(Andrew Lee/CBC - image credit)
Ottawa is reporting 53 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Saturday.
Come get your mail, overflowing U.S. post office tells Canadian customers.
One Ottawa neighbourhood turns 'even more friendly' during pandemic.
What's the latest?
Ottawa recorded 53 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Saturday. Another 23 cases were reported in western Quebec.
On Monday, the Outaouais will return to the orange zone on the province's pandemic scale, meaning gyms and restaurants can once again welcome customers inside, albeit with restrictions.
The U.S. Postal Service office in Ogdensburg, N.Y., says it's no longer able to hold on to an overflowing amount Canadian mail — and customers north of the border, including many in eastern Ontario, are now scrambling to make alternate arrangements.
While COVID-19 has forced many of us apart, residents of Ottawa's Leslie Park say the pandemic has brought them closer together.
WATCH | Mail sits in Roethel Parcel Service in Ogdensburg, N.Y., for months:
How many cases are there?
As of Saturday, 14,269 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently 444 known active cases and 13,389 resolved cases. Public health officials have attributed 436 deaths to COVID-19.
Public health officials have reported more than 25,300 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including nearly 23,900 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 130 people have died of COVID-19, and 158 people have died in western Quebec.
What can I do?
Restaurants, gyms, personal care services, theatres and non-essential businesses are open across eastern Ontario. Most sports can also resume.
Social gatherings at private homes, backyards or in public parks can have up to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors. Organized events can be larger.
People are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only travel for essential reasons, especially between differently coloured zones.
A masked pedestrian walks down Bank Street in Ottawa on a snowy day in February.
Both Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are orange under the province's colour-coded pandemic scale.
They have more restrictions than the rest of the region, which is in green, the lowest level. Local health units can also set their own rules.
Western Quebec residents are still being asked to stay home unless it's essential to leave and not see anyone they don't live with. An exception for people living alone allows them to exclusively visit one other home.
On Monday, the region will move to Quebec's orange zone.
A snowmobiler approaches a stop sign in rural southeast Ottawa in February.
Quebec's 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remains in place, although as of Monday it will be pushed back to 9:30 p.m. in western Quebec.
Like in Ontario, travel from one region of Quebec to another is discouraged.
Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed as of Friday, Feb. 26.
Distancing and isolating
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the months to come like staying home while symptomatic — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on.
OPH says residents should also wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get friends and family to help with errands.
Symptoms and vaccines
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 can develop a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
Canada's COVID-19 vaccine supply has stabilized.
About 63,500 doses have been given out since mid-December, including about 41,700 doses in Ottawa and 10,600 in western Quebec.
Ontario's first doses are going to care home residents.
Ottawa has given a second dose to most long-term care residents, is giving second doses to some health-care workers and has given a first dose to high-risk retirement home residents.
The city is now vaccinating older Indigenous people.
The province's campaign is expected to expand to priority groups such as older adults and essential workers in March, with vaccines widely available in August.
Quebec is also giving a single dose to as many people as possible, starting with people in care homes and health-care workers, then remote communities, then older adults and essential workers and finally the general public.
Quebecers should get their second dose within 90 days.
Many of the local vaccine clinic locations that have been announced for when the time is right are in the same communities as test sites.
Where to get tested
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.
People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one.
People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or in Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.
Renfrew County test clinic locations are posted weekly. Residents can also call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 with health questions.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Maniwaki, Fort-Coulonge and Petite-Nation.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
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.
Akwesasne has also released its vaccine plans.
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.
For more information