What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 9

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

Key updates on COVID-19 in the region

People sit on picnic tables in summer on a street that's been closed to vehicles.
People eat and drink at tables set up on a stretch of Somerset Street West closed to cars earlier this summer, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 61 more COVID-19 cases Thursday, its most in a daily report since late May. 

Anthony Di Monte, who has worked for the City of Ottawa as its chief paramedic and led its emergency response during the COVID-19 pandemic, says he plans to retire Oct. 29.

With students back in class in Ottawa's four boards, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's (OCDSB) mental health lead, shared some advice for families returning to school.

Ottawa Public Health said its symptom screening tool is down because of high traffic.

How many cases are there?

As of Thursday, 28,703 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 318 known active cases, 27,792 cases considered resolved, and 593 people who have died from the illness.

Public health officials have reported nearly 51,500 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 50,600 cases now resolved.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 200 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 215. There hasn't been a COVID-19 death reported in the region for more than three weeks.

Akwesasne has had nearly 770 residents test positive for COVID-19, 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 13, 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 Sept. 22 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.

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

Ontario allows indoor dining, with capacity limits based on distancing. Gyms, movie theatres and museums can reach a capacity of 50 per cent inside.

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

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.

WATCH | Home COVID-19 test kits coming to some Ottawa schools: 

At-home COVID-19 test kits coming to some Ottawa schools

2 years ago
Duration 1:11
Dr. Ken Farion, a physician at CHEO and medical lead for Ottawa’s COVID-19 testing taskforce, says the take-home tests being rolled out in select Ottawa schools are meant to reduce barriers for getting children tested for the disease.

    Western Quebec

    Western Quebec is now under green zone restrictions, the lowest on the province's four-colour scale. The physical distancing length in the province has been reduced to one metre.

    Ten 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. There's an adjustment period, so rules won't be enforced until Wednesday.

    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.

    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.

    Someone wears a mask as they stroll the Université du Québec en Outaouais campus in Gatineau, Que., in September 2021. (Hugo Belanger/Radio-Canada)

    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 without offering total protection. There's federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.

    Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents can now skip the 14-day quarantine when travelling back to Canada. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine.

    Fully vaccinated travellers from across the globe can now visit Canada without having to quarantine. The U.S. border remains closed to non-essential land travel until at least Sept. 21.

    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. Three are in use, with two 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 3.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region — combined first and second doses — which has about 2.3 million residents.

    Eastern Ontario

    Ontario is vaccinating anyone who will be age 12 or older in 2021. Third booster shot details depend on the health unit.

    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 standby lists and walk-in doses on short notice.

    Campaigns are shifting away from mass clinics to mobile clinics to target those who haven't yet received those first dose, or can now get their second shot.

    Western Quebec

    Quebec is vaccinating anyone 12 and older. Its goal is to provide second doses four weeks after the first.

    People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone or visit one of the province's permanent and mobile walk-in clinics.

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

    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.

    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.

    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. 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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