What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, March 23

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, March 23

Recent developments:

  • Quebec, Ontario order all non-essential businesses to close by Tuesday night.
  • Premier Ford says he doesn't think schools can reopen April 6.
  • Passengers without symptoms released from CFB Trenton tomorrow; 21 others stay longer.

What you should know

Ottawa Public Health continues to ask all residents to practise social distancing as much as possible because people may be carrying the novel coronavirus without knowing it.

This means stay home, limit the number of people you come into close contact with, avoid non-essential trips out, cancel gatherings and keep a two-metre distance from others.

The current recommendation from Ottawa Public Health is that time spent outdoors is fine — so long as you keep your distance. 

WATCH: Government will enforce social distancing if needed

But if you've recently left the country or have been in close contact with someone who has travelled, public health officials say to self-isolate for 14 days.

During self isolation, Ottawa Public Health asks that people stay inside their homes at all times.

That means asking neighbours, friends or family to pick up groceries, medications and other supplies. All deliveries should be left at the door to maintain a two-metre distance between yourself and others. 

People who feel sick should also self-isolate at home for 14 days or until 24 hours have passed after symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.

Monday, March 23, Ontario and Quebec announced all non-essential businesses had to close by midnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

Both provinces released lists of dozens of businesses Monday night that can remain open, including: grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, hotels, funeral homes, movers, insurance businesses and many others. 

WATCH: Premier announces business closures

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

Quebec has also banned gatherings of more than two people and told residents not to travel within the province.

Watch: Police in Quebec can fine or jail those who don't follow COVID-19 rules

The federal government's $82-billion aid package should start rolling out in early April.

The Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel overnight Friday, March 20. Illegal border crossings will be stopped.

More flights are being arranged for Canadians having issues leaving other countries.

Ontario is launching an e-learning program as its schools are closed until at least April 5. The premier said Monday, March 23 he didn't believe schools would resume at that time.

WATCH: How Ontario wants to help students online

Public transit is still running, but with changes including rear-door boarding on buses and now on LRT trains, and less-frequent service.

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

Spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa

As of Sunday night, Ontario's Ministry of Health confirmed 24 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa, including Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, a City of Ottawa employee at 100 Constellation Dr., a Health Canada employee at Tunney's Pasture, two Ottawa Senators and three employees of tech company Ciena in Kanata. 

Ottawa Public Health said Monday morning 11 cases initially tested positive, but are awaiting the results of a second test before being confirmed.

Ottawa's medical officer of health says computer models suggest 4,000 people in Ottawa have COVID-19, many without knowing it.

There are a total of 48 cases in eastern Ontario — including 13 separated from the public at CFB Trenton — and another eight confirmed cases in the Outaouais.

Ontario has 504 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus — eight have had two negative tests in a row and are considered resolved — and Quebec has 628 presumptive and confirmed cases.

Twenty four deaths in Canada have been linked to COVID-19: six in Ontario and four in 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.

Anyone who has difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to wake up and bluish lips or face should go to the emergency room. 

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: Why handwashing is more effective than gloves

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

The virus can also spread through close, prolonged contact, like touching or handshaking, and it can spread from person to person via surfaces like door handles, mobile phones, tables and light switches. 

That's why washing hands thoroughly and keeping surfaces clean, along with social distancing, can help stop its spread.

Important links and contacts

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.

If you don't have symptoms, you won't be tested and should self-isolate for 14 days.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

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

In western Quebec:

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

Anyone who's left the country should self-isolate for 14 days and call the regional help line at 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever.

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

In eastern Ontario outside Ottawa:

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.

Kingston's public health unit says to check its website for information and call Telehealth with any remaining questions.

Winchester, Ont.

On Friday, the Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH), located in Winchester, Ont., announced it is preparing a COVID-19 Assessment Centre, with the help of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).

The hope is the facility will never have to be used, the hospital wrote in a release.

"There is no planned opening date as WDMH is currently seeing a very small number of patients with COVID-19 symptoms," the release states.

Hawkesbury, Ont.

Hawkesbury, Ont., is opening an assessment centre on Monday, March 23. The centre will be located at 750 Laurier St. and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

WATCH: A look at the new Hawkesbury clinic

The EOHU is also collaborating with local emergency medical services to implement a special "Community Paramedic Program" in preparation for a potential increase in COVID-19 cases in the area.

"The new program aims to provide faster access to testing and assessments for individuals who are at higher risk, such as seniors and people with underlying health conditions, while reducing the strain on 911 services and hospital emergency rooms," he EOHU wrote in a statement.

First Nations communities

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

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

Other communities

Renfrew County is providing home testing under some circumstances.

Its public health unit says people should only call 613-735-8654 ext. 577 if they have symptoms and have returned to Canada within 14 days.

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 613-345-5685.

The province generally advises people experiencing symptoms to first call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, then their local health unit.

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