Ottawa

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 13

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

Key updates on COVID-19 in the region

A person enjoys a warm fall day in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Four COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the Ottawa-Gatineau area Wednesday, three of them in Ottawa and one in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties.

Quebec has postponed the deadline for health-care workers to be fully vaccinated from Friday until Nov. 15. With 21,900 workers still not adequately vaccinated, the health minister said the system wouldn't be able to handle having so many of them suspended.

The Cornwall Community Hospital is stopping non-urgent surgeries because of the need for COVID-19 care.

Its health unit has almost as many local COVID-19 hospital patients as the rest of the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region combined and long-term care outbreaks are stopping patients from being transferred from hospital beds.

Eastern Ontario's pediatric hospital says it's been deluged with young patients as family physicians limit in-person visits due to COVID-19 and viruses kept at bay by pandemic measures re-emerge.

How many cases are there?

As of Wednesday, Ottawa has a total of 30,359 cases of COVID-19. There are 283 known active cases, 29,475 cases are considered resolved, and 601 people have died from the illness.

Public health officials have reported more than 56,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 54,100 cases now resolved.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 208 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 222.

Akwesasne has had nearly 970 residents test positive for COVID-19 and has reported 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has had 34 cases and one death. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 20 cases, with one death and an active community outbreak. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any cases.

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 are the rules?

Eastern Ontario:

Ontario is in Step 3 of its reopening plan and will stay there for the foreseeable futureIts vaccine passport system is in place at least until the spring.

General gathering limits are 25 people inside and 100 people outside. Those limits are even higher for organized events

Indoor dining capacity is based on distancing. Gyms and museums can reach a capacity of 50 per cent inside.

Ontario's back-to-school rules allow for extracurricular activities, and while masks remain mandatory, vaccines are not. School boards can go beyond these rules.

Students return to St. Benedict Catholic Elementary School in Ottawa's Barrhaven suburb on Oct. 12, 2021. The school had been closed since Sept. 28 due to a COVID-19 outbreak. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

People age 12 and up have to show photo identification and either a paper or PDF version of their vaccine receipt for many activities until an app is ready, likely in late October. There are some exemptions.

Western Quebec

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. There are no longer capacity limits for Quebec venues with assigned seats. 

School rules include masks in class for students, but don't include classroom bubbles.

A vaccine passport is in place for people age 13 and up in spaces such as public events, bars, restaurants and gyms.

Quebecers can use an app or show paper proof; people from out of province will have to show paper proof. Everyone will also have to show ID.

As in Ontario, there are medical exemptions.

Other groups are also coming out with their own COVID-19 vaccine policies, including for staff.

What can I do?

Prevention

COVID-19 primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air.

People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Variants of concern are more contagious and are established.

This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future, such as staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed —  keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on.

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Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and recommended in crowded outdoor areas.

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg artist Simon Brascoupé, left, unveils an Algonquin 'wayfinding wheel' at Ottawa City Hall with Mayor Jim Watson, right, on Oct. 12, 2021. (Alexander Behne/CBC)

Vaccines curb the spread of all variants of COVID-19 and go a long way toward avoiding deaths and hospitalizations, without offering total protection.

There's federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.

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Health leaders in the area generally say smaller Halloween gatherings are allowed with precautions for the unvaccinated and/or vulnerable. Guidance can be stricter in select areas where COVID-19 is spreading more than others, such as Akwesasne and Tyendinaga.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length of self-isolation varies in Quebec and Ontario.

Travel

All would-be travellers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30 to board a plane, train or marine vessel in Canada.

Fully vaccinated, tested and pre-approved people can come to Canada. 

The U.S. will require all foreign nationals coming to the country to be fully vaccinated in early November as a condition of reopening borders, with an exact date to be announced.

Vaccines

Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada and are now going by brand names instead of manufacturer names

The two most common are approved for youth as young as 12. Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted have submitted preliminary trial data for their COVID-19 shot for younger kids to Health Canada.

Canada's vaccine task force says people can wait as little as three to four weeks and up to 16 weeks between first and second doses.

That same task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second dosesOntario and Quebec are giving certain groups third doses.

There have been more than 3.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region — combined first, second and third doses — which has about 2.3 million residents.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario is vaccinating anyone who will be age 12 or older in 2021. People can look for provincial appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems, as do some family doctors.

Local health units have flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details.

They offer doses on short notice as campaigns shift from mass clinics to mobile clinics to fill gaps in vaccine coverage.

Third shot details depend on the health unit.

The province has recommended people age 18 to 24 get the Pfizer-BioNTech, or Comirnaty, vaccine because the Moderna/Spikevax vaccine brings a mild risk of a rare heart condition.

Western Quebec

Anyone 12 and older can make an appointment online or over the phone or visit a permanent or mobile walk-in clinic.

Symptoms and testing

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, runny nose, headache, vomiting and loss of taste or smell.

Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help.

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a test can make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.

Ontario says to only get tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.

People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Rapid tests are available in some places, including some child-care settings when risk is high.

Travellers who need a test have a few local options to pay for one.

People shop at Lansdowne Park on Oct. 7, 2021. (Sara Frizzell/CBC)

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.

People can make an appointment or see what their walk-in options are online. They can also call 1-877-644-4545 with questions.

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.

People in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg can call the health centre at 819-449-5593 for a test or vaccine; email is another option for vaccine booking.

Tests are available in Pikwàkanagàn by calling 613-625-1175 and vaccines, at 613-625-2259 extension 225 or by email. 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.

For more information

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