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

·8 min read
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 6

Recent developments:

  • City health officials confirmed 58 new cases Saturday, but zero deaths.

What's the latest?

Ottawa researchers say they're the first in the country to develop a wastewater test that can detect one variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday but no new deaths.

In western Quebec, health officials recorded 17 new cases of the virus Saturday.

Lockdown restrictions in Quebec are being loosened Monday, allowing many non-essential businesses to welcome customers again. The province's 8 p.m. curfew will remain in place, however.

Laid off during the pandemic, an Ottawa man decided to fix old computers and give them away to families in need. Check out the first story in CBC Ottawa's Community Heroes series.

People will have to wait to donate blood in eastern Ontario after five people at an Ottawa processing facility tested positive for COVID-19, Canadian Blood Services announced Friday.

WATCH | Martin Lee repairs technology for kids' virtual schooling:

How many cases are there?

As of Saturday, 13,597 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 450 known active cases, 12,725 resolved cases and 422 deaths from COVID-19.

Public health officials have reported more than 24,200 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 22,700 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 122 people have died of COVID-19, and 156 people have died in western Quebec.

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?

Ontario says people must only leave home when it's essential. People who leave home for non-essential reasons can be fined.

Travel within Ontario is not recommended. Residents who leave the province should isolate for 14 days upon returning.

Private indoor gatherings are not allowed, while outdoor gatherings are capped at five people. It's strongly recommended people stick to their own households and socializing is not considered essential.

People who live alone, however, are allowed close contact with one other household.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Some major Ottawa shelters aren't taking in new people because of COVID-19 outbreaks. People who need a place to sleep can call 311 or visit a shelter or respite centre to get one, and a ride if needed.

In-person shopping is limited to essential businesses. Others can offer pickup and delivery.

Most outdoor recreation venues remain open with restrictions, including the full Rideau Canal Skateway.

Students across eastern Ontario can once again return to the classroom.

Ontario's lockdown rules are in place until at least Tuesday. Health officials are weighing the signs the rules have slowed COVID-19's spread with the fact there are now more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

In western Quebec, residents are also 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.

Younger students are back in classrooms and there's a plan for post-secondary students to start a slow return.

Like in Ontario, travel from one region of Quebec to another is discouraged.

Quebec's 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew means fines of up to $6,000 for breaking the rules. It no longer applies to people experiencing homelessness.

Businesses, museums and hair salons can reopen Monday. That doesn't include western Quebec's restaurants, gyms and theatres. Its health authority has said it would like to be more stable.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person speaks, coughs, sneezes, or breathes onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.

People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine.

This means it is important to take precautions now and in the months to come like staying home while symptomatic, keeping hands and frequently touched 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 also wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.

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 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 and get friends and family to help with errands.

The federal government is in the midst of tightening international travel rules.

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.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help.

COVID-19 vaccines have started being given to local health-care workers and long-term care residents.

About 42,700 doses have been given out, including about 28,500 doses in Ottawa and 8,400 in western Quebec

Pfizer temporarily slowing its vaccine production to expand its factory means some jurisdictions can't guarantee people will get the necessary second dose three weeks after the first. It may take four to six weeks.

There is now uncertainty about the Moderna vaccine supply.

Ontario is giving its available doses to care home residents.

Its campaign is still expected to expand to priority groups such as older adults and essential workers in March or April, with vaccines widely available in August.

Ottawa believes it can have nearly 700,000 residents vaccinated by then, hitting a groove of nearly 11,000 doses a day by early summer.

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.

It has had to delay vaccinating people in private seniors' homes.

Quebecers should get their second dose within 90 days.

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.

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

The KFL&A health unit says people that have left southeastern Ontario or been in contact with someone who has should get a test as they track a coronavirus variant.

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.

Ottawa has 10 permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

Its site at the National Arts Centre will accept all Canadian health cards as of Monday to cover more Ottawa residents.

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

People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.

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

Renfrew County test clinic locations are posted weekly. Residents can also call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 with health questions.

Kingston's main test site is at the Beechgrove Complex, another is in Napanee.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 ave. Buckingham. They can check the wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

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:

Akwesasne has had more than 160 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and six deaths. More than 320 people have tested positive across the community and eight have died.

Its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back and it has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only.

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.

It has released its vaccine plans.

Kitigan Zibi logged its first case in mid-December and has had a total of 20. The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had their only confirmed case in November.

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.

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