What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 3 –

Recent developments

What’s the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 46 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and no more deaths. 

The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit logged 12 more cases Wednesday, one of its highest days of the year.

Eleven are in the Carleton Place area, where the health unit is warning about community spread from a gathering and possible exposure at a pub.

Quebec Premier François Legault and provincial health authorities are expected to outline new COVID-19 restrictions by 5 p.m. ET as concern over coronavirus variants grows. 

Before that, Ottawa health officials should talk to reporters at about 4:15 p.m.

How many cases are there?

As of Wednesday, 14,870 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently 497 known active cases, 13,932 resolved cases and 441 deaths.

Public health officials have reported more than 26,400 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 24,700 resolved cases.

Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 131 people have died of COVID-19, and 161 people have died in western Quebec. 

Akwesasne has had more than 240 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and seven deaths. It’s had nearly 500 cases combined with its southern section.

Kitigan Zibi has had 21 confirmed cases and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had six, with one death.

CBC Ottawa is profiling those who’ve died of COVID-19. If you’d like to share your loved one’s story, please get in touch.

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 can have up to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors. Organized events can be larger.

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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.

Both Ottawa Public Health and the EOHU are orange under the province’s colour-coded pandemic scale.

They have more restrictions than the rest of the region, which is in green, the lowest level. Local health units can also set their own rules.

Health units in Renfrew and Lanark counties have warned private gatherings are a problem and could cause stricter rules.

Western Quebec’s gyms and restaurants can open under its orange zone rules, joining non-essential businesses. Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people are now are now allowed.

That area’s new curfew hours are 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The exception is Grenville-sur-la-Rouge and some of the surrounding area, which remains in red.

Like in Ontario, people are asked not to have close contact with anyone they don’t live with and travel from one region of Quebec to another is discouraged. 

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, even after getting a vaccine. New coronavirus variants can be more contagious.

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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.

Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec.

OPH says residents should also wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.

Several masked-up pedestrians walk in downtown Ottawa March 1, 2021. (Brian Morris/CBC)

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.

People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get help with errands.

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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.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help.

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Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply has stabilized and a third vaccine was recently approved.

About 88,300 doses have been given out since mid-December, including about 51,400 doses in Ottawa and 13,300 in western Quebec.

Ontario’s first doses generally went to care home residents and health-care workers and it’s now expanding into parts of the general public.

The province’s campaign will include more priority groups such as people over age 80 starting in mid-March, moving to people as young as age 60 through July, and essential workers in May.

Ontarians who are eligible can book appointments online or over the phone starting March 15. Vaccines are expected to be widely available in August.

Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check with them for specifics.

For example, Ottawa has chosen to offer shots to certain people in certain areas of the city starting this Friday. Appointments are now available over the phone.

It’s been vaccinating Indigenous people and will start giving shots to police officers today.

That city believes it can have nearly 700,000 residents vaccinated by August, hitting a groove of nearly 11,000 doses a day by early summer.

Many eastern Ontario vaccine clinic locations 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.

It moves to older adults outside care homes starting March 10 in western Quebec’s six clinics, then essential workers and finally the general public.

People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone.

Pharmacists will also be giving shots, starting March 15 in Montreal and expanding from there.

Quebecers should get their second dose within 90 days.

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Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.

Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you’ve been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria.

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.

Ottawa has ten regular test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester.

Kingston’s main test site is at the Beechgrove Complex, another is in Napanee.

A worker removes the protective paper from a plexiglass shield for the registration area at the Invista Centre in Kingston, Ont., March 1, 2021. The centre started being used for COVID-19 vaccinations the following day. (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or in Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile clinic.

A pop-up testing site will be set up at The Thirsty Moose Pub & Eatery in Carleton Place in the coming days for anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, after a recent outbreak stemming from a social gathering.

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.

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 ave. Buckingham. They can check the wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

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:

Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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 and now vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

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