What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, June 12

·8 min read
People have lunch together on a patio Friday, the day outdoor dining and non-essential retail returned in Ottawa. (Mathieu Theriault/CBC - image credit)
People have lunch together on a patio Friday, the day outdoor dining and non-essential retail returned in Ottawa. (Mathieu Theriault/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa reported 13 new COVID-19 cases and one death Saturday.

  • An Ottawa couple is taking staycations to a whole new level.

What's the latest?

The Ontario government announced Saturday that the wait between the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine can be shortened from 12 weeks to eight weeks.

Patients can also now choose between a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, with an eight to 12 week interval, the government said.

The new policy on AstraZeneca doses comes into effect at 8 a.m. on Monday. All of the new options will be provided with the "informed consent" of a patient, the Ontario government said.

Health officials in Ottawa reported 13 new cases on Saturday, as well as one new death. In western Quebec, 23 cases were confirmed.

The mayor of Peterborough, Ont., did not contravene her municipality's code of conduct when she called a group of anti-lockdown advocates a "travelling clown convention" that should "stay TF home," according to the city's integrity commissioner.

Despite the pandemic, Ruth and OJ Gallant spent their winter travelling to New York, Florida, Hawaii, Las Vegas and the Maritimes — all without leaving their house.

How many cases are there?

As of Saturday, 27,392 Ottawa residents had tested positive for COVID-19. There are 354 known active cases, 26,453 cases considered resolved and 585 deaths.

Ottawa-Gatineau area confirmed COVID-19 cases

Public health officials have reported more than 49,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 48,100 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 190 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 214.

Akwesasne has had about 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 13 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 has moved into Step 1 of its reopening plan, bringing changes such as allowing outdoor dining and indoor shopping for non-essential items.

Up to 10 people can gather outside, including people from different households.

Step 1 brings back outdoor fitness, pools and non-contact sport practices under the gathering limit.

Gyms and personal care services are closed. Ontario has moved to online learning for the rest of this school year.

The province's reopening plan leans on rates of spread, hospitalization and vaccination. The next step would come in early July at the earliest.

Western Quebec

Western Quebec is under orange zone rules.

People can eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants and outside at bars; 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 25 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.

Non-essential travel is not allowed between Ontario and Quebec. Ontario's police border checkpoints are scheduled to end June 16, but could be extended. Quebec has not set a date for when its may end.

WATCH | Quebec's latest border update:

Neither's checkpoints are running 24/7.

Monday's move to yellow zone rules brings back some masked indoor gatherings for people who don't live together.

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.

Francis Ferland/CBC
Francis Ferland/CBC

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

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. Three are in use.

Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second.

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 1,600,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 720,000 in Ottawa and more than 290,000 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.

Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems, as do some family doctors.

People who got an AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine can now book a second dose of any kind after 12 weeks have passed.

Ontario is speeding up other kinds of second dose appointments. The next expansion locally is planned for July 19 for people who got a first dose on or before May 9.

All of these bookings depend on the supply being sent to health units.

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

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.

There are permanent and mobile walk-in clinics for first doses, six walk-in clinics for second AstraZeneca doses and a bus now bringing first and second shots around the Outaouais.

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 eight weeks after the first, allowing people to rebook by age. That expands to people age 55 and over Monday.

The province asks people who got a first AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccine to wait for more supply.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone.

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.

The hours are changing at Ottawa's drive-thru test site on Coventry Road, moving to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily as of Monday.

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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