- Reopening eastern Ontario regions worry about visitors from Ottawa.
- Some self-employed Canadians caught in CERB confusion won’t have to pay the government back.
- Justin Trudeau and François Legault plan to speak to reporters today.
- Calabogie Peaks ski hill will open Thursday.
What’s the latest?
Ottawans are being asked to stay put as three nearby public health units reopen restaurants, salons and gyms starting tomorrow. The rest of eastern Ontario may do the same next week.
Some of the self-employed Canadians who faced repaying thousands of dollars in Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) money will be let off the hook, according to a government source.
Updates are expected from the prime minister at 11:15 a.m. ET and Quebec’s premier at 1 p.m.
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How many cases are there?
As of Monday, 13,708 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 456 known active cases, 12,826 resolved cases and 426 deaths from COVID-19.
Public health officials have reported more than 24,400 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 22,900 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 125 people have died of COVID-19, and 156 people have died in western Quebec.
What can I do?
These Ontario stay-at-home order rules remain for a region until it moves back to its five-colour scale.
Travel between regions and provinces is not recommended.
Private indoor gatherings are not allowed, while outdoor gatherings are capped at five people. It’s strongly recommended people stick to their own households and socializing is not considered essential.
People who live alone, however, are allowed close contact with one other household.
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Students across eastern Ontario can once again return to the classroom.
The rules change as regions move back to the scale.
Western Quebec residents are also being asked to stay home unless it’s essential to leave and not see anyone they don’t live with. An exception for people living alone allows them to exclusively visit one other home.
Non-essential businesses, hair salons and museums are now allowed to open across Quebec. Locally, gyms and restaurants will stay closed.
Like in Ontario, travel from one region of Quebec to another is discouraged.
Distancing and isolating
This means it is important to take precautions now and in the months to come like staying home while symptomatic, 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.
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The federal government is in the midst of tightening international travel rules and asks people not to vacation abroad.
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.
COVID-19 vaccines have started being given to local health-care workers and long-term care residents.
About 46,000 doses have been given out, including about 31,500 doses in Ottawa and 8,400 in western Quebec
Pfizer temporarily slowing its vaccine production to expand its factory means some jurisdictions can’t guarantee people will get the necessary second dose three weeks after the first. It may take four to six weeks.
There is now uncertainty about the Moderna vaccine supply.
Ontario is giving its available doses to care home residents. Ottawa is moving from long-term care homes to high-risk retirement homes.
Our team of QCH Physicians, Pharmacists & Pharmacy Technicians went out again today to give the first round of vaccinations to 70 residents from The Courtyards. Thank you to everyone involved – we’re grateful for your commitment to caring for our community, team! pic.twitter.com/rvpqetGyya
That province’s campaign is still expected to expand to priority groups such as older adults and essential workers in March or April, with vaccines widely available in August.
Quebec is also giving a single dose to as many people as possible, starting with people in care homes and health-care workers, then remote communities, then older adults and essential workers and finally the general public.
It has had to delay vaccinating people in private seniors’ homes.
Quebecers should get their second dose within 90 days.
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Where to get tested
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.
The COVID-19 test site at Ottawa’s McNabb Community Centre is closing this afternoon. The city’s task force says tests are available nearby and it wants to use its resources at schools and neighbourhood hot spots.
People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.
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The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Maniwaki, Fort-Coulonge 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 had 170 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and six deaths. More than 330 people have tested positive across the community and eight have died.
Its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back and it has a COVID-19 test site 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.
It has released its vaccine plans.