What's the latest?
Ontario will start vaccinating adults over 80 in mid-March, the head of the province's immunization task force said Wednesday. People ages 60 to 64 could be vaccinated in July.
People in eligible age groups can start booking vaccines online or over the phone as of March 15. Essential workers should start getting their shots in May.
Some adults over 80 will be able to get a vaccine at a pop-up clinic in Ottawa starting late next week.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 41 more COVID-19 cases today, while western Quebec has recorded 16 more cases and one more death.
Ottawa's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches is backing up what some key numbers and experts are already suggesting: that the capital may have to move to red zone rules next week if the spread of COVID-19 doesn't slow.
How many cases are there?
As of Wednesday, 14,470 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently 446 known active cases and 13,587 resolved cases. Public health officials have attributed 437 deaths to COVID-19.
Public health officials have reported more than 25,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 24,200 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 130 people have died of COVID-19, and 159 people have died in western Quebec.
Akwesasne has had more than 220 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and seven deaths. Kitigan Zibi has had 21 confirmed cases and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had four, with one death.
A positive test for a school bus worker is keeping Tyendinaga's Quinte Mohawk School students out of the building until March 22.
What can I do?
Restaurants, gyms, personal care services, theatres and non-essential businesses are open across eastern Ontario. Most sports can also resume.
Social gatherings at private homes, backyards or in public parks can have up to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors. Organized events can be larger.
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 travel for essential reasons, especially between differently coloured zones.
WATCH | Zone change to red possible if Ottawans aren't cautious:
Both Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are orange under the province's colour-coded pandemic scale.
That area's new curfew hours are 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Like in Ontario, people are asked not to see anyone they don't live with in person and travel from one region of Quebec to another is discouraged.
Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed as of Friday.
Distancing and isolating
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the months to come like staying home while symptomatic — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on.
OPH says residents should also wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.
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 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; the latter recently updated its rules, including in schools.
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.
WATCH | Birdwatching as a way to cope with pandemic stress:
Canada's COVID-19 vaccine supply has stabilized.
About 76,100 doses have been given out since mid-December, including about 48,300 doses in Ottawa and 13,300 in western Quebec.
Ontario's first doses are generally going to care home residents and health-care workers. Local health units have some flexibility around how they work in the larger framework.
The province's campaign will expand to priority groups such as people over age 80 older adults starting in March, moving to younger age groups as spring goes on, and essential workers in May.
People who qualify can book appointments online or over the phone starting March 15. Vaccines are expected to be widely available in August.
Many of the eastern Ontario vaccine clinic locations that have been announced are in the same communities as test sites and none are open yet for the general public.
Quebec is giving a single dose to as many people as possible, starting with people in care homes and health-care workers.
Quebecers should get their second dose within 90 days.
Where to get tested
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.
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.
WATCH | Ottawa's patios could stay open until 2 a.m.:
People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or in Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.
Renfrew County test clinic locations are posted weekly. Residents can also call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 with health questions.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Maniwaki and Petite-Nation.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
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.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and now vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
For more information