What’s the latest?
Officials in Ottawa are worried about another holiday surge from people gathering over the Easter long weekend as cases continue to rise in the city.
Joanne Chianello writes that despite clear warnings from medical experts, good luck getting a political leader to say if a lockdown of some kind might be on the way.
Premier Doug Ford is dangling the possibility that Ontario’s already-delayed school March Break could be postponed yet again.
Canada has the worst record for COVID-19 deaths in long-term care homes compared with other wealthy countries, according to a new report released on Tuesday
How many cases are there?
As of Monday, 17,065 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,133 known active cases, 15,472 resolved cases and 460 deaths.
Public health officials have reported more than 30,800 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 27,900 resolved cases.
Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 138 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 172.
What can I do?
The province’s science advisers say Ontario’s COVID-19 spread is completely out of control.
WATCH | Gathering for Easter a risky decision, virologist says:
Eastern Ontario ranges from red to green under the province’s colour-coded pandemic scale. Restaurants, gyms, personal-care services and non-essential businesses are open.
Ottawa, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit are all in the red zone, which means all gatherings are capped at five people inside and 25 outside. Religious services can have more people.
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.
WATCH | Expect problems with hospitalizations and contact tracing:
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.
The Kingston area and Renfrew County are yellow and the Belleville area is green.
To curb the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, MOH and CEO at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) has issued a Class Order pursuant to Section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection&Promotion Act, 1990. It comes into effect at 12:01 a.m. March 30 https://t.co/zoVmVS9AM3 pic.twitter.com/G3U4z6ntLr
Quebec is now in its third wave.
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.
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.
WATCH | Hopes foiled for an in-person Easter service:
OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible.
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 288,000 doses have been given out in the wider region since mid-December, including about 121,000 doses in Ottawa and about 44,000 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, and people 70 and older in certain regions. People can book appointments online or over the phone.
Are you or someone you know 70+ yrs old & looking to book an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine?
This age group is now eligible to receive the vaccine but #OttCity clinics are temporarily fully booked.
More bookings will be available at a later time: https://t.co/7V1apQ0pTu pic.twitter.com/oNqlGm7CDR
Phase 3, slated to begin in July, will involve vaccinating anyone older than 16.
WATCH | A Q&A on Monday’s AstraZeneca changes:
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.
That may soon expand to Ottawa.
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.
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.
In eastern Ontario:
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.
Our staff are working extremely hard and are also going through this pandemic. Keep this in mind and ensure that they are treated with the same kindness and respect they employ to you. We are all feeling frustrated and look forward to COVID’s end. #StayStrongLGL #KindnessMatters pic.twitter.com/Ju8Z4oreJR
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 and Petite-Nation.
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.