Wednesday, September 28, 2022

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News

Recent developments:

What’s the latest?

New capacity limits and physical distancing requirements will come into effect Monday for many Ottawa businesses as the city faces a souring COVID-19 case rate likely driven by the Omicron variant.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, announced Friday afternoon she had issued a letter of instruction directing many businesses to limit capacity to 50 per cent.

The letter of instruction also includes other more targeted restrictions for bars and restaurants, like requiring patrons to remain seated and limiting the number of diners to six per table.

Ottawa has reported more than 300 COVID-19 cases in one day for just the seventh time and the city is seeing several indicators double in a matter of days.

Ontario’s premier and chief medical officer of health is now scheduled to speak at 3:30 pm

Starting Monday, all travelers will once again need to get a COVID-19 molecular test before returning to Canada, rolling back an exemption announced last month. Canada has dropped its travel ban on flights from 10 African countries.

Ottawa residents looking for a vaccine this week say the frustration of earlier vaccine hunting is back. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has made changes including a new mass clinic and stopping walk-in third doses.

friday morning, OPH announced it was out of appointments at its clinics and was working to create more spaces on Monday.

WATCH | Ottawa Public Health says number of new cases is ‘on the worst possible curve’ as the holidays approach

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News

Ottawa Public Health says number of new cases is ‘on the worst possible curve’ as the holidays approach

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, announced the return of capacity limits for many businesses — including restaurants, sports facilities and museums — and encouraged residents to limit their close contacts. 2:00

How many cases are there?

As of Friday, Ottawa has had 33,712 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

There are 1,223 known active cases, while 31,869 cases are considered resolved and 620 people have died from the illness.

Public health officials have reported more than 64,9 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 60,400 cases now resolved. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 242 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 223.

Akwesasne has had about 1,250 residents test positive for COVID-19 and has reported 18 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 56 cases and one death. Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has had 52 cases and one death. Pikwàkanagàn hasn’t had any cases.

What are the rules?

Eastern Ontario:

Health officials say people should recommit to the fundamentals of getting vaccinated, testing and staying home when sick and limiting social contacts to counter the Omicron variant that’s further straining the health-care system.

Local officials can change rules and that’s happened in Renfrew County, the Belleville area and Kingston area. Ottawa is working on changes.

Health units for the Belleville, Kingston and Leeds,Grenville and Lanark areas are asking residents to avoid in-person gatherings, as are councils for Akwesasne and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg.

WATCH | Ontario’s science table says people, gov’t need to make changes:

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News

Calls for Ontario circuit breaker as experts warn about Omicron’s threat

Ontario’s top COVID-19 scientists are calling for a circuit breaker to slow down the case surge, as researchers learn more about the threat Omicron could pose to hospital capacity. 3:32

Private gathering limits are 25 people inside and 100 people outside. Long-term care rules are tightening over the next week.

The province’s vaccine passport is required for people age 12 and up in many public places. It won’t be required for younger kids.

People can prove their vaccine status with a paper document, a PDF file or a QR code. These documents have to have a QR code as of Jan. 4 and medical exemptions have to have one by Jan. 10.

Western Quebec

Ten people are allowed to gather inside homes and 20 people outdoors. A number of rules are being tightened on Monday including a number of capacity limits.

Masks will again be required in classrooms and on school buses and high schoolers will start January with online learning.

WATCH | The possible return of Quebec’s COVID curfew:

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News

Curfews not off the table, says Legault

Quebec Premier François Legault did not commit to ruling out curfew as a potential future measure to fight the Omicron variant. 0:53

A vaccine passport is in place for most people age 13 and up in many public spaces. It won’t apply to younger kids. People can use an app or show paper proof.

Other groups in the region are also coming out with their own COVID-19 vaccine policies, including for staff and visitors.

What can I do?


COVID-19 primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine.

Scientists are working to find out more about the very fast spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, its severity and the performance of vaccines against it.

WATCH | A Q&A on vaccine protection against Omicron:

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News

COVID-19: Should Omicron stop vaccinated people from socializing?

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti answers questions about the Omicron variant, including whether it’s OK for vaccinated people to socialize. 5:22

It is important to take precautions such as staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and considering distancing from anyone you don’t live with.

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News
Snow falls as a person makes their way along Wellington Street in Ottawa, on Dec. 15, 2021. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Masks, preferably medical or surgical ones, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and recommended in crowded outdoor areas.

When and how long to self-isolate can vary by community, by the type of exposure and by vaccination status.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands and have supplies in case they need to isolate.


Travelers more than 12 years and four months old must now be fully vaccinated to board a plane, train or marine vessel in Canada.

The federal government is officially advising against non-essential international travel until at least Jan. 12.

People have to be fully vaccinated and pre-approved to enter Canada and once again have to test negative for COVID-19 as of Tuesday. Travel restrictions no longer apply specifically to some African countries.

The US requires everyone crossing a land, air or water border to be fully vaccinated.

People flying there will need proof of a negative COVID test within a day of departure.

The hope is that other countries will accept provincial or territorial proof of vaccination.


Vaccines curb the spread of all variants of COVID-19 and go a long way toward avoiding deaths and hospitalizations, without offering total protection.

Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada, with some age restrictions.

WATCH | Canada’s vaccine reserve exceeds goal of 4 million doses:

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News

Federal government promises vaccine reserve cap

Former Procurement Minister Anita Anand on Aug. 12 said Canada will maintain a reserve of about four million vaccines for Canadians to access as needed, and said the rest will be used in other countries. 1:38

Health Canada has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for children as young as five. Both local provinces generally recommend doses for kids age five to 11 be given at least eight weeks apart, with limited exceptions.

Everyone 18 and older in Ontario is able to book third shots at provincial starting Monday and at participating pharmacies starting today. The province also shortened the interval required between the second and third doses from six months to three months.

Quebec will lower its age threshold for boosters to 65 on Monday, then age 60 one week later.

There have been more than 3.9 million COVID-19 first, second and third vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region, which has about 2.3 million residents.

Eastern Ontario

People born in 2016 and earlier can look for provincial appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

Local health units have some flexibility, so check their websites for details. Many offer child-only clinics.

Pharmacies and some family doctors offer vaccines through their own booking systems.

WATCH | Long lines for Ottawa vaccines, even with appointments:

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News

Ottawa residents face two-hour wait at vaccine clinic, even with appointments

Ottawa residents with appointments to get COVID-19 vaccines reported long waits at the Minto Sports Complex Thursday, just days before the province will expand third-dose eligibility to all Ontarians over the age of 18. 0:54

Western Quebec

Anyone who is five and older can get an appointment or visit a permanent or mobile walk-in clinic.

Clinics for children are in schools and kids will need written consent from a parent to be vaccinated there.

Siblings can be booked together in a single time slot and parents can check a box to signal if their child is nervous.

WATCH | Rapid tests arrive after opening at some Ottawa LCDBOs:

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 17 | Nation World News

Ottawa residents find limited supply of rapid tests at LCDBO stores

Residents who were able to get the kits say they’re relieved to have them ahead of the holidays, but say they should have been widely available much earlier. 0:57

Symptoms and testing

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, headache, vomiting and loss of taste or smell.

“Long-haul” symptoms can last for months.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help,

In eastern Ontario:

Ontario says to get tested by making an appointment at a clinic if you fit certain criteria. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.

Select pharmacies test people with symptoms, along with certain people without symptoms.

Rapid and take-home tests are available in malls, libraries and LCBOs, Kingston-area family doctor offices, and some child-care settings when risk is high. Students will get a pack of test kits for the holiday break.

A positive rapid test will trigger a follow-up.

Travelers who need a test have local options to pay for one.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.

People can make an appointment or see if they’re near a walk-in option online. They can also call 1-877-644-4545 with questions during hours the line is running.

Gargle tests are offered in some places instead of a swab.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are available in all Quebec daycares, preschools and elementary schools and as of Monday, through pharmacies for the general population.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone traveling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.

Akwesasne has COVID-19 test and vaccine clinicswith information online or at 613-575-2341.

People in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg can call the health center at 819-449-5593 for a test or vaccine; email is another option for vaccine booking.

Tests are available in Pikwkanagàn by calling 613-625-1175 and vaccines (including third doses) at 613-625-2259 extension 225 or by email.

Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.

Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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