What's the latest?
Ontarians in seven regions where the delta variant is spreading will be able to book a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine earlier than scheduled, the province said Thursday.
None of the identified hot spots is in eastern Ontario. It's unclear what effect, if any, the move will have on vaccine supply in this region.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) confirmed another 25 cases of COVID-19 and one more death Thursday.
As the city prepares for tomorrow's move to Step 1 of Ontario's reopening plan, most key measures indicate the virus's spread is in decline.
Western Quebec schools have joined the province's two-week vaccination drive for youth ages 12-17 as the region tries to catch its vaccination rate up to other parts of the province.
Quebec is giving an update on scheduling surgeries at 3:30 p.m.
How many cases are there?
As of Thursday, 27,359 Ottawa residents had tested positive for COVID-19. There are 378 known active cases, 26,397 cases considered resolved and 584 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 49,400 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 47,900 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 190 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 214.
Akwesasne has had about 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of Tuesday, there were 17 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. Some patients are even coming from Manitoba.
What can I do?
Ontario is moving into Step 1 of its reopening plan tomorrow, bringing changes such as allowing outdoor dining and indoor shopping for non-essential items.
The rules implemented under the province's "emergency brake" approach remain in place today.
Up to five people can gather outside, including people from different households. That changes to 10 tomorrow
Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup until tomorrow. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items.
Ontario has moved to online learning for the rest of this school year.
The province's reopening plan leans on rates of spread, hospitalization and vaccination. The next step would come in early July at the earliest.
Western Quebec is under orange zone rules.
People can now eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants; a maximum of two people from different addresses can sit together. Gyms can reopen and masks are mandatory inside.
Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people are allowed, or 12 if playing contact-free sports. Travel throughout the province is allowed but not recommended.
As many as 2,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena and there is no longer a curfew.
Neither's checkpoints are running 24/7.
Distancing and isolating
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.
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. These rules should soon change.
WATCH | Government shares some of its border plans:
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. Ontario and Quebec are both working to speed that up.
That task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses under certain conditions. Quebec and Ontario are both doing this.
More than 1,500,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 700,000 in Ottawa and more than 280,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario is now vaccinating anyone age 12 or older. People can look for provincial first dose appointments opening up online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.
Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems, as do some family doctors.
Ontario is speeding up other kinds of second dose appointments. The next expansion is planned for July 19 for people who got a first dose on or before May 9.
All of these bookings depend on the supply being sent to health units.
WATCH | A Q&A on some usual second dose side effects:
Health officials continue to tell people who got a first dose before a second dose was automatically booked they won't be forgotten. They say most people that want a second dose can get one by autumn.
Quebec is now giving a first dose to anyone 12 and older.
The province expects to have given a first dose to 75 per cent of adults by June 15 and is looking at 75 per cent of people age 12 and up getting their second dose by the end of August.
The province asks people who got a first AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccine to wait for more supply.
People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone.
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.
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.
The hours are changing at Ottawa's drive-thru test site on Coventry Road, moving to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily as of Monday.
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.
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 and their contacts.
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.
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