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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, May 3 –

Recent developments:

  • Another 14 people have died in the city from COVID-19, according to Ottawa Public Health’s Sunday report, making it the deadliest day of the pandemic.
  • In total, there have been 1,483 confirmed cases of the virus in Ottawa.
  • Ontario reported 434 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
  • Nine new cases were reported in the Outaouais.
  • Health Canada is restricting the use of a rapid COVID-19 test created by Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience after the National Microbiology Lab found problems that made it unreliable.
  • Ottawa is in the “post-peak period,” says the city’s top doctor.
  • Visit our Facebook page dedicated to feel-good local stories.

What’s happening today?

Health Canada has announced it’s restricting the use of a rapid COVID-19 created by Ottawa company Spartan Bioscience after the National Microbiology Lab found problems with the test that made it unreliable. Thousands of the test kits had been already ordered by both provincial and federal governments.

If all goes according to plan, this will be the last weekend Gatineau Park will be closed to visitors. Starting next weekend, the National Capital Commission will allow access to people who can get to the park by foot or bicycle.

For now, people can access the Queen Elizabeth Driveway.

Ontario will allow some businesses to reopen tomorrow, including garden centres, lawn and landscaping businesses, and car washes. They’ll have to follow strict public safety guidelines.

As the government of Quebec plans to reopen elementary schools on May 11 in most regions outside Montreal, an English-language school board in western Quebec says it won’t open its schools until it can ensure it can be done safely.

Cliff and Bev Grassie sit across from their son Wayne and daughter-in-law Jill, as they celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary while practising physical distancing to protect each other from the risk of COVID-19, at the Carp Commons Retirement Village, in Ottawa, on Saturday, May 2, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

How many cases are there?

There are now 1,483 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 14 new deaths. There are currently more than 2,300 confirmed cases in all of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

The death toll in Ottawa is 92. The deaths of 40 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, and nine more in the wider region, have also been tied to COVID-19.

The number of people in the region who have recovered sits at more than 1,200.

Confirmed cases represent only a fraction of the actual number because of limited testing, though testing is slowly being expanded.

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, fatigue and a dry cough.

Other potential symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose and the loss of taste or smell.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Distancing and isolating

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, although people can be asymptomatic and still be contagious.

That means physical distancing measures remain in effect: people should avoid non-essential trips, work from home, cancel gatherings and stay at least two metres away from anyone you don’t live with.

WATCH: Ottawa appears to be ‘in the post-peak period,’ public health agency says

Vera Etches, chief medical officer of health, says the city appears to be in the “post-peak period” when it comes to new community infections, though outbreaks at long-term care homes remain a problem. 0:41

Anyone who has symptoms, travelled recently outside Canada or, specifically in Ottawa, is waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate for at least 14 days.

The same goes for anyone in Ontario who’s been in contact with someone who’s tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.

People 70 and older or those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions should also go into self-isolation.

How daily life is changing

Municipal parks are only open to walk through and authorities are watching for gatherings in many communities. Provincial and national parks are closed.

Ottawa has cancelled event permits and closed many facilities until July. Quebec has asked organizers to cancel events until September.

Quebec has banned non-essential travel into and through the Outaouais until May 11, when the ban is set to be lifted everywhere but Gatineau.

As for schools: Ontario’s will remain closed through May, but Quebec plans to open elementary schools and daycares in mid-May for parents who want to send their kids; however, English-language school boards insist classes will only resume when it is safe to do so.

High schools, CEGEPs and universities will stay closed until fall.

Where to get tested

Anyone concerned they have COVID-19 in Ontario can call Telehealth at 1-866-797-000 or fill out the province’s online assessment tool.

In Ottawa people can be tested at the Brewer Arena from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., seven days a week. Those with mild or moderate symptoms can visit clinics in Bells Corners or Alta Vista weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The city is encouraging all people 60 and older who have COVID-19 symptoms to get tested.

Staff work on inventory to fulfill online and telephone orders at a Ritchie Feed and Seed garden centre in the Ottawa community of Stittsville, on Saturday, May 2. Ontario will allow some businesses, including garden centres, to open to the public on Monday provided they follow public health guidelines. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

There are drive-thru test centres in Casselman and Hawkesbury that don’t require people to call ahead, and others in Rockland, Winchester and Cornwall that require a referral.

In Kingston, the assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone with symptoms.

WATCH: Residents relying on ODSP say the pandemic has them at a breaking point

People who rely on Ontario’s Disability Support Program say their expenses have risen since the pandemic began, leaving them closer to the financial edge than ever before. Angie Allard and Terrie Meehan spoke to CBC’s Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco. 2:24

The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to only call 613-966-5500 they still have questions after the province’s self-assessment.

Same for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark‘s unit at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499.

That unit has testing sites open in in Almonte and Smiths Falls which require a referral, as well as a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and a home test service for people in care or with mobility challenges.

Renfrew County is also providing home testing under some circumstances. Residents without a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 if they have health questions.

In western Quebec:

Outaouais residents should call 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever, whether they’ve travelled or not. They could end up being referred to Gatineau’s testing centre.

WATCH: Is airborne transmission possible with COVID-19 ?

An infectious disease specialist answers your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic including whether airborne transmission is possible. 2:18

First Nations communities

Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.

Akwesasne‘s health department has opened a mobile COVID-19 test site that’s available by appointment only. Anyone returning to Akwesasne who’s been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Anyone in Tyendinaga who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.

Pikwakanagan’s new council has ordered all businesses to close, while Kitigan Zibi has postponed its June election.

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