What’s the latest?
Bars and restaurants in Ottawa will be allowed to reopen this weekend as the city emerges from four weeks under modified Stage 2 pandemic restrictions, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday.
Ottawa and the neighbouring Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are now graded orange, according a new colour-coded provincial pandemic scale.
That means indoor dining can resume at Ottawa restaurants, but certain restrictions, such as limited seating capacity and a 10 p.m. closing time, will remain in place.
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Ontario has set a single-day record with 1,050 new COVID-19 cases, but just 28 of them — less than three per cent — are in Ottawa. Two more residents have died from the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported Tuesday.
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How many cases are there?
As of Tuesday’s update from Ottawa Public Health (OPH), 7,225 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are 718 known active cases, 6,177 resolved cases and 330 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 11,200 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 9,500 resolved cases.
Eighty people with COVID-19 have died elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 46 in western Quebec.
What can I do?
Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with or one other home if people live alone to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In the Gatineau area, which is a red zone, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it’s essential.
Indoor dining at its restaurants has been prohibited, while gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed and travel to another region is discouraged.
Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches says there were encouraging signs in late October that the spread is slowing, but people should be wary of blind spots such as taking a lunch break at work or carpooling.
The Royal Canadian Legion is asking people to pay their respects from home on Remembrance Day.
What about schools?
There have been more than 180 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:
Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there’s a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.
As of mid-October, a small fraction of Ottawa students and staff had tested positive.
Distancing and isolating
The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.
People can be contagious without symptoms.
This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don’t live with — even with a mask on.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible.
Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell.
Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
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Where to get tested
In eastern Ontario:
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you’ve been told to by your health unit or the province.
Anyone seeking a test should now book an appointment. Different sites in the area have different ways to book, including over the phone or going in person to get a time slot.
Testing numbers have been lower than the groups running it would like and they want people to know there are often same-day appointments available.
People without symptoms, but who are part of the province’s targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.
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The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.
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People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.
Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.
Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.
They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.
There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.
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.
People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259.
Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.
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.