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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 8

Posted: October 9, 2020

(October 8, 2020)

By: CBC News, Yahoo News

What’s the latest?

Ottawa has 182 more confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the province, surpassing the previous daily record of 142. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) will release its more detailed report early this afternoon.

OPH is using another real-world example of what can happen when people don’t follow public health rules.

One person with mild symptoms went to a wedding without key precautions, 12 more people at that wedding got COVID-19 and the virus later got into schools and a group home.

Some experts say with precautions in place, sports might be a relatively safe way to get exercise even as more and more people test positive for COVID-19.

How many cases are there?

As of the most recent OPH update on Wednesday, 4,970 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

That includes 810 known active cases, 3,865 resolved cases and 295 deaths.

Note: Data changed from the five-day average to the seven-day average of newly confirmed cases to reflect epidemiological best practices: a seven-day average smooths out the impact of less testing on weekends.

Overall, public health officials have reported more than 7,500 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with nearly 6,000 of those cases considered resolved.

COVID-19 has killed 104 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 34 in the Outaouais and 18 in other parts of eastern Ontario.

What’s open and closed?

Health officials are telling people to see fewer people in person, or stricter rules will force them to.

Ontario is telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with or one other home if people live alone.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health said late last week the entire health-care system is on the verge of collapse and is advising people to celebrate Thanksgiving only with members of their immediate household.

Other health units with different COVID-19 situations may have different Thanksgiving advice.

Western Quebec’s health authority says residents need to stop gathering until the end of October or, like Montreal and Quebec, people won’t be allowed to see anyone they don’t live with.

The region is currently on orange alert, which means private and organized gathering limits, earlier closing hours for restaurants and recommendations against travelling to other regions.

What about schools?

There have been more than 150 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.

Ontario updated its COVID-19 school symptom rules last week.

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 like staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone you don’t live with — even when you have a mask on.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and recommended outdoors when people can’t stay the proper distance from others.

Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate, so should anyone told to by a public health unit. If Ottawans don’t, they face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.

Kingston’s medical officer of health said people living with someone waiting for a test result now do not need to self-isolate and someone with COVID-19 now has to isolate for at least 10 days from the day they first experience symptoms.

Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days under certain conditions.

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.

Getting tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure may not be useful since the virus may not yet be detectable, says OPH.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

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.

People without symptoms, but who are part of the province’s targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select Ottawa pharmacies.

Most of Ottawa’s testing happens at four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

There is limited walk-up capacity and telephone booking for some sites for people without internet access and priority groups such as health-care workers.

Its Coventry Road clinic will be closed on Monday.

In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, the Limoges drive-thru centre isn’t ready to take appointments until tomorrow so it’s working on a drive-up model.

The health unit also has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester. All are closed on Monday.

In Kingston, the test site is at the Beechgrove Complex and online booking isn’t available yet. For now, people are asked to go to the complex to make an appointment.

Napanee’s test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.

People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls, plus a pop-up site in Gananoque today.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.

In western Quebec:

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.

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.

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, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

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.

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