- Another 174 COVID-19 cases were confirmed Sunday in Ottawa, with 45 new cases in the Outaouais.
- An eastern Ontario MPP has tested positive.
- Working from home poses its own environmental challenges, says one Ottawa expert.
What’s the latest?
Health officials in Ottawa reported 174 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, as well as two more deaths. In the Outaouais, another 45 cases were confirmed.
The province says those 18 and older who live in one of Ontario’s 114 hot spot communities can book vaccine appointments through its online portal as of Monday at 8 a.m.
While fewer cars on the road might seem like one of the COVID-19 pandemic’s silver linings, one Ottawa expert says the environmental impact of working from home — from sending all those emails to hosting all those video calls — is complex more than it immediately appears.
Jim McDonell, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, says he’s tested positive and is experiencing “very mild” symptoms.
How many cases are there?
As of Sunday, 24,518 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,936 known active cases, 22,073 resolved cases and 509 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 44,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 40,800 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 177 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 197.
Akwesasne has had more than 640 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections.
The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues.
What can I do?
People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They should stay within immediate area or province unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave.
The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions that include small activities with households and small religious services.
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Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items.
Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery.
Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it’s essential.
Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until at least May 10 in the Outaouais.
Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people.
The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
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 leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone.
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 get help with errands.
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. Ontario wants stronger land border rules.
Direct flights from India and Pakistan are banned until late May.
Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada, although Health Canada has paused the distribution of the first shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine due to quality-control questions.
Canada’s task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second.
More than 760,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 350,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 145,000 in western Quebec.
The province has opened up appointments for people age 45 and up in Ottawa’s K1T, K1V and K2V “hot spot” postal codes.
Ontario has a staggered rollout plan to expand its vaccination campaign week-by-week, allowing everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24.
The next expansion will be May 3 to include all people age 50 to 54, people as young as age 18 in hot spots, all people with “high-risk” health conditions and more people who can’t work from home, including education workers.
It’s also doing a staggered expansion, reaching down to people age 18 and above as of May 14. Its next local expansion will be to people age 40 to 44 on May 5.
Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24.
People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province.
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.
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In eastern Ontario:
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.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms, their contacts and people who have been told to get tested.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.
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.
Tyendinaga’s council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish.
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.
For more information