Ottawa reported eight more COVID-19 cases Wednesday.
Province to run hospitals at 115% capacity to clear pandemic surgical backlog.
Health units ramp up efforts to vaccinate youth before school starts.
What's the latest?
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported eight more COVID-19 cases Wednesday and zero new deaths.
Ontario reported 158 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths.
At a briefing on Wednesday afternoon, the Ontario government said it plans to boost the operating capacity of the province's hospital system to up to 115 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels to address a backlog of surgeries and procedures delayed by the pandemic.
This move comes after Ontario's chief medical officer of health ordered hospitals to stop non-urgent and non-emergency care twice during the pandemic to make room for COVID-19 patients.
The first day of classes for most publicly-funded schools in Ontario is just under six weeks away. Premier Doug Ford says a back-to-school plan will be announced next week.
Health units are ramping up youth vaccination efforts, using prizes and social media, as the window quickly closes for students to be fully immunized by the time school starts.
WATCH | 'It just feels a lot safer:' Pop-up vaccine clinic caters to Ottawa youth
How many cases are there?
As of Wednesday, 27,793 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 49 known active cases, 27,151 cases considered resolved, and 593 people have died from the illness.
Ottawa-Gatineau area confirmed COVID-19 cases
Public health officials have reported more than 50,300 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 49,200 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 198 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 215.
Akwesasne has had nearly 700 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
What are the rules?
Ontario is in Step 3 of its reopening plan.
The latest step allows for indoor dining, with capacity limits based on everyone being able to keep an acceptable distance.
Gyms, movie theatres and museums are able to reach a capacity of 50 per cent inside.
Larger general gathering limits have risen to 25 people inside and 100 people outside. Those limits are even higher for organized events, leading to the resumption of summer festivals and professional sports.
A detailed plan for the next school year is in the works, according to the education minister. Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday it would be released the first week of August.
Ten people are allowed to gather inside private residences and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports. Organized games are permitted outdoors again and gyms are open.
People can eat both indoors and outdoors at restaurants and bars.
Personal care services and non-essential businesses can open. As many as 3,500 people can gather in a large theatre or arena and at outdoor festivals.
What can I do?
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.
Vaccines curb the spread of all types of the coronavirus.
There's federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.
The federal government has announced fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living there would be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine starting Aug. 9, while tourists from all other countries would be allowed as of Sept. 7.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.
Canada's task force says people can wait up to 16 weeks between doses. There are factors pushing provinces to drastically speed up that timeline, including supply and the more infectious delta variant.
That same task force says it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses.
There is evidence giving a second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine offers better protection for people who got a first AstraZeneca-Oxford shot. Both Ontario and Quebec are giving people who got a first AstraZeneca dose the option to get a second of the same kind.
Ontario is vaccinating anyone age 12 or older.
People can look for provincial 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.
Local health units have flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details. They offer standby lists for doses on short notice and recently, more walk-in options.
Vaccine bookings depend on the supply being sent to health units, which generally aren't reporting the supply problems of previous months.
People may have to show proof of being fully vaccinated to access certain services if there is an autumn surge of cases.
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. Recently, a runny nose and headache have become more common.
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.
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.
Staff, caregivers and visitors who have been fully-immunized and show no symptoms of the coronavirus no longer need to be tested before entering a long-term care facility.
Travellers who need a test have a few more 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.
Akwesasne has COVID-19 vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.
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.
The last day for Ottawa's Indigenous vaccination clinic is Thursday.
For more information