What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, March 21

Recent developments:

  • A third person has died in Ontario. The man was in his 70s and was being treated at a hospital in Barrie, Ont.  
  • Ottawa Public Health to provide greater guidance to businesses, building managers, landlords. 
  • A total of 7,239 cases are under investigation. The health ministry says 15,768 people have tested negative for the virus.

What you should know

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

This means if you can, you should work from home, limit the number of people you come into close contact with, avoid non-essential trips out, cancel gatherings and try to 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 from others. 

WATCH: How one shelter is dealing with COVID-19

If you've recently left the country or have been in close contact with someone who has travelled, you should 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.

Across the country, including in Quebec and Ontario, many shops are closed along with daycares, concert venues, bars and restaurants that do not provide takeout, libraries, private schools, recreation facilities and other businesses. Gatherings of 50 or more people are not allowed. 

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

Grocery stores, pharmacies and take-out and drive-thru food businesses can stay open.

WATCH: How Ottawa Public Health wants to help businesses

Friday, March 20, certain Ottawa Hospitals announced they were banning most visitors.

The federal government's $82-billion aid package should start rolling out in two to three weeks, said Finance Minister Bill Morneau Thursday, March 19.

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

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

WATCH: Why Construction workers could be at risk

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

Ontario is launching an e-learning program as its schools are closed until at least April 5.

Spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa

Twenty people in Ottawa have now tested positive for COVID-19, including Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, a City of Ottawa employee at 100 Constellation Dr., a Health Canada employee at Tunney's Pasture, an Ottawa Senator and three employees of tech company Ciena in Kanata. 

One person with COVID-19 is currently in hospital. Another, a person in their 60s, was hospitalized but has since been released. 

There are a total of 38 cases in eastern Ontario — including 12 separated from the public at CFB Trenton — and another two confirmed cases in the Outaouais

The Belleville-area Hastings Prince Edward Public Health said Thursday, March 19 it had its first case among the public then announced a second Friday afternoon. Both recently returned to Canada after travelling.

As of Saturday morning, Ontario had 377 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus — six are no longer considered contagious.

Twelve deaths in Canada have been linked to COVID-19: three of them in Ontario and one 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: How Ontario wants to help students online

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.

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 province's toll-free line at 1-877-644-4545 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:

The assessment centre in Kingston at the Hotel Dieu Hospital at 166 Brock St., is moving to the Kingston Memorial Centre as of Saturday, March 21.

Its hours expand from 1 to 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. when it moves to 303 York St.

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., will also be opening an assessment centre. The centre will be located at 750 Laurier St. and open on Monday. The facility will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

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.

Renfrew County is providing home testing under some circumstances.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.

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

Renfrew County's unit says people should only call 613-735-8654 ext. 577 if they have symptoms and have returned to Canada within 14 days. The same advice goes for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark's unit at 613-345-5685.

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.

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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