- Long-term care home residents in Ontario are now permitted to leave for short visits.
- Ottawa recorded 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, among 122 provincewide.
- A Walmart Pharmacy worker in Ottawa has tested positive for COVID-19, and public health officials say some customers may have been exposed.
- Small businesses are struggling for survival in Ottawa's downtown.
What's the latest?
Long-term care residents are now permitted to leave their homes for short stays and temporary absences, the province announced Friday, provided the facilities meet certain requirements.
Homes are expected to provide the residents with medical masks they must wear at all times during their absence.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, for a total of 193 active cases in the city.
There are currently 13 people receiving treatment in hospital, including two in intensive care.
Provincewide, there were 122 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario on Friday, concentrated primarily in the Greater Toronto Area with 32 in Toronto, 27 in Peel Region and 15 in York Region.
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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said some customers may have been exposed to COVID-19 at a Walmart Pharmacy located at 1375 Baseline Rd.
An employee who tested positive for COVID-19 worked at the pharmacy during the contagious period, according to OPH. Health officials said anyone who visited the pharmacy for 15 minutes or longer between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Aug. 15 or 16 should contact OPH.
"These individuals should immediately self-isolate and contact Ottawa Public Health by calling 613-580-6744 to determine whether their exposure was high-risk for COVID-19 transmission and if testing is recommended," according to a statement from OPH.
Small business owners in Ottawa's downtown core say the number of customers walking through their doors has slowed to a trickle with most federal public servants now working from home.
Teachers with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board say they're still waiting for information about what courses they'll be expected to teach come next month and what the expectations are for how classes will run in the midst of the pandemic.
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What's the latest on schools?
In a letter to parents, the Upper Canada District School Board said once the school year starts it "may not be possible" for students to switch between classroom and online learning.
The board said it had previously planned to allow that to happen at set intervals, but after the "unanticipated amount of interest in remote learning," it's now rethinking that.
Approximately 20 per cent of the board's student population chose remote learning. Parents had until Friday at 9 a.m. to contact schools and change their decision on their preferred learning model.
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has delayed the start of classes until Sept. 8.
Trustees also rejected a proposal to require masks for younger students, voting instead to encourage their use among children in kindergarten to Grade 3. Students in grades 4 to 12 must wear masks while indoors, including in hallways and classrooms.
Teachers with the board say they're still waiting for information about what courses they'll be expected to teach come next month, and what the expectations are for how classes will run in the midst of the pandemic.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) has also delayed the return to school. Students in kindergarten to Grade 3, as well as Grade 7, will now start Sept. 8. Kids in grades 4 to 6, along with Grade 8, will start Sept. 9. High school students will be separated into two separate cohorts, with group A starting on Sept. 14, and group B on Sept. 15.
The OCSB's starting date for online learning remains unchanged.
Quebec updated its school plans in early August, including making masks mandatory in hallways for students Grades 5 and up.
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How many cases are there?
There have been 2,910 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the pandemic began, with 193 active cases and 2,451 cases considered resolved. There have been 266 deaths related to the illness in Ottawa.
Overall, public health officials have reported more than 4,400 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 3,700 resolved.
COVID-19 has killed 102 people in the region outside Ottawa.
As of Aug. 26, 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties. Additionally, 17 people have died in other parts of eastern Ontario and 33 in the Outaouais.
What's open and closed
Ottawa is in Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan, which means more businesses are open including dine-in restaurants and movie theatres.
Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 are now allowed in that province but attendees must follow physical distancing guidelines.
Distancing and isolating
The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes on another person or object. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.
That means physical distancing measures such as working from home, meeting others outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle, including when you have a mask on.
Masks are now mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, where transit officials and taxi drivers are now required to bar access to users over age 12 who refuse to wear one.
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Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.
Anyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for people with weakened immune systems and OPH recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell.
Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pinkeye. Children can develop a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
Where to get tested
In eastern Ontario:
In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can be tested at one of three sites.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area, there is a drive-thru centre in Casselman that can handle 200 tests a day and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.
Others in Alexandria, Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.
In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is hosting the city's test site. Find it at Gate 2.
Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call for an appointment.
You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre and in Picton by texting or calling.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.
It has a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.
There are test clinics in five Renfrew County communities this week.
Its residents should call their family doctor and those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 to register for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.
In western Quebec:
Outaouais residents now can get a walk-in test in Gatineau five days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond and at recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.
They can call 1-877-644-4545 to make an appointment or if they have other questions.
As of mid-August, there were longer wait times for test results here compared to some other regions of Quebec.
Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.
It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or to Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. Face coverings are now mandatory in its public buildings.
People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259.
Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time. It plans on starting to open schools and daycares next month.
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