Ontario is moving ahead with the first step in its reopening plan on Friday
Certain groups can begin booking second vaccine doses today, earlier than expected.
The province has dropped restrictions on mixing mRNA vaccines.
The pandemic is affecting access to French-language summer recreation programs.
What's the latest?
Ontario has announced it will enter the first phase of its reopening plan starting Friday.
Phase 1 allows for larger outdoor gatherings, patio dining with up to four people and non-essential retail to open at 15 per cent capacity. Outdoor religious services, group exercise and day camps for children can also resume, with limitations and health measures in place.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 19 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths on Monday.
Starting today, Ontarians age 70 and older, as well as those who got a first shot of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna on or before April 18, can book an earlier appointment for a second dose through the provincial system, if supply allows.
The province now says people who got an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna for their first shot can now get a different mRNA vaccine for their second.
As registration gets underway for summer recreation programs, French-language opportunities are more limited than normal because of the pandemic, leaving some parents concerned for their children's linguistic future.
The city is opening four cooling centres at 11 a.m. because of the heat, and anyone who shows up should bring a mask.
How many cases are there?
As of Monday, 27,320 Ottawa residents had tested positive for COVID-19. The city has 491 known active cases, dipping below 500 for the first time since November. So far, 26,247 cases have been resolved and there have been 582 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 49,500 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 47,800 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 189 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 214.
Akwesasne has had 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of Friday, there were 19 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. Some patients are even coming from Manitoba.
What can I do?
Ontario is moving into the first phase of its reopening plan on Friday.
Until then, the rules implemented under the province's "emergency brake" approach remain in place.
People can still only gather inside with their own household. Up to five people can gather outside, including people from different households.
Ontario has moved to online learning for the rest of this school year.
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. Many outdoor recreation venues can open.
Western Quebec is under orange zone rules.
People can eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants; a maximum of two people from different addresses can sit together. Gyms can reopen and masks are mandatory inside.
Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people are allowed, or 12 if playing contact-free sports. Travel throughout the province is allowed but not recommended.
As many as 2,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena and there is no longer a curfew.
The next step in Quebec's reopening plan is expected June 11, affecting bars and outdoor sports.
Distancing and isolating
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.
OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada.
Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. Ontario and Quebec are both working to speed that up.
That task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses under certain conditions. Quebec and Ontario are both doing this.
More than 1,400,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including more than 630,000 in Ottawa and more than 270,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario is now vaccinating anyone age 12 or older. People can look for provincial first dose appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900 as supply allows.
Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems as supply allows.
Health officials continue to tell people who got a first dose before a second dose was automatically booked they won't be forgotten. They say most people that want a second dose can get one by autumn.
People who got an AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine can now book a second dose of any kind after 12 weeks have passed. That can happen through a pharmacy or doctor's office or, some time this week, through the provincial system if they want a Pfizer or Moderna shot.
Ontario is speeding up other kinds of second dose appointments, by starting by allowing people in their 80s to rebook. The next two groups are eligible Monday.
Quebec is now giving a first dose to anyone 12 and older.
The province expects to have given a first dose to 75 per cent of adults by June 15 and is looking at 75 per cent of people age 12 and up getting their second dose by the end of August.
Its goal is second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine eight weeks after the first. It's moving forward with faster doses for the rest of its vaccinated groups starting this week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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