What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19

·7 min read
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19

Recent developments:

  • The Canada-U.S. border is now closed until Nov. 21.

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health is reporting 52 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

The city's average of newly confirmed cases is down from last week's all-time high, but still much higher than when the second wave was declared just over a month ago.

The Canada-U.S. border closure has been extended until Nov. 21, according to the federal public safety minister. Otherwise, it would have ended on Wednesday.

The pandemic could be leaving a permanent mark on Ottawa's downtown, as legions of workers mark more than six months since stepping into their downtown offices.

How many cases are there?

As of Monday's update from OPH, 6,088 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 759 known active cases, 5,026 resolved cases and 303 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 9,200 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 7,600 of them resolved.

Seventy people with COVID-19 have died elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 35 in western Quebec.

What can I do?

Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with or one other home if people live alone.

In Ottawa — which has been rolled back to a modified Stage 2 — and Gatineau, Que., health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.

Indoor dining at restaurants has been prohibited, while gyms, cinemas, casinos and performing arts venues are all closed.

WATCH | Q&A on higher-risk activities:

Dr. Vera Etches, the city's medical officer of health, has said the national capital's health-care system is on the verge of collapse, with hospitalizations rising swiftly and people experiencing delays getting test results.

Both OPH and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit are urging people not to have a Halloween party with other households or go trick-or-treating.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health said to listen to local officials but rule of thumb if trick-or-treating is allowed, people should stick to their neighbourhood and do it outside with their household only.

Gatineau and parts of the Outaouais are now on red alert, which means restaurants and bars can't serve people indoors, organized sports are suspended and theatres must close.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Quebecers are also urged not to travel to Ontario or between regions at different levels on its scale except for essential reasons.

Even though most of the region has been declared a red zone, Premier François Legault said kids can trick-or-treat as long as they don't go with friends and precautions are taken when giving out candy.

The Canada-U.S. border is now closed until Nov. 21, according to the federal public safety minister.

What about schools?

There have been more than 180 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:

Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.

People can be contagious without symptoms.

This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.

WATCH | How Ottawa's urban spaces may be forever changed by the pandemic:

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and are recommended outdoors when people can't stay the proper distance from others.

Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate, as should anyone told to by a public health unit. If Ottawans don't, they face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court. Kingston, Ont., has slightly different rules.

Some people waiting for test results in Quebec don't have to stay home. Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days under certain conditions.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.

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 cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell.

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province.

Anyone seeking a test should now book an appointment. Different sites in the area have different ways to book, including over the phone or going in person to get a time slot.

People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies in Belleville, Kingston and Ottawa.

A new COVID-19 testing clinic at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex in Orléans opens to the public at noon today. Going forward, it will offer tests using the appointment-based model from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Ottawa now has five permanent sites, with additional mobile sites deployed wherever demand is particularly high.

Francis Ferland/CBC
Francis Ferland/CBC

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls. Pop-up test sites are scheduled for Thursday in Carleton Place and Friday in Perth.

In Kingston, the test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.

People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.

They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

WATCH | High demand for lumber:

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne 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 visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

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.

People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259.

Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.

For more information