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- For the second day in a row the public health unit in Belleville, Ont., is reporting a death from COVID-19, the area’s fourth.
- Parliament’s budget watchdog predicts the federal deficit will hit $252.1 billion because of the pandemic.
- CBC has launched a project remembering the first 1,000 COVID-19 victims in Canada.
- Visit our frequently updated Facebook page for some feel-good local stories.
What’s happening today?
The City of Ottawa has issued a controversial order banning window visits by relatives of residents at its long-term care homes. The city argued some visitors were failing to observe physical distancing rules.
Amid backlash, Mayor Jim Watson said he’s ordered city staff to find a way to allow the visits to resume safely by May 7.
We spoke to one local small business calling it quits now to avoid deep debt, while a Gatineau brewery is calling on Quebec to allow home delivery to help it survive by printing an open letter on its new IPA.
Now that Ottawa finds itself neither at the beginning nor at the end of the pandemic, some front-line workers tell CBC’s Hallie Cotnam the region feels like it’s in purgatory.
How many cases are there?
There are now 1,297 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and nearly 2,100 in all of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
The death toll in Ottawa has now risen to 76. The deaths of 40 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, and eight more in the wider region, have also been tied to COVID-19.
More than 900 people out of that regional total have recovered.
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.
Older people, those with compromised immune systems and those with underlying medical problems are more likely to develop serious problems.
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.
It can also spread through close and prolonged contact like handshaking, as well as via surfaces like phones and door handles.
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.
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
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. High schools, CEGEPs and universities will stay closed until fall.
WATCH: Lots of unknowns as teachers prepare to go back to work in Quebec
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.
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.
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.
WATCH: Postal workers thank Ottawa hospital staff
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: Multiple bankruptcies could be in our future
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.
For more information
- Ottawa Public Health,
- Your local eastern Ontario health unit,
- The Ontario Ministry of Health (in several languages).
- The Centre integre de sante et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada.