What's the latest?
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 72 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, with 113 more cases resolved and no more deaths.
One more person has died of COVID-19 in western Quebec.
Quebec's junior health minister said the government will not fight a Superior Court ruling that found its pandemic curfew has a discriminatory and disproportionate effect on people experiencing homelessness. They're now exempt from the ban on being outside between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
How many cases are there?
As of Wednesday, 13,072 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 713 known active cases, 11,939 resolved cases and 420 deaths from COVID-19.
Public health officials have reported more than 24,300 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 21,300 resolved cases.
One hundred and fourteen people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 151 people have died in western Quebec.
What can I do?
Ontario says people must only leave home when it's essential to avoid more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Some places, like Kingston, Ont., have started taking on patients from other regions struggling with hospital capacity.
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 and socializing is not considered essential.
People who live alone are still allowed to interact with one other household.
Students in areas covered by four of eastern Ontario's six health units can return to the classroom, but not in Ottawa or the area covered by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).
The EOHU's medical officer of health said this week it looks like its schools may be able to bring in students again around Feb. 9 or 10.
WATCH | Dr. Vera Etches believes Ottawa schools can safely reopen:
Most outdoor recreation venues remain open, although Ottawa has closed one of its most popular sledding hills. The first section of the Rideau Canal Skateway opens tomorrow under pandemic rules.
In-person shopping is limited to essential businesses. Others can offer pickup and delivery.
There are also more contagious variants of COVID-19 to consider.
WATCH | Suspected COVID-19 variant cases surge in care home:
In western Quebec, residents are also being asked to stay home unless it's essential and not see anyone they don't live with to ease the "very critical" load on hospitals and avoid more delayed surgeries.
An exception for people living alone allows them to exclusively visit one other home.
Those rules are in place until Feb. 8. Premier François Legault says he may lift some restrictions in parts of Quebec that day.
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.
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.
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.
COVID-19 vaccines have started being given to health-care workers and long-term care residents in every local health unit, which have given about 36,000 doses.
That includes about 23,900 in Ottawa and more than 8,400 in western Quebec.
The fact Pfizer is temporarily slowing its vaccine production to expand its factory, however, means some jurisdictions can't guarantee people will get the necessary second dose three weeks after the first. It may take four to six weeks.
Ottawa could get enough doses next week to finish vaccinating long-term care residents.
Ontario is giving its available doses to care home residents and delaying them for health-care workers.
Its campaign is still expected to expand to priority groups such as older adults and essential workers in March or April, with vaccines widely available in August.
WATCH | A progress report from the head of Ottawa's vaccine task force:
Quebec is also giving a single dose to as many people as possible, starting with people in care homes and health-care workers, then remote communities, then older adults and essential workers and finally the general public.
It has had to delay vaccinating people in private seniors' homes.
WATCH | A reminder a single vaccine dose doesn't offer instant protection:
Where to get tested
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.
The KFL&A health unit says people that have left southeastern Ontario or been in contact with someone who has should get a test as they track one of the new COVID-19 variants.
People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester.
Renfrew County test clinic locations are posted weekly. Residents can also call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 with health questions.
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, 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 more than 140 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and six deaths. More than 280 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.
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