What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, May 29

·8 min read
A dogwalker wears a mask while walking through Macdonald Gardens Park in Ottawa on May 28, 2021. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC - image credit)
A dogwalker wears a mask while walking through Macdonald Gardens Park in Ottawa on May 28, 2021. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa reported 61 new COVID-19 cases and one more death Saturday.

  • Interprovincial travel ban with Quebec, Manitoba extended until June 16.

  • City, public health officials have announced new pop-up vaccination clinics in high-priority neighbourhoods.

  • Nurses are experiencing more burnout and stress as the third wave takes its toll.

What's the latest?

The Ontario government is extending its ban on non-essential travel across its land borders with Quebec and Manitoba until June 16.

In Ottawa, police have said they've spent $600,000 staffing the interprovincial checkpoints with Gatineau, Que., but they expect to get that money reimbursed by the province.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) confirmed another 61 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, as well as one more death. Thirty-four cases were logged in western Quebec.

City and public health officials will be holding new pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics next week in some high-priority neighbourhoods, including Bayshore-Belltown, Lowertown, Ledbury-Heron Gate-Ridgemont and Hawthorne Meadows-Sheffield Glen.

An Ottawa nurse is speaking out about what she's experienced throughout the pandemic — and the third wave in particular — in hopes people continue to take precautions to avoid a fourth.

WATCH | Ottawa nurses facing burnout after more than a year of pandemic stress

How many cases are there?

The region is coming down from a record-breaking peak of the pandemic's third wave, one that has included more dangerous coronavirus variants.

As of Saturday, 26,967 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 731 known active cases, 25,669 resolved cases and 567 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 49,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including 46,900 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 185 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 214.

Akwesasne has had nearly 700 residents test positive, with four known active cases, and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any.

The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues, including from Manitoba. As of Friday, there were 21 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs.

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?

Eastern Ontario:

Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least Wednesday. Its reopening plan leans on rates of spread and vaccination; the province plans to take the next step in mid-June.

Many closed outdoor recreation venues can now reopen and Ontario's outdoor distanced gathering limit has now risen to five people, including people from different households.

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.

A pair of cyclists make their way along a trail in Kingsview Park in Ottawa's Vanier community on May 28, 2021.
A pair of cyclists make their way along a trail in Kingsview Park in Ottawa's Vanier community on May 28, 2021.(Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Ontario has moved to online learning. Daycares remain open and summer camps should eventually open as well.

Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally.

Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa is doing around playgrounds and the Belleville area is doing for the agriculture industry.

Western Quebec

Western Quebec is under red zone rules.

People can eat outside at restaurants. Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people are also allowed, as is travel throughout the province. As many as 2,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena.

There is no longer a curfew.

The next rules lift on Monday, which will allow indoor dining and gyms to reopen.

Non-essential travel is not allowed between Ontario and Quebec. Police checkpoints are not running 24/7 on either end.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air.

People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are now established.

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.

Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec.

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

People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.

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 Quebec and Ontario.

Vaccines

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.

About 1,200,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December.

Eastern Ontario

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.

Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems as supply allows.

The first people who got an AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine March 10 to 19 can now book a second dose. There's a list of locations offering them in the Kingston area.

The province's goal is a second AstraZeneca dose 12 weeks after the first, with more details to come on other recipients.

It's speeding up other kinds of second dose appointments, starting by allowing people in their 80s to rebook if they wish as of Monday at 8 a.m.

Health officials continue to tell people who got a first dose before a second dose was automatically booked they won't be forgotten.

Local health units have flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details. Some offer standby lists for first doses.

Western Quebec

Quebec is now giving a first dose to anyone 12 and older.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Starting today, there are walk-in clinics for first doses in Buckingham, Hull and Wakefield and six walk-in clinics for second AstraZeneca doses.

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. People may be able to get an earlier second dose appointment for other types of vaccines starting June 7.

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.

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

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.

People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Shoppers Drug Mart stores can now offer rapid tests.

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.

People can make an appointment and check wait times online.

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.

Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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.

People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593.

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

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