What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, Jan. 17

·7 min read
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, Jan. 17

Recent developments:

  • Another 123 cases of COVID-19 and one death were recorded in Ottawa on Sunday,

  • Some 9,000 road tests have been cancelled in eastern Ontario.

  • The province is pushing back the timeline for the second dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

What's the latest?

Health officials in the nation's capital recorded 123 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the second lowest daily-case total of the past seven days.

The virus has also killed another person, according to Ottawa Public Health (OPH), raising the city's death toll to 403.

Another 22 cases and three more deaths were also recorded in the Outaouais.

With Ontario under a stay-at-home order, some 9,000 road tests have been cancelled in eastern Ontario — and licence-seekers are facing long waits to get those tests rebooked.

Provincial health officials say the second dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will now be pushed back from 21 to 27 days for those in long-term care or retirement homes or those caring for seniors — and possibly even longer for other recipients.

The change is because Pfizer-BioNTech will delivering fewer vaccines to Canada in the near future as it reworks some of its production lines.

Those who've received the Moderna vaccine will see no change.

How many cases are there?

As of Sunday, 12,286 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa since the start of the pandemic. There are 1,274 known active cases, 10,609 resolved cases and 403 deaths from COVID-19.

Public health officials have reported more than 21,900 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 19,000 resolved cases.

One hundred and three people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 142 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 to avoid more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

People who leave home for non-essential reasons can now be fined, though police won't be stopping people just for being outside.

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. It's strongly recommended people stick to their own households.

People who live alone are still allowed to interact with one other household.

Andrew Lee/CBC
Andrew Lee/CBC

Outdoor recreation venues remain open. In-person shopping is limited to essential businesses. Others can offer pickup and delivery.

The province will announce by Wednesday which schools can offer general in-person learning. The Ottawa-Carleton School Board has said it won't bring that back for secondary schools until at least Feb. 1.

Child-care centres remain open.

The lockdown rules are in place until at least Feb. 11.

WATCH | 'We cannot police our way out of this pandemic,' says doctor

In western Quebec, residents are also being asked to stay home unless it's essential and not see anyone they don't live with, with an exception for people living alone.

They can visit one other home.

Quebec's 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is now in effect, with fines of up to $6,000 for breaking the rules.

The province has shut down non-essential businesses and has extended secondary school closures until later this week.

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

Those rules are in place until Feb. 8.

Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

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.

This means it's important to take precautions 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 with 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.

Anyone returning to Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days. Air travellers have to show recent proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

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 been given to health-care workers and long-term care residents in most of the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

The exception for now is Renfrew County, which says it expects its first doses in early February.

Ontario wants every long-term care resident and worker to have at least one shot by Feb. 15.

In Ottawa, it's now expected the second phase of vaccination, which includes older adults and essential workers, will begin closer to April.

The province is aiming to have vaccines widely available to the public in August, and Ottawa believes it can have nearly 700,000 residents vaccinated by then.

Quebec has a somewhat controversial policy of giving a single dose to as many people as possible rather than giving fewer people two doses. It says people will get their second dose within 90 days.

As of Jan. 14, western Quebec's health authority had given out about 4,400 doses. It says it will have reached all of its long-term care homes by early this week.

Andrew Lee/CBC
Andrew Lee/CBC

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.

People without symptoms but 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.

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

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 at least 116 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and five deaths. More than 230 people have tested positive across the community.

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.

Kitigan Zibi logged its first case in mid-December and has had a total of 18. The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its 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