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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, April 30 –

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Recent developments:

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.

Read all about it: Brasserie du Bas-Canada’s new Welcome to 2020 IPA includes a manifesto printed on the label asking the Quebec government to allow home delivery. (Brasserie du Bas-Canada )

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.

A sign for a local business stands on the grounds of the empty Parkdale Market during the COVID-19 pandemic on April 29, 2020. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said farmers markets will open this year, but with certain restrictions. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

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

WATCH: Lots of unknowns as teachers prepare to go back to work in Quebec

Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, says teachers are facing a return to schools while many ‘basic’ questions about safety are still unanswered. 1:14

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.

Signs in the windows of a self storage facility thank frontline workers for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Saturday, April 25, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

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

Postal workers drove to the Civic campus of the Ottawa Hospital on Thursday morning to thank health-care workers for their efforts during the pandemic. 0:59

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

Brian Doyle, licensed insolvency trustee with Doyle Salewski Inc., says the pandemic has pushed some Canadian families and businesses over the financial edge, leading to one week in March where his firm saw its highest ever number of insolvency filings. 1:17

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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