What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, April 25

·9 min read
A cyclist wearing a mask walks his bike through the Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa on April 23, 2021, during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC - image credit)
A cyclist wearing a mask walks his bike through the Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa on April 23, 2021, during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa reported 227 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Sunday.

  • One emergency room doctor is giving a glimpse into life at The Ottawa Hospital these days.

  • Some family physicians say the bureaucracy of the vaccine rollout is putting strain on their practices.

What's the latest?

Family physicians in Ottawa have begun to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses, but some say all the paperwork and bureaucracy associated with the vaccine rollout is putting great strain on their practices.

One emergency physician, meanwhile, is sharing her experiences at The Ottawa Hospital during the pandemic's third wave — and says she's not emotionally ready to decide who should receive critical care, should it come to that.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 227 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Another two deaths were also recorded, bringing the city's total to 490.

In western Quebec, another 83 cases were logged Sunday.

How many cases are there?

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

As of Sunday, 23,313 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 2,787 known active cases, 20,036 resolved cases and 490 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 42,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 37,600 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 171 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 191.

Akwesasne has had more than 610 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.

What can I do?

Eastern Ontario:

Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least May 20.

People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They're asked to only leave their immediate area or province if absolutely necessary.

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

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

Police checkpoints are set up at border crossings between Ontario and Quebec, but are not running 24/7 on either end.

Sûreté du Québec officers staff a checkpoint near Chelsea, Que., and one entrance to Gatineau Park on April 24, 2021, telling drivers with Ontario licence plates to turn around.
Sûreté du Québec officers staff a checkpoint near Chelsea, Que., and one entrance to Gatineau Park on April 24, 2021, telling drivers with Ontario licence plates to turn around.(Reno Patry/Radio-Canada)

Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally.

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

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

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 May 3 in 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.

People there 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.

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 taking over.

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.

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 and/or weakened immune systems 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. The first Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to arrive this week.

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

About 630,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 293,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 112,000 in western Quebec.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers.

All health units in eastern Ontario are now vaccinating people age 60 and older at their clinics, while it's 55 and over in Renfrew County. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

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

Pharmacist Zaineb Hassan prepares COVID-19 vaccines to administer at a pharmacy in Ottawa on Friday, April 23, 2021.
Pharmacist Zaineb Hassan prepares COVID-19 vaccines to administer at a pharmacy in Ottawa on Friday, April 23, 2021. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Phase 2 includes people with underlying health conditions, followed by essential workers who can't work from home in May.

Phase 3 should involve vaccinating anyone older than 16 starting in July.

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

The province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes.

Separately, some Ottawans in priority neighbourhoods age 50 and up can check their eligibility online and make an appointment through the city for a pop-up clinic.

Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way.

Western Quebec

Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers.

The vaccination plan now covers people age 45 and older, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

People age 45 to 79 can get a same-day appointment at Gatineau's Palais des Congrès.

Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24.

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.

Randy Hillier, independent MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, argues with police at a protest against government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Peterborough, Ont., on Saturday, April 24, 2021. Hillier received a ticket and a summons to appear in court for violating the province's stay-at-home-order.
Randy Hillier, independent MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, argues with police at a protest against government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Peterborough, Ont., on Saturday, April 24, 2021. Hillier received a ticket and a summons to appear in court for violating the province's stay-at-home-order. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press)

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.

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.

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.

Outaouais residents 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