What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, May 14

·8 min read
Three-year-old Anya sniffs a multicoloured tulip bed in Ottawa May 13, 2021. (Brian Morris/CBC - image credit)
Three-year-old Anya sniffs a multicoloured tulip bed in Ottawa May 13, 2021. (Brian Morris/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Prince Edward County's health unit is asking seasonal residents to carefully consider their travel plans.

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 116 new COVID-19 cases and one more death Friday. One more person has died of COVID-19 in the Outaouais.

Canadians who have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine should be able to socialize with close family and friends outdoors over the summer months, Canada's chief public health officer said today.

By the fall, once 75 per cent of all eligible Canadians have had the necessary doses, restrictions on higher education, indoor sports and family gatherings can be relaxed, said Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

Those kinds of rules are ultimately set by provincial and local health authorities.

Hasting Prince Edward Public Health is reminding seasonal residents that a weekend trip is not considered essential travel. Anyone planning to spend the warmer months there should self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

How many cases are there?

The region is coming down from a record-breaking peak of the pandemic's third wave, one that has included more dangerous coronavirus variants.

As of Friday, 25,848 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,188 known active cases, 24,126 resolved cases and 534 deaths.

The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were 27 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs.

Public health officials have reported more than 47,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 44,200 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 183 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 208.

Akwesasne has had more than 680 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, 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 can I do?

Eastern Ontario:

Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least June 2.

People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising in their immediate area.

The exterior of The Ottawa Hospital campus on Smyth Road is adorned with a message of thanks for hospital workers on May 12, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The exterior of The Ottawa Hospital campus on Smyth Road is adorned with a message of thanks for hospital workers on May 12, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Brian Morris/CBC)

The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services.

Ontario has moved to online learning. Daycares remain open.

Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues.

The empty starting positions at a track facility are seen from above May 6, 2021 in Ottawa. Provincial COVID-19 measures restrict access to facilities like this.
The empty starting positions at a track facility are seen from above May 6, 2021 in Ottawa. Provincial COVID-19 measures restrict access to facilities like this.(Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items.

Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery.

Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally.

Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa is doing around playgrounds.

WATCH | The scope of Kingston's construction outbreak:

Western Quebec

High schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed in Gatineau, the Pontiac and Collines-de-l'Outaouais until Monday.

Private gatherings are banned in those areas, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people.

The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Papineau are red zones with looser restrictions, meaning a 9:30 p.m. curfew and allowing secondary schools and non-essential businesses to reopen.

The rest of the region joins it next week.

The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., will reopen on June 2. Visitors will need to buy a time-stamped ticket in advance and the Canadian Children’s Museum remains closed.
The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., will reopen on June 2. Visitors will need to buy a time-stamped ticket in advance and the Canadian Children’s Museum remains closed.(Jonathan Dupaul/Radio-Canada)

People are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air.

People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are now established.

This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like 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.

Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec.

OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.

A construction worker wears a mask on Parliament Hill in Ottawa during the COVID-19 pandemic on May 28, 2020.
A construction worker wears a mask on Parliament Hill in Ottawa during the COVID-19 pandemic on May 28, 2020.(Andrew Lee/CBC)

People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air.

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 varies in Quebec and Ontario.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.

Vaccines

Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada.

Ontario and Quebec have both stopped giving first doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, but plan to give second doses.

WATCH | Canadians who got AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn't regret it, say experts:

Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second.

About 975,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including nearly 450,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 200,000 in western Quebec.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario's general vaccination age is 40 and older. Other factors such as jobs and health conditions also qualify younger adults. People can book provincial appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

Appointments are available through the province for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's three "hot spot" postal codes, Indigenous adults and, through the city, Ottawans in more than 20 "priority" neighbourhoods.

A handful of Ottawa pharmacies in hot spots are offering a limited supply of Moderna vaccines to people age 18 and up.

Ontario is speeding up the second dose for some groups, such as frontline health-care workers and more Indigenous people.

It plans to allow everyone over age 12 to make an appointment starting the week of May 31 and expects about two-thirds of adults to have a first dose by the end of May.

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

WATCH | Second doses in Renfrew County:

Western Quebec

Quebec is vaccinating everyone age 18 and older. Teens age 16 and 17 are eligible if they have certain jobs or a chronic illness or disability.

The province plans to reach children as young as 12 in June.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone.

Symptoms and testing

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, 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.

Travellers who need a test have very 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.

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 a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593.

Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish.

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