What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17

·9 min read
Paramedics work at The Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus on April 12, 2021. Ottawa's tally of COVID-19 hospitalizations topped 100 on Friday for the first time since the start of the pandemic. (Brian Morris/CBC - image credit)
Paramedics work at The Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus on April 12, 2021. Ottawa's tally of COVID-19 hospitalizations topped 100 on Friday for the first time since the start of the pandemic. (Brian Morris/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Checkpoints will soon go up along the Ottawa-Gatineau border in an attempt to get rising COVID-19 case totals under control.

  • A slate of other tough new rules are now in effect in Ontario.

  • Pop-up vaccine clinics begin rolling out today in hard-hit neighbourhoods.

  • Another 345 cases and one death were confirmed in Ottawa on Friday.

What's the latest?

Border crossings between Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., will soon be severely restricted as both the Ontario and Quebec governments have announced tough new rules around interprovincial travel.

Checkpoints will begin going up Monday, similar to those that were put in place during the first wave of the pandemic last year.

The restricted border is just one of a number of stricter regulations the Ontario government revealed Friday, as it tries to stem the tide of the pandemic's third wave. Here's what you need to know about what those restrictions mean for you.

On Saturday, non-essential construction will be shut down, retail capacity will tighten even further, and some outdoor amenities like golf will be restricted.

Police had initially been given the power to ask anyone outside for their address and the reason they've left home — but the province announced Saturday evening it was walking back those new policing powers.

Ottawa reported another 241 COVID-19 cases Saturday and two new deaths.

Pop-up vaccine clinics launch today in a number of Ottawa neighbourhoods that have been hit hard by the virus.

Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table says only 70 per cent of its recommended hot spots made the province's final list.

How many cases are there?

The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining test sites and filling hospitals.

As of Saturday, 21,552 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 3,218 known active cases, 17,852 resolved cases and 482 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 39,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 33,500 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 162 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 185.

Akwesasne has had more than 590 residents test positive, evenly split between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi has had 27 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death.

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 the first week of May.

People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They're asked to only leave their immediate area or province if absolutely necessary.

The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions that include people who live together, those who live alone and pair up with one other household, and small religious services.

Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted, and big-box stores can only sell essential items.

WATCH | Ottawa's police chief weighs in on enforcement of new rules

Gyms and personal care services must close, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery.

Ontario is indefinitely moving to online learning after April break. Daycares remain open for now.

Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said bylaw officers will inspect stores and respond to complaints about homes and parks. Rules may tighten in city parks this weekend.

Western Quebec

Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential.

Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until April 25 in the Outaouais.

Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people and masks are no longer mandatory if doing so.

The director of the Outaouais health authority said Wednesday the provincial border checkpoints of spring 2020 may return if the situation doesn't improve.

A young man wears a mask while on a soccer pitch in Gatineau, Que., on April 15, 2021.
A young man wears a mask while on a soccer pitch in Gatineau, Que., on April 15, 2021.(Hugo Belanger/Radio-Canada)

The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

People there are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone.

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 spreading quickly.

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.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands.

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.

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.

A masked woman walks down a downtown Ottawa street on April 13, 2021.
A masked woman walks down a downtown Ottawa street on April 13, 2021.(Andrew Lee/CBC)


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 525,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 238,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 93,000 in western Quebec.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers.

All health units in eastern Ontario are now vaccinating people age 60 and older at their clinics. It's 55 and over in Renfrew County. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

People who are above or turning age 55 can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment.

Phase 2 now includes people with underlying health conditions, followed by essential workers who can't work from home in May.

Phase 3 should involve vaccinating anyone older than 16 starting in July.

Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details.

The province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes, though supply is currently limited.

Separately, some Ottawans in certain priority neighbourhoods can check their eligibility online and make an appointment through the city. This should soon include all education workers and staff in large workplaces.

Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way.

The health unit for the Belleville area says this hot spot strategy means some of its doses are being sent elsewhere and it will have to postpone some appointments.

Western Quebec

Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers.

The vaccination plan now covers people age 55 and older, along with local essential workers and people with chronic illnesses.

People age 55 to 79 can line up in their vehicles to get a ticket for a walk-up appointment at Gatineau's Palais des Congrès.

Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province, not individual pharmacies.

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 book an appointment. Check with your area's health unit for clinic locations and hours.

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.

People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. This week that includes school staff and students.

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.

Outaouais residents 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.

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