What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 21

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

Key updates on COVID-19 in the region

Carpenters work on a new home in a newly constructed subdivision in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Recent developments:

  • We have federal updates on pandemic support and vaccines.
  • Ontario's next reopening steps will be shared on Friday.
  • Someone with COVID-19 has died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties.

What's the latest?

    The Liberal government gave updates Thursday on new pandemic support programs, proof of vaccination for international travel and how many doses Pfizer would send if its vaccine for children age five to 11 is approved.

    Ontario's government says its next reopening steps will be announced on Friday.

    The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is reporting its 63rd person with COVID-19 has died.

    How many cases are there?

    As of Wednesday, Ottawa has a total of 30,555 cases of COVID-19. There are 223 known active cases, 29,730 cases are considered resolved, and 602 people have died from the illness.

    Public health officials have reported more than 56,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 54,900 cases now resolved.

    Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 213 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 222.

    Ottawa and Kingston hospitals are caring for ICU patients from Saskatchewan.

    Akwesasne has had more than 1,000 residents test positive for COVID-19 and has reported 12 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. 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 is expected to announce next steps tomorrow. 

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

      A cyclist makes their way along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

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

      Its vaccine passport system is in place for people of an eligible vaccine age at least until the springQR codes for scanning start being used tomorrow, on top of the paper and PDF options currently in use.

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

      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. Restaurants will lose capacity and hour limits on Nov. 1.

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

      Gatineau Olympiques fans are screened for their COVID-19 status as they enter the Centre Slush Puppie in Gatineau, Que., for a game on Oct. 9, 2021. (Alexander Behne/Radio-Canada)

      Quebecers can use an app or show paper proof; people from out of province will have to show paper proof. The province has a new record specifically designed for use out of the province.

      The premier says the pandemic state of emergency order that gives the government special powers will be lifted once kids aged five to 11 are vaccinated.

      What can I do?


      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 considering distancing from anyone you don't live with.

      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.

      Artist John Felice Ceprano places a stone as he makes one of his balanced natural rock sculptures in the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Ceprano has been creating the sculptures since 1986. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

      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.

      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 areas where COVID-19 is spreading more than others, such as Akwesasne.

      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.

      WATCH | The role of the flu shot in the coming months: 

      Doctors urging flu shots to prevent further health-care strain

      10 months ago
      Duration 3:30
      Canadians are being urged to get flu shots as soon as possible because doctors expect the flu season to be much worse than last year, when there were very few cases. They want to avoid further strain on the health-care system already struggling with COVID-19.


      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 travellers to be fully vaccinated as of Nov. 8. Some people with mixed doses will be allowed to cross the border.

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he's "very confident" countries around the world will accept Canadians' 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. Trial data is being reviewed for the first shot for younger kids.

      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

      Ontario 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 online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies and some family doctors offer vaccines through their own booking systems.

      Local health units have flexibility, including for booking and third shots, so check their websites for details.

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

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

      Western Quebec

      Anyone 12 and older can make an appointment 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 COVID-19 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.

      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.


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