What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, Nov. 8

·7 min read
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, Nov. 8
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, Nov. 8

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa health officials reported two new COVID-19 deaths and 71 cases of the virus on Sunday.

  • Another death was also recorded in western Quebec, bringing that region's total to 56.

  • Ottawa and communities in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit are now under an orange COVID-19 alert.

What's the latest?

It's the first weekend that both Ottawa and communities that make up the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are under an orange COVID-19 alert.

That means the restrictions are now a bit looser than what had been in place in Ottawa for the past four weeks, but they represent a tightening of the rules in the EOHU.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 and two new deaths Sunday. The death toll in the nation's capital stands at 341.

The province reported 1,328 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking a new single-day peak for a second day in a row.

Another death was also recorded in western Quebec, bringing that region's total to 56.

The mayor of Kingston, Ont., says when it comes to reopening the Canada-U.S. border, president-elect Joe Biden will have to first show his country has the pandemic under control.

National Aboriginal Veterans Day ceremonies have been scaled back this year in communities such as Pikwakanagan and Kitigan Zibi.

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How many cases are there?

As of Sunday's update from OPH, 7,509 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

There are 594 known active cases, 6,574 resolved cases and 341 deaths.

Public health officials have reported nearly 11,800 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 10,100 resolved cases.

Eighty-five people with COVID-19 have died elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 56 in western Quebec.

What can I do?

Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Ottawa's medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, has said that with the city now in the orange zone, people need to work and have more activities available for their overall health.

She wants people to focus on managing risks in businesses like they have in schools and taking precautions when seeing those they don't live with.

In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec's red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.

Unlike in Ottawa, indoor dining at the region's restaurants remains prohibited, while gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.

Justin Tang/Canadian Press
Justin Tang/Canadian Press

The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — with that number higher in seated venues.

Travel to another region is discouraged throughout the Outaouais.

On both sides of the river, the Royal Canadian Legion is asking people to pay their respects from home on Remembrance Day.

What about schools?

There have been about 190 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:

Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.

Distancing and isolating

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

People can be contagious without symptoms.

This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.

Francis Ferland/CBC
Francis Ferland/CBC

Etches says people should be wary of blind spots, like taking a lunch break at work with colleagues or carpooling.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration of that isolation period depends on the stipulations by health officials in both 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.

Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell.

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. 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.

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

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

Anyone seeking a test should now book an appointment. Different sites in the area have different ways to book, including over the phone or going in person to get a time slot.

Testing numbers have been lower than the groups running it would like and they want people to know there are often same-day appointments available.

People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.

Ottawa has eight permanent test sites, with additional mobile sites deployed wherever demand is particularly high.

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

Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other test site is in Napanee. Both are open seven days a week.

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

People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.

They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Several people have recently tested positive for COVID-19 in Akwesasne, with 14 known active cases across the community.

It has a COVID-19 test site available 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.

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