What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, Oct. 24

·6 min read

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa public health officials reported another 90 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

What's the latest?

The majority of COVID-19-related claims to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) from workers in Ottawa involve employees in long-term care facilities and retirement homes, but a union that represents many of those workers believes the number should be much higher.

The Ontario Medical Association says some doctors who accept expired health cards aren't getting reimbursed, despite a decision by the provincial government to show leniency during the pandemic.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, but no new deaths.

One new death was reported Saturday in western Quebec, however, bringing the region's total to 38 people.

How many cases are there?

As of Saturday's update from OPH, 6,474 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

There are 688 known active cases, 5,472 resolved cases and 314 deaths.

Public health officials have reported nearly 10,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 8,300 of them resolved.

Seventy-two people with COVID-19 have died elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 38 in western Quebec.

What can I do?

Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with or one other home if people live alone to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In Ottawa — which has been rolled back to a modified Stage 2 — and Gatineau, Que., health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.

Andrew Lee/CBC
Andrew Lee/CBC

Indoor dining at restaurants has been prohibited, while gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.

Dr. Vera Etches, the capital's medical officer of health, said earlier this month the national capital's health-care system is on the verge of collapse.

OPH and some eastern Ontario health units are urging people not to have a Halloween party with other households or go trick-or-treating.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health said to listen to local officials but a rule of thumb if trick-or-treating is allowed, people should stick to their neighbourhood and do it outside with their household only.

The Kingston area's health unit is one that says it can be done safely this year if done differently.

Gatineau and parts of the Outaouais are now on red alert, which means restaurants and bars can't serve people indoors, organized sports are suspended and theatres must close.

Quebecers are also urged not to travel to Ontario or between regions at different levels on its scale except for essential reasons.

Even though most of the region has been declared a red zone, Premier François Legault said kids can trick-or-treat as long as they don't go with friends and precautions are taken when giving out candy.

What about schools?

There have been more than 180 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:

Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.

As of mid-October, a small fraction of Ottawa students and staff had tested positive.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.

People can be contagious without symptoms.

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

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

Anyone with symptoms or who's ordered to do so by their local public health unit should self-isolate. The duration is subject to a range stipulated by health officials in both Ontario and Quebec.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible.

Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell.

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. 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.

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

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

Anyone seeking a test should now book an appointment. Different sites in the area have different ways to book, including over the phone or going in person to get a time slot.

Testing numbers have been lower than the groups running it would like and they want people to know there are often same-day appointments available.

People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.

Ottawa has five permanent test sites, with additional mobile sites deployed wherever demand is particularly high.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls.

Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other test site is in Napanee. Both are open seven days a week.

People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.

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 Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

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

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. It expects to bring back its mobile site in the spring.

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.

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.

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.

For more information