What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, June 5

·8 min read
A person walks a dog up the stairs on  Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 3, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press - image credit)
A person walks a dog up the stairs on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 3, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa health officials in reported 31 cases of COVID-19 and three new deaths on Saturday.

  • Residents aged 70 and older can book their second doses starting Monday.

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 31 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths on Saturday.

It's one of the lowest single-day cases totals in months.

In western Quebec, 11 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded.

CBC Ottawa checked in with some post-secondary students who opened up about their debt in 2017 and found out how they're paying off thousands of dollars in the midst of a pandemic.

Starting Monday, Ontarians age 70 and older, as well as those who got a first shot of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna on or before April 18, can book an earlier appointment for a second dose through the provincial system, supply permitting.

That's a week earlier than planned for those 70 and over, and three weeks earlier for those who got Pfizer or Moderna doses before April 18.

How many cases are there?

The region is coming down from a record-breaking third wave, one that has included more dangerous coronavirus variants.

As of Saturday, 27,265 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 533 known active cases, 26,155 resolved cases and 577 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 49,400 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 47,600 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 189 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 214.

Akwesasne has had 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases and one death. 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. As of Friday, there were 19 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. Some patients are even coming from Manitoba.

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's stay-at-home order is over, replaced by many of the rules under its previous "emergency brake."

People can still only gather inside with their household. Up to five people can gather outside, including people from different households.

Ontario has moved to online learning for the rest of this school year.

Daycares remain open and summer camps should eventually open as well.

A used surgical face mask and Tim Hortons cups are left on a step on Parliament Hill during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa.
A used surgical face mask and Tim Hortons cups are left on a step on Parliament Hill during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa.(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

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. Many outdoor recreation venues can open.

Its reopening plan leans on rates of spread, hospitalization and vaccination; the province plans to take the next step around June 14.

Western Quebec

Western Quebec is under orange zone rules.

People can eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants; a maximum of two people from different addresses can sit together. Gyms can reopen and masks are mandatory inside.

Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people are allowed, or 12 if playing contact-free sports. Travel throughout the province is allowed but not recommended.

As many as 2,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena and there is no longer a curfew.

The next step in Quebec's reopening plan is expected June 11, affecting bars and outdoor sports.

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.

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.

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.

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. Ontario and Quebec are both working to speed that up.

That task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses under certain conditions. Quebec and Ontario are both doing this.

More than 1,400,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including more than 630,000 in Ottawa and more than 270,000 in western Quebec.

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 as supply allows.

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

Health officials continue to tell people who got a first dose before a second dose was automatically booked they won't be forgotten. It says most people that want a second dose can get one by autumn.

People who got an AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine can now book a second dose of any kind after 12 weeks have passed. That can happen through a pharmacy or doctor's office or, some time next week, through the provincial system if they want a Pfizer or Moderna shot.

Ontario is speeding up other kinds of second dose appointments, by starting by allowing people in their 80s to rebook. The next two groups are eligible Monday.

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. There are permanent and mobile walk-in clinics for first doses 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. It's moving forward with faster doses for the rest of its vaccinated groups starting next week.

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. Its curfew and travel isolation rules have ended.

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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