What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 11

·8 min read
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 11

Recent developments:

  • Public health officials are urging anyone who travelled to the United Kingdom recently to get tested for COVID-19 right away.

  • There are 10 COVID-19 patients in intensive care in the city.

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 127 more COVID-19 cases and one more death.

There are 10 COVID-19 patients in intensive care in the city, equalling the previous peak reached before Thanksgiving.

In response to growing concerns about the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 first detected in the United Kingdom, OPH is asking anyone who recently travelled to the U.K., as well as their contacts, to get tested right away.

OPH said Monday it's aware of only one person who tested positive for the new, more contagious variant of the virus. That person tested positive in December after travelling to the U.K., OPH said.

CBC News has learned that a curfew will not be among the further restrictions expected in Ontario.

As some Quebec elementary school students return to the classroom and some patients are moved to other regions to relieve pressure on overburdened hospitals, Premier François Legault is expected to speak to reporters later this afternoon.

How many cases are there?

In Ottawa, 11,505 people have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,207 known active cases, 9,900 resolved cases and 398 deaths from COVID-19.

Public health officials have reported more than 20,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including about 17,700 resolved cases.

Ninety-six people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 133 people have died in western Quebec.

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?

Ontario says people need to only leave home when essential and not leave their health unit to avoid more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths — including in areas with low case counts.

If residents leave the province to they should isolate for 14 days upon returning.

No indoor events or private gatherings are allowed, except with people who live together or one other home for people living alone.

Outdoor gatherings can't have more than 10 people and should be distanced. Ottawa's new rules for outdoor recreation are now in effect.

In-person shopping is limited to essential businesses. Others can offer pickup and delivery.

Child-care centres are open, while day camps are not.

WATCH | Our Ottawa student panel on extended at-home learning:

The lockdown rules are in place in eastern Ontario until Jan. 23, although that could change for each health unit depending on the data.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says its COVID-19 spread is as high as it's ever seen, with a one-day case record of 234 set on Saturday.

Cases have also spiked in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, where its medical officer of health says most cases would have been preventable by following the guidelines.

In western Quebec, residents are asked not to leave home unless it's essential, with an exception for people living alone who can visit one other home.

That exception aside, people can only see other people in person who they live with.

Quebec's 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is now in effect, with fines of up to $6,000 for breaking the rules. Gatineau police say they've issued more than 40 tickets in its first two nights.

It has shut down non-essential businesses and has extended holiday secondary school closures until next week. Elementary school students can go back today.

There is no indoor dining at restaurants, while gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed. Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout Quebec.

Those rules are in place until Feb. 8.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.

People can be contagious without symptoms.

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

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Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others.

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

Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.

Andrew Lee/CBC
Andrew Lee/CBC

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 Ontario and Quebec.

Anyone returning to Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days. Air travellers have to show recent proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get friends and family to help with errands.

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Symptoms and vaccines

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 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.

COVID-19 vaccines have been given to health-care workers and long-term care residents in Ottawa and western Quebec.

Vaccinations start in Hawkesbury this week, while other rural health units don't know when they'll get vials.

WATCH | How it feels to get a COVID-19 vaccine:

About 10,000 Ottawa residents had received at least one dose as of Jan. 6. Its program is currently on pause as health officials wait for more doses.

In Ontario, it's expected that vaccination will expand to priority groups such as older adults and essential workers in April, with vaccines widely available to the public in August.

Ottawa believes it can have nearly 700,000 residents vaccinated by then.

Quebec has a somewhat controversial policy of giving a single dose to as many people as possible rather than giving fewer people two doses.

As of Jan. 11, western Quebe's health authority had given out about 3,600 doses.

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.

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

In Ottawa, that criteria includes December travel from or through South Africa or the U.K. or close contact with someone that had.

People without symptoms but 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.

Ottawa has 10 permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

Andrew Lee/CBC
Andrew Lee/CBC

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester. The Alexandria and Casselman sites are temporarily closed for two workweeks.

People can arrange a test in Picton by calling the centre or Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.

Kingston's main test site is at the Beechgrove Complex, another is in Napanee.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile clinic for smaller communities or people with problems getting to a site.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with any health questions Test clinic locations are posted weekly.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.

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 Maniwaki, Fort-Coulonge and Petite-Nation.

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

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press
Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne has had 80 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and two deaths. More than 170 people have tested positive across the community.

Its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back and it has a 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.

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its only confirmed case in November. Kitigan Zibi logged its first in mid-December and has had more since.

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.

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.

For more information