Ottawa institutions say there is still reason for COVID caution.
Many, but not all mask rules end in Quebec next Saturday, May 14. Its interim public health director said the downward trend of hospitalizations and health-care workers absences due to COVID-19 informed his recommendation.
All Quebecers over the age of 18 are now eligible to get a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine through the appointment booking platform Clic-Santé.
Ottawa Public Health says despite some trends in the right direction, COVID levels remain high and could rise again if people drop their guard. The Ottawa Hospital says its emergency rooms are being strained by COVID-19 outbreaks and staff shortages.
For some, reflecting on priorities during the pandemic means rethinking their work choices, in what's been dubbed the "great resignation." CBC Ottawa reached out to three young people to hear why they decided to make the leap.
What are the numbers to watch?
Testing strategies have changed under the contagious Omicron variant and many people with COVID-19 aren't reflected in case counts. Hospitalization numbers and the wastewater signal offer additional data that can help fill in the picture.
There's more information in our daily story on key numbers.
The average level of coronavirus detected in Ottawa's wastewater has been slowly dropping for about three weeks and is about seven-and-a-half times higher than it was before the mid-March spike.
There were 26 Ottawa residents in local hospitals for treatment of active COVID-19 as of Thursday's OPH report. Four needed intensive care.
Ottawa-Gatineau area confirmed COVID-19 cases
Ottawa has had 72,079 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 783 residents have died from the illness.
The wider region
Western Quebec has about 75 COVID hospital patients, including those no longer considered an active case. Four are in intensive care.
Eastern Ontario outside of Ottawa has about 35 COVID-19 hospitalizations. About five of those patients need intensive care. These numbers don't include Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, which has a different way of counting patients.
Eastern Ontario as a whole has one of the highest regional wastewater averages in the province.
In the rest of eastern Ontario, 476 people with COVID-19 have died. The death toll is 309 in western Quebec.
More than 5.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
Rates of eligible eastern Ontarians with at least two vaccine doses range from 81 to 92 per cent; adults with a third dose range from 59 to 71 per cent. These numbers aren't regularly available for western Quebec.
How can I manage risk?
They're urging people to get all vaccine doses they're eligible for — especially if they're over 50 — stay home when sick, wear medical masks in crowded and indoor spaces, keep their hands clean, distance, see others outdoors and limit close contacts, while also taking community spread and vaccine rates in the area into account.
What are the rules?
There are no provincial vaccination requirements or capacity limits in Ontario and Quebec.
Quebec ends most mask mandates next Saturday, May 14. They'll remain mandatory in places such as health-care settings and on public transit.
WATCH | The longer-term future of Quebec mask rules:
Travellers older than 12 years and four months must be fully vaccinated to board a plane or train in Canada. People age six and over have to wear masks.
People have to be fully vaccinated, pre-approved and asymptomatic to enter Canada without quarantining.
The U.S. requires all adults crossing a border to be fully vaccinated. People flying there will need proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test or recent COVID recovery.
Travellers who need a test have local options to pay for one.
Six COVID-19 vaccines are safe and approved in Canada, with some age restrictions. Moderna has applied to Health Canada for approval of its vaccine for children as young as six months old.
Eligible people can look for provincial appointments online or by phone at 1-833-943-3900.
Fourth doses are being offered to everyone age 60 and above and select groups. The recommended time after a third dose varies.
Everyone age 12 and up is eligible for a third dose; the general recommended wait time after a second is three months.
Fourth doses are available for everyone age 18 and up.
Symptoms, treatment and testing
"Long-haul" symptoms can last for months.
WATCH | Why the pandemic had these young people quitting their jobs:
Ontario and Quebec are using antiviral treatments on select groups of people with a higher risk risk of severe COVID-19 problems. Some have to start within a certain period of developing symptoms, some are preventative.
Quebec is giving the Paxlovid pill for free at pharmacies with a medical professional's referral.
Ontario's eligibility includes everyone age 70 and over. Its health-care providers can prescribe them and pharmacies are able to give Paxlovid alongside clinical assessment centres, where people can get a test and treatment.
Ontario expanded this in April to everyone age 70 and over and immunocompromised adults, for example.
Qualified people can check with their health authority for locations and hours. Other people with symptoms should assume they have COVID-19 and isolate.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis
Indigenous people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a PCR test in both Ontario and Quebec.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 on weekdays for testing and vaccines in Inuktitut or English.
Akwesasne has COVID-19, test and vaccine information online or at 613-575-2341. Its mask mandate now matches the June 11 Ontario date. Nineteen residents have died between its north and south sections and about 2,000 residents had tested positive until April 2022, when its northern section stopped sharing a total.
People in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg can call 819-449-8085 for a test on Wednesdays, if they qualify. Rapid tests are available at the health centre. It had more than 175 confirmed cases and one death as of mid-January.
Pikwàkanagàn referrs people to its health-care services for COVID help. The community didn't have any confirmed COVID-19 cases until December 2021; it had 114 confirmed cases as of March 11.
The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have lifted mask mandates for government buildings. Anyone who's interested in a PCR test or vaccine can call 613-967-3603, rapid tests are available at the wellbeing centre on weekdays. It has two deaths and 91 confirmed cases until it stopped sharing its count in January 2022.