What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, March 27

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, March 27

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa now has 75 confirmed cases, according to Ottawa Public Health.
  • Resident of Orléans retirement home, spouse, test positive for COVID-19.
  • Seven patients in ICU, most in their 50s and 60s.
  • Two Hull Hospital workers among 18 COVID-19 patients in Outaouais. 
  • Brockville now has COVID-19 testing at the Memorial Centre.
  • Carleton University puts spring convocation on hold. 

What you should know

Ottawa hospitals are preparing for a surge in COVID-19 patients as the number of people infected with the coronavirus rises each day.

The Ottawa Hospital is doubling its number of intensive care beds and seeking donations of masks and other personal protective equipment at coviddonations@toh.ca

Doctors, nurses and cleaning staff in Ottawa are already starting to ration disposable masks to conserve the current supply. 

The Montfort and Queensway Carleton hospitals are preparing to open up urgent care centres for COVID-19 patients. 

LISTEN: Critical care clinics 'ready to be opened' if needed

Public health officials say there's still time to slow the spread of COVID-19 if residents keep up physical distancing or self-isolation orders and recommendations, if required. 

Physical distancing means avoiding non-essential trips out, working from home and cancelling gatherings, even with friends or extended family.

Ottawa Public Health advises residents to only be with members of their own household and stay at least two metres away from everyone else.

LISTEN: 'Too soon to say' how social distancing is affecting COVID-19 spread

Public health officials are also urging anyone who's had close contact with someone who has travelled outside the country to self-solate for 14 days.

That means staying home for two weeks and asking relatives, friends or neighbours to deliver groceries, medication and other supplies. All deliveries should be left at the door to maintain a two-metre distance.

People who feel sick should also self-isolate for 14 days or until 24 hours after their symptoms are gone, whichever is longer.

Travellers who return to Canada must now enter a mandatory 14-day period of self-isolation or face a fine of up to $750,000, or as much as six months in jail, unless they're an essential worker.

Many municipalities have declared states of emergency.

In Ottawa this allows the city to buy needed equipment and supplies without the usual procurement process, including personal protective equipment, food for the vulnerable and hotel rooms for emergency workers.

Ontario and Quebec have ordered all non-essential businesses to close.

Francis Ferland/CBC

Ontario Provincial Police said Friday officers will fine individuals or businesses that break the physical distancing rules.

Police in Quebec are also enforcing a ban on gatherings of more than two people

WATCH: Here's how some provinces are discouraging social gatherings

Sports venues such as fields and courts are closed to discourage gatherings. Park spaces remain open but playgrounds are closed. 

Quebec schools are closed until at least May, while Ontario has launched an e-learning program while its schools remain closed, likely past the initial date of April 6.

WATCH: CBC Ottawa's Local Daily for Friday, March 27

Public transit authorities are scaling back service because ridership has dropped substantially. 

Ottawa residents needing information can still call 311, and all essential services such as garbage and recycling collection, as well as some bylaw services, will continue. 

Service Canada is closing its centres to in-person visits as of Friday, March 27, focusing on telephone and online work.

Spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health says it is investigating 75 confirmed cases in the city, a total which includes cases that have tested positive once but have yet to be validated by a second test. 

Of the positive cases, 17 are in hospital and seven of those patients are in intensive care. Ottawa Public Health said most patients in intensive care are in their 50s and 60s, and only one patient is over the age of 70.

The city's medical officer of health said that's a reminder that people of any age can have severe symptoms of the virus, not just the elderly.

resident of an Orléans retirement home is among those in hospital, along with the resident's spouse. Ottawa Public Health said all other residents at the Promenade retirement home are in isolation, while employees are being monitored for symptoms.

The city saw its first COVID-19-related death on March 25, a man in his 90s with no travel history.

Ontario's Ministry of Health says 32 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. Their Friday morning update did not include a local breakdown.

WATCH: Doctors answer your questions about the coronavirus

Ottawa's medical officer of health has said last weekend computer models suggest hundreds and hundreds of people in Ottawa have COVID-19, many without knowing it.

Vera Etches said the virus could infect 4,000 people a day at its peak if physical distancing and self-isolation recommendations aren't respected.

Ontario has 993 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Quebec has 2,021 presumptive and confirmed cases.

Fifty-three deaths in Canada have been linked to COVID-19, including 18 each in Ontario and Quebec. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from a very mild, cold-like illness to a severe lung infection. The most common symptoms include fever, fatigue and a dry cough.

They may take up to 14 days to appear, which is why that's the period of self-isolation.

Older people, those with compromised immune systems and those with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

WATCH: Here's how Canadians are helping each other through the pandemic

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The virus can also spread through close, prolonged contact, such as touching or handshaking, and via surfaces such as door handles, mobile phones, tables and light switches if they touch their eyes, nose or mouth before washing their hands.

When to get tested

Anyone in Ottawa who has a new or worsening cough or fever and has travelled outside Canada, or has been in contact with a confirmed case, should go to the COVID-19 screening centre at the Brewer Arena.

The centre is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 151 Brewer Way, off Bronson Avenue near Carleton University. You don't have to call ahead.

If you meet some of the criteria but don't have symptoms, you won't be tested and should self-isolate for 14 days. If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

WATCH: Ottawa homeless shelters trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19

In western Quebec:

Gatineau's downtown assessment location is at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond.

Outaouais resident should call the regional help line at 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever, whether they've travelled or not.

If your symptoms require a trip to the emergency room, call ahead if your condition allows to let them know your travel history.

Kingston, Ont.

The assessment centre in Kingston is now at the Kingston Memorial Centre at 303 York St. It is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you develop mild to moderate symptoms after travelling, either contact your health-care provider or go to the test site.

Kingston's public health unit says to check its website for information, and call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 with any remaining questions.

Other communities

The public health unit in the Belleville, Ont., area is asking people only call it at 613-966-5500 if they've checked the website and still have questions.

The same advice goes for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark's unit at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499.

It opened a testing site by referral only at the Brockville Memorial Centre at 100 Magedoma Blvd. that's open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Referrals can come from a family doctor or the public health unit and will only be given to the sick and people who have left the country or been in close contact with a suspected or confirmed case.

Hawkesbury, Ont., has an assessment centre at 750 Laurier St. open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

Like Ottawa, only go there if you have new or worsening symptoms and have travelled or been in contact with a confirmed case. Go to CHEO if you're looking after an infant younger than six months old that fits this description.

Self-isolate if you have mild symptoms, go to the hospital if your symptoms are severe.

Only people older than age 70, who have chronic health problems or compromised immune systems can call 613-933-1375 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to ask about a home visit from paramedics.

WATCH: Violinist performs for grandmother quarantined in retirement home

Renfrew County is providing home testing under some circumstances.

Its public health unit says people who have symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed case should use the province's self-assessment tool.

Call Telehealth, their health care provider or it at 613-735-8654 if they still have more questions.

Anyone who doesn't have or can't reach a family doctor can call its new primary care centre at 1-844-727-6404 if they have questions about their health.

The province of Ontario generally advises people experiencing symptoms to call Telehealth or their health care provider.

There has been a lag of four days or more to get Ontario's test results, with more being done per day than can be processed.

The province says it's doubling its testing capacity by the end of the week and nearly quadrupling that by mid-April.

In the Outaouais, the local health agency is calling anyone whose tests take more than a week to get back to them.

It said its goal is a result in 24 to 48 hours.

First Nations communities

The Mohawk communities of Akwesasne and Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) have declared a state of emergency to prepare for possible cases.

Anyone in MBQ who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. A home test may be possible after that.

In Akwesasne, community members are asked to carry their status cards when crossing the Canada-U.S. border for essential trips.

The Algonquin communities of Kitigan Zibi and Pikwakanagan have scaled back non-essential services and are asking residents to follow public health advice.

Pikwakanagan's election on Saturday, March 28 is going ahead, with members strongly encouraged to vote remotely.

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