19 have died elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 35 in western Quebec.
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 Ottawa — which has been rolled back to a modified Stage 2 — and Gatineau, Que., health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) covering communities such as Hawkesbury and Cornwall has said it will likely have to roll back.
Indoor dining at restaurants has been prohibited, while gyms, cinemas, casinos and performing arts venues are all closed.
Dr. Vera Etches, the capital's medical officer of health, has said the national capital's health-care system is on the verge of collapse, with hospitalizations rising swiftly and people experiencing delays getting test results.
WATCH | OPH's morning update:
OPH and some other local health units are urging people not to have a Halloween party with other households or go trick-or-treating.
Ontario's chief medical officer of health said to listen to local officials but rule of thumb if trick-or-treating is allowed, people should stick to their neighbourhood and do it outside with their household only.
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 must close.
Quebecers are also urged not to travel to Ontario or between regions at different levels on its scale except for essential reasons.
Even though most of the region has been declared a red zone, Premier François Legault said kids can trick-or-treat as long as they don't go with friends and precautions are taken when giving out candy.
What about schools?
There have been more than 180 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:
- Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est
- Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario
- Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
- Ottawa Catholic School Board
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.
As of mid-October, a small fraction of Ottawa students and staff had tested positive.
WATCH | Grade 5 student talks about this year's lunch breaks:
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 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.
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. Kingston, Ont., has slightly different rules.
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.
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 in Belleville, Kingston and Ottawa.
Ottawa has five permanent sites, with additional mobile sites deployed wherever demand is particularly high.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.
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.
WATCH | Retired U of O prof's website watched by U.S. State Department:
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.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
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
- Ottawa Public Health.
- Your local 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.