What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, May 9

·9 min read
Florist Sean Lavergne prepares a Mother's Day bouquet for a customer at his Gatineau Que., shop, Fleuriste Une Douce Pensée, in May 2021. (Hugo Belanger/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Florist Sean Lavergne prepares a Mother's Day bouquet for a customer at his Gatineau Que., shop, Fleuriste Une Douce Pensée, in May 2021. (Hugo Belanger/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa reported 143 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and two new deaths.

  • Show mom you love her from a safe distance today, experts urge.

  • Free rapid COVID-19 tests coming to small, medium-sized businesses.

What's the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 143 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Sunday. Another 36 cases and three deaths were logged in western Quebec.

Today is Mother's Day, and while many Ottawans might want nothing more than to give their mom a big hug, public health officials are urging people to show their love from afar.

Ottawa's board of trade is hoping to soon get free rapid COVID-19 tests into the hands of small- and medium-sized businesses, but there are questions about the timing of the rollout.

WATCH | Keep your Mother's Day celebrations virtual again this year, OPH says:

How many cases are there?

The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining contact tracing and pushing hospitals past their limits.

As of Sunday, 25,363 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,448 known active cases, 23,392 resolved cases and 523 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 46,200 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 43,000 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 180 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 205.

Akwesasne has had more than 670 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any.

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.

The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Friday, there were 32 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs.

What can I do?

Eastern Ontario:

Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least May 20. Some experts say that should be extended.

People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They should stay within their immediate area and province unless it's absolutely necessary to leave.

The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services.

Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues.

Staff drive a golf cart along a pathway at a closed golf course in Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Ontario golf courses are closed until at least May 20 due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions.
Staff drive a golf cart along a pathway at a closed golf course in Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Ontario golf courses are closed until at least May 20 due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally.

Ontario has indefinitely moved to online learning. Daycares remain open.

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.

Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa's is doing around playgrounds and Prince Edward County's is doing around travel.

Western Quebec

Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential.

Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until Monday across the Outaouais.

Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people.

The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The province is allowing sleepaway and day camps to open this summer.

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 leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone.

Some rules start to loosen Monday: elementary schools can reopen across the region, while the curfew moves later and high schools and non-essential businesses reopen in Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Papineau.

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.

Members of Ottawa-Gatineau's Colombian community wear masks as they rally against police repression in their homeland at a Friday protest on Parliament Hill.
Members of Ottawa-Gatineau's Colombian community wear masks as they rally against police repression in their homeland at a Friday protest on Parliament Hill.(Simon Lasalle/CBC)

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.

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.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.

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.

More than 870,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 395,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 170,000 in western Quebec.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario is vaccinating people age 50 and older at its clinics. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

The province has opened up appointments for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes.

Outside the provincial system, Ottawans in the city's priority neighbourhoods above age 18 and Indigenous people above age 16 can check for eligibility and pop-up clinics online with the city.

A health worker prepares a vaccine dose at a mobile vaccine clinic held inside an Ottawa Community Housing building on May 7, 2021.
A health worker prepares a vaccine dose at a mobile vaccine clinic held inside an Ottawa Community Housing building on May 7, 2021.(Francis Ferland/CBC)

People who are 40 or will be this year can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Pharmacies can offer walk-in vaccines if they wish.

Six Ottawa pharmacies in hot spots will be offering Moderna vaccines.

Ontario has a staggered expansion plan, allowing everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24. It expects about two-thirds of adults to have a first dose by the end of May.

Some time this week, people as young as age 40 are expected to be able to book through the province. Eligibility is also expected to include a wider range of health conditions and job types, such as transit and grocery store employees.

Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details.

Western Quebec

Quebec's vaccination plan covers people age 35 and older in the Outaouais, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, including pregnancy.

It's also doing a staggered expansion, reaching down to children as young as 12 in June. Its next expansion is to age 30 on Monday.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province.

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 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.

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, their contacts and people who have been told to get tested.

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 and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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.

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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