What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, Nov. 6

·7 min read
A person walks down Elgin Street in Ottawa on Nov. 5, 2021.  (Alewxander Behne/CBC - image credit)
A person walks down Elgin Street in Ottawa on Nov. 5, 2021. (Alewxander Behne/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Some pharmacies may have to limit what they can offer to meet an increased demand for flu shots, third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 testing, pharmacists say.

The fall is always a busy time for pharmacies, according to the former chair of the Ontario Pharmacists Association. But this year is the first they'll be juggling the COVID-19 vaccine, tests, flu shots and the typical rise in illnesses during the cold weather season.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) now recommends opening windows to increase ventilation and using HEPA filters to clean indoor air, but it stops short of advocating for better-quality masks or saying outright that the virus is primarily airborne.

With Health Canada expected to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for kids in the coming weeks, two Ottawa doctors answer your questions on the vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 52 more COVID-19 cases Saturday. Another person with COVID-19 died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties Friday.

How many cases are there?

As of Saturday, Ottawa has had 31,046 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 253 known active cases, while 30,189 cases are considered resolved and 604 people have died from the illness.

Ottawa-Gatineau area confirmed COVID-19 cases

Public health officials have reported more than 57,400 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 55,900 cases now resolved. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 222 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 223.

Akwesasne has had more than 1,000 residents test positive for COVID-19 and has reported 14 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has had 34 cases and one death. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 20 cases and one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any cases.

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 are the rules?

Eastern Ontario:

There are no capacity restrictions for most places that require proof of vaccination nor for outdoor organized events.

The plan is to lift public health measures in stages, with the next in mid-November and the last in late March 2022.

Private gathering limits are 25 people inside and 100 people outside.

The province's vaccine passport is required for people of an eligible vaccine age in many public places. People can show paper, PDF or QR code proof.

Western Quebec

Under its green zone rules, 10 people are allowed to gather inside private residences and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports.

There are no capacity limits for Quebec venues with assigned seats and now restaurants. Its next rule changes are coming Nov. 15 in places such as schools, bars and gyms.

The premier said in October the state of emergency that gives the government special powers will be lifted once kids aged five to 11 are vaccinated.

A vaccine passport is in place for most people age 13 and up in many public spaces.

People can use an app or show paper proof; people from out of province can show proof from their province, territory or country. The province has a record for Quebecers to use outside of the province.

Other groups in the region are also coming out with their own COVID-19 vaccine policies, including for staff and visitors.

Key upcoming dates include unvaccinated federal public servants being put on unpaid leave as early as Nov. 15, the same day unvaccinated health-care workers in Quebec lose bonuses and have to get regularly tested.

What can I do?

Prevention

COVID-19 primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine.

This means it is important to take precautions such as staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and considering distancing from anyone you don't live with.

Alexander Behne/CBC
Alexander Behne/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.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands and have supplies in case they need to isolate.

When and how long to self-isolate can vary in Quebec and Ontario and by vaccination status.

Travel

Travellers must now be vaccinated to board a plane, train or marine vessel in Canada. Partially vaccinated travellers can show proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test until Nov. 29.

Fully vaccinated, tested and pre-approved people can come to Canada.

The U.S. will require all travellers to be fully vaccinated as of Monday. Some people with mixed doses will be allowed and it won't require a recent test.

The prime minister said in late October he's "very confident" countries around the world will accept provincial or territorial proof of vaccination.

Vaccines

Vaccines curb the spread of all variants of COVID-19 and go a long way toward avoiding deaths and hospitalizations, without offering total protection.

Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada.

The two most common are approved for youth as young as 12. Trial data is being reviewed for the first shot for younger kids and health officials are well into developing plans for if it's approved.

Canada's vaccine task force says people can wait three to 16 weeks between first and second doses and it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses.

Ontario and Quebec are giving certain groups third doses.

There have been more than 3.6 million COVID-19 first, second and third vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region, which has about 2.3 million residents.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario is vaccinating anyone who will be age 12 or older in 2021. Some groups are now eligible for a third dose.

Renfrew County and Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health have expanded third dose bookings, while the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is currently taking third dose walk-ins.

People can look for provincial appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies and some family doctors offer vaccines through their own booking systems.

Local health units have some flexibility so check their websites for details. They offer doses on short notice as campaigns look to fill gaps in vaccine coverage.

The province has recommended people aged 18 to 24 get the Pfizer-BioNTech, or Comirnaty, vaccine because the Moderna or Spikevax vaccine brings a mild risk of a rare heart condition.

Western Quebec

Anyone 12 and older can make an appointment or visit a permanent or mobile walk-in clinic.

Alexander Behne/CBC
Alexander Behne/CBC

Symptoms and testing

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, runny nose, headache, 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 COVID-19 test can make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.

Ontario says to only get 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.

Rapid and take-home tests are available in some places, including some child-care settings when risk is high. Travellers who need a test have a 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 or see what their walk-in options are online. They can also call 1-877-644-4545 with questions.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are available in all Quebec preschools and elementary schools.

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 COVID-19 test and vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341.

People in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg can call the health centre at 819-449-5593 for a test or vaccine; email is another option for vaccine booking.

Tests are available in Pikwàkanagàn by calling 613-625-1175 and vaccines, at 613-625-2259 extension 225 or by email. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.

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.

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