What’s the latest?
Two Ottawa long-term care homes with the highest staff COVID-19 vaccination rates say the key to successful uptake isn’t groundbreaking: good communication and giving staff time off are some ways they encouraged it.
The tiny Pharmasave in Sharbot Lake is the closest pharmacy to Ottawa that is part of Ontario’s vaccine pilot and supply quickly ran out, leaving more than 6,400 people, including locals, on a wait list.
Variants of the virus behind COVID-19 double the risk of someone being admitted to intensive care — and increase the risk of death by roughly 60 per cent — according to what sources tell CBC about recent Ontario data
Rules around capacity limits for sports and places of worship loosen today in Quebec.
Businesses that sell swimming pools and other pool-related products in Ottawa say they’ve never seen demand like this and won’t have the stock to meet it this year.
How many cases are there?
As of Thursday, 16,483 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently 817 known active cases, 15,207 resolved cases and 459 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 29,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 27,200 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 134 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 171. =
Akwesasne has had more than 260 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and seven deaths. It’s had 540 cases when its southern section is added.
What can I do?
WATCH | Calls for provincewide changes in Ontario:
Eastern Ontario now ranges from red to green under the province’s colour-coded pandemic scale. Restaurants, gyms, personal-care services and non-essential businesses are open across the region.
Ottawa and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties are in the red zone, which means all gatherings are capped at five people inside and 25 outside. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit will be moving to the red zone, with a date expected today.
Restaurants in red zones have a maximum capacity of 50 per cent to a maximum of 50 people. In orange, red and grey zones, only people who live together can sit together inside; so can people who live alone with one other household. That expands to patios in grey.
Theatres are closed in red zones and team sports games and scrimmages are banned.
Going red also means only leaving home for essential reasons and not having indoor visitors.
Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people are allowed. The region’s curfew hours are 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m.
People across the Ottawa-Gatineau area 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.
Ottawa Morning9:28Beyond another pandemic Passover
Distancing and isolating
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don’t live with, even with a mask on.
OPH says residents should 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 help with errands.
Four COVID-19 vaccines have been approved in Canada.
Canada’s task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second, meaning jurisdictions can spread first doses widely.
About 237,000 doses have been given out in the wider region since mid-December, including about 100,000 doses in Ottawa and about 31,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario’s first doses of Phase 1 generally went to care home residents and health-care workers.
The provincewide campaign has expanded to include more priority groups such as all people over age 75. People can book appointments online or over the phone.
Phase 3, slated to begin in July, will involve vaccinating anyone older than 16.
WATCH | A Q&A on vaccine hesitancy:
Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. What each local health unit is managing themselves can differ from what they’re leaning on the provincial system to do.
UPDATE: Vaccine Appointments to be Available Early Next Week for Residents 75 to 79 Years of Age. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoodNewsRCD?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GoodNewsRCD</a><a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/RCDHU?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#RCDHU</a> is asking residents 75-79 years of age to temporarily stop calling our registration/booking number until further notice. <br><br>Details at: <a href=”https://t.co/irB8HT4OiK”>https://t.co/irB8HT4OiK</a>. <a href=”https://t.co/BkRfgSgS3W”>pic.twitter.com/BkRfgSgS3W</a>
Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers.
Officials expect everyone over the age of 65 to be vaccinated by mid-April and everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24.
All in a Day8:56Promoting publich health knowledge and vaccines to non English and French speakers.
Symptoms and testing
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 tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
Ottawa Morning8:53New research being proposed on COVID long-haulers.
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.
The health unit for the Kingston area is asking anyone who has left the region or seen someone from outside the region to get tested as it tracks variants.
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.
Check with your area’s health unit for clinic locations and hours. Some are offering pop-up or mobile clinics.
Starting this weekend, Ottawa’s Brewer Park, Moodie and Ray Friel testing sites are extending their weekend hours because of increased demand.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
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 vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.