Some local politicians are urging the province to declare more eastern Ontario communities COVID-19 hot spots, in the hopes that will increase access to the vaccine.
Liberal MPP Lucille Collard has written the province to ask the Vanier and Overbrook neighbourhoods be considered hot spots, while similar calls are also being made in Cornwall, Ont.
With Ontario now firmly in the midst of another provincewide shutdown, some Ottawa businesses say they’re still waiting for relief payments from the last time a stay-at-home order was issued.
Ottawa reported 325 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the second day in a row the city has logged record-high numbers.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has suspended the liquor licence of a restaurant in Kemptville, Ont., that hosted an anti-lockdown rally last week.
As of Saturday, 19,355 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 2,200 known active cases, 16,680 resolved cases and 475 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 35,500 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 30,800 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 152 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 178.
Akwesasne has had more than 280 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and seven deaths. It’s had more than 570 cases when its southern section is added.
Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death.
Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least the first week of May.
People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries or health care and exercising. They’re asked to only leave their immediate area or province if it’s absolutely necessary.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said bylaw officers will inspect stores and respond to complaints about homes and parks.
The vast majority of indoor gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions for people who live together, as well as for those who live alone and have paired up with one other household.
Outdoor gatherings have to be essential, masked and distanced.
Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted, and big-box stores can only sell essential items.
Schools have not yet been forced to close, although it’s possible that could change after this week’s spring break.© Jean Delisle/CBC A gate is locked at St. Leonard School in Manotick, which closed last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Ottawa’s medical officer of health says it’s looking likely that schools will not be allowed to reopen after this week’s spring break.
Gyms and personal care services must close, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery.
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, is one of the officials who have asked the province for stronger rules, including paid sick leave, travel restrictions within Ontario and more online learning in places where school outbreaks are a problem.
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 April 19 in Gatineau and in the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais, which almost entirely surrounds the city.
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. Places of worship can have a maximum of 25 people.
The curfew there now starts at 8 p.m.© Patrick Louiseize/Radio-Canada People wait in line to be vaccinated at the Palais des congrès in Gatineau, Que., on April 7, 2021.
The rest of the Outaouais is under red-zone rules, which closes restaurant dining rooms and gyms, but keeps schools, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses open with restrictions.
The start of the curfew in this area remains at 9:30 p.m.
People in the Outaouais 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.
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.
More than 415,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 182,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 71,000 in western Quebec.
Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers.
Phase 3, slated to begin in July, will involve vaccinating anyone older than 16.
Separately, the province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in the K1T, K1V and K2V “hot spot” postal codes, though supply is currently limited. This should soon include all education workers and staff in large workplaces.
Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way.
Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers.
The vaccination plan now covers people age 60 and older at western Quebec clinics. People age 55 to 79 can line up in their vehicles to get a ticket for a walk-up appointment at Gatineau’s Palais des Congrès.
That will be followed by local essential workers and people with chronic illnesses, and finally the general public.
Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24.
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.
Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.
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.
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
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.
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.