What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13

·8 min read
A person wears a leopard print coat, leopard print mask, hat and sunglasses in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood on May 11. (Brian Morris/CBC - image credit)
A person wears a leopard print coat, leopard print mask, hat and sunglasses in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood on May 11. (Brian Morris/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

What's the latest?

Citing a desire to control the spread of COVID-19 so Ontarians can get the most out of July and August, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday the provincewide stay-at-home order has been extended. The earliest it will lift is June 3.

Ford said children age 12-17 can register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment starting the week of May 31.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 104 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths.

Ontarians as young as 40 are now eligible to reserve a vaccination appointment through the province's booking system.

Quebec has followed Ontario and other provinces and stopped giving first doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, setting aside future shipments for second doses.

How many cases are there?

The region is coming down from a record-breaking peak of the pandemic's third wave, one that has included more dangerous coronavirus variants.

As of Wednesday, 25,732 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,190 known active cases, 24,009 resolved cases and 533 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 46,900 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 44,000 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 183 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 207.

Akwesasne has had more than 680 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 Tuesday, there were 27 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 June 3.

People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising in their immediate area.

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

Ontario has moved to online learning. There's a chance Ottawa's schools could reopen around the end of the month. Daycares remain open.

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

Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items.

A masked person walks past a shuttered coffee shop in downtown Ottawa on May 11.
A masked person walks past a shuttered coffee shop in downtown Ottawa on May 11.(Brian Morris/CBC)

Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery.

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.

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

High schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed in Gatineau, the Pontiac and Collines-de-l'Outaouais until Monday.

Sûreté du Québec officers staff a checkpoint near Chelsea, Que., in late April. Random checkpoints will continue when all of the Outaouais is a red zone.
Sûreté du Québec officers staff a checkpoint near Chelsea, Que., in late April. Random checkpoints will continue when all of the Outaouais is a red zone.(Reno Patry/Radio-Canada)

Private gatherings are banned in those areas, 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.

Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Papineau are red zones with looser restrictions, meaning a 9:30 p.m. curfew and allowing secondary schools and non-essential businesses to reopen. The rest of the region joins it next week.

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.

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.

WATCH | The personal strain of Ontario's patient transfers:

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.

WATCH | International student missed family visit due to flight ban:

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 950,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 430,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 195,000 in western Quebec.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario's general vaccination age is 40 and older. Other factors such as jobs and health conditions also qualify adults — this category expanded Tuesday.

People can book provincial appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

Appointments are available through the province for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's three "hot spot" postal codes, Indigenous adults and, through the city, Ottawans in more than 20 "priority" neighbourhoods.

Ontario has stopped giving first doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine — including at pharmacies — for a number of reasons, one being that it's getting more data about the risks of that first dose.

WATCH | What happens with the AstraZeneca doses on the way?

A handful of Ottawa pharmacies in hot spots are offering a limited supply of Moderna vaccines to people age 18 and up.

Ontario is speeding up the second dose for some groups, such as frontline health-care workers and more Indigenous people.

It plans to allow everyone over age 12 to make an appointment starting the week of May 31 and expects about two-thirds of adults to have a first dose by the end of May.

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

Western Quebec

Quebec's vaccination plan covers people 25 and older in the Outaouais, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, including pregnancy.

The next expansion is tomorrow, when people as young as 18 can get immunized. The province plans to reach children as young as 12 in June.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone.

WATCH | Vaccine hesitancy seems to be decreasing:

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, exposure 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.

A person stands along the shore of the Ottawa River in Britannia Park on a sunny spring day on May 12.
A person stands along the shore of the Ottawa River in Britannia Park on a sunny spring day on May 12.(Francis Ferland/CBC)

In western Quebec:

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

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