What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 16

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

Key updates on COVID-19 in the region

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul wears a mask as she arrives for the French-language leaders debate during the Canadian federal election campaign in Gatineau, Que., earlier this month. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 60 more COVID-19 cases Thursday and no deaths. It's up to 12 active COVID-19 outbreaks with eight of those in child-care settings.

The western Quebec health authority says it has made changes to its vaccine clinic locations and hours in the coming days to match reduced demand.

Quebec's Health Ministry is defending its decision to gather the personal information of employees in the province's educational institutions, insisting that having a picture of COVID-19 vaccination coverage among staff is critical to managing the pandemic in high-risk areas.

How many cases are there?

As of Wednesday, 29,076 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 433 known active cases, 28,049 cases considered resolved, and 594 people who have died from the illness.

Public health officials have reported more than 52,300 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 51,200 cases now resolved.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 200 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 216.

Akwesasne has had more than test positive for COVID-19 — about 35 in the last week — and has reported 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases and one death. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 14, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any.

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 future. Its science table says more vaccinations and fewer contacts are needed to avoid a lockdown this autumn.

Ontario's vaccine passport system starts Wednesday for many activities.

People will have to show photo identification and either a paper or PDF version of their vaccine receipt until an app is ready, likely in late October. There will be medical exemptions.

In the meantime, COVID-19 vaccines are becoming mandatory for many activities and services.

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

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Indoor dining capacity is based on distancing. Gyms, movie theatres 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.

    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. Organized events can be much larger.

    This province's 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.

    There are medical exemptions.

    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 maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on.

    People walk along a path in Ottawa on Sept. 13, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

    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.

    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.

    Fully vaccinated, tested and pre-approved people can come to Canada. The U.S. border remains closed to non-essential land travel.

    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.


    Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Two are approved for youth as young as 12.

    Canada's vaccine task force says people can wait up to 16 weeks between first and second doses. Factors pushed provinces to drastically speed up that timeline, including supply and the more infectious delta variant.

    That same task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses.

    Ontario is giving certain groups third doses and Quebec's vaccine task force has recommended the same.

    There have been more than 3.4 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.

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

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

    A City of Ottawa vehicle is parked outside the Orange Monkey pool hall as it holds a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Sept. 15, 2021. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

    Third shot details depend on the health unit.

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

    Western Quebec

    Anyone 12 and older can make an appointment online or over the phone or visit one of the province's permanent and mobile walk-in clinics. Some hours and locations are changing in late September.

    Quebec is giving third shots to people who are immunocompromised or undergoing dialysis.

    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.

    WATCH | COVID-19 during pregnancy means 10 times higher risk of ICU admission: 

    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 should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.

    Ottawa's drive-thru COVID-19 test site on Coventry Road near the RCGT Park baseball stadium will be open until 5:30 p.m. daily instead of 2 p.m. daily as of Sunday because of increased demand, says Ottawa's testing task force.

    Ontario recommends only getting 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, now including some schools.

    Ottawa's COVID-19 testing task force says unvaccinated people without symptoms can't get the tests they need to work, learn on a university campus or attend a public event at its clinics. They need to look for a pharmacy or lab that offers it.

    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 and check wait times online. Some walk-in testing is available.

    Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

    Rapid tests are being used in schools in other parts of the province.

    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 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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