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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, March 28 –



Recent developments:

  • Ottawa now has 75 confirmed cases, according to Ottawa Public Health.
  • Resident of Orléans retirement home, spouse, have COVID-19.
  • OPH says 17 in hospital, seven in intensive care unit.
  • Seven patients in ICU, most in their 50s and 60s.
  • Two Hull Hospital workers among 18 COVID-19 patients in Outaouais. 
  • Ottawa Public Health thanks residents for physical distancing, self-isolation but says people must continue in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

What you should know

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario doubles roughly every four days, Ottawa Public Health is urging everyone to continue to practise physical distancing and self-isolation when required to flatten the curve as much as possible.

As of Friday evening there were 75 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city, Ottawa Public Health said.  

Of the positive cases, 17 are in hospital and seven of those patients are in intensive care. Ottawa Public Health said most patients in the ICU are in their 50s and 60s, and only one patient is over the age of 70.

The city’s medical officer of health Vera Etches said that’s a reminder people of any age can have severe symptoms of the virus, not just the elderly. 

“We know that staying home and practising physical distancing or being in self isolation is not easy and we thank you for what you’re doing to help plank the curve,” said Etches in a news conference Friday.

LISTEN: The latest from Vera Etches on COVID-19 in Ottawa

In a news conference conducted by telephone Friday, Vera Etches, with Ottawa Public Health, says health agencies are seeing people from a wide range of age groups falling seriously ill with COVID-19. 0:44

Physical distancing means avoiding non-essential trips out, working from home and cancelling gatherings, even with friends or extended family.

Ottawa Public Health advises residents to only be with members of their own household and stay at least two metres away from everyone else.

Public health officials are also urging anyone who’s had close contact with someone who has travelled outside the country to self-solate for 14 days.

That means staying home for two weeks and asking relatives, friends or neighbours to deliver groceries, medication and other supplies. All deliveries should be left at the door to maintain a two-metre distance.

WATCH: Trudeau on why your choices matter today

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says projections of how serious the COVID-19 pandemic could become in Canada depend on Canadians’ own actions. 1:17

People who feel sick should also self-isolate for 14 days or until 24 hours after their symptoms are gone, whichever is longer.

Travellers who return to Canada must now enter a mandatory 14-day period of self-isolation or face a fine of up to $750,000, or as much as six months in jail, unless they’re an essential worker.

How daily life is changing

Many municipalities across Canada have declared states of emergency, including in eastern Ontario. 

In Ottawa declaring an emergency allows the city to buy needed equipment and supplies without the usual procurement process, including personal protective equipment, food for the vulnerable and hotel rooms for emergency workers.

Ontario and Quebec have ordered all non-essential businesses to close.

Ontario Provincial Police said Friday officers will fine individuals or businesses that break the physical distancing rules.

Police in Quebec are also enforcing a ban on gatherings of more than two people.

WATCH: Provinces open up COVID-19 snitch lines

The provinces have opened up non-compliance hotlines or websites for the public to report people who are not following social distancing or isolation rules. 1:56

Sports venues such as fields and courts are closed to discourage gatherings. City playgrounds, parks facilities and off-leash dog parks are closed. The NCC has closed Gatineau Park along with parking lots at its trails and dog parks in Ottawa’s Greenbelt.

Quebec schools are closed until at least May, while Ontario has launched an e-learning program while its schools remain closed, likely past the initial date of April 6.

WATCH: CBC Ottawa’s Local Daily for Friday, March 27

Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, Adrian Harewood and Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco bring you the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa. 11:19

Public transit authorities are scaling back service because ridership has dropped substantially. 

Ottawa residents needing information can still call 311, and all essential services such as garbage and recycling collection, as well as some bylaw services, will continue. 

Service Canada has closed its centres to in-person visits, focusing on telephone and online work.

Spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa

Ottawa’s health-care sector is ramping up for an expected surge in COVID-19 patients. 

Doctors, nurses and cleaning staff in Ottawa are already starting to ration disposable masks to conserve the current supply. 

The Montfort and Queensway Carleton hospitals are preparing to open up urgent care centres for COVID-19 patients. More details on that are expected next week. 

The Ottawa Hospital is doubling its number of intensive care beds and seeking donations of masks and other personal protective equipment at 

On Friday Ottawa Public Health announced a resident of an Orléans retirement home is among those in hospital with COVID-19, along with the resident’s spouse. Ottawa Public Health said all other residents at the Promenade retirement home are in isolation, while employees are being monitored for symptoms and are donning personal protective equipment.

The city saw its first COVID-19-related death on March 25, a man in his 90s with no travel history.

The Front Steps: Ottawa photographer brings viral photo project to Rockland

Families in Clarence-Rockland gathered on their porches and driveways in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to have their photos taken from a distance. Photographer Stacey Laviolette was inspired by The Front Steps Project, and used the movement to raise money for the Rockland Help Centre’s food bank. 1:57

Ontario has 993 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Quebec has 2,021 presumptive and confirmed cases.

Fifty-five deaths in Canada have been linked to COVID-19, including 18 each in Ontario and Quebec. 

Ottawa’s medical officer of health said the virus could infect 4,000 people a day at its peak if physical distancing and self-isolation recommendations aren’t respected.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from a very mild, cold-like illness to a severe lung infection. The most common symptoms include fever, fatigue and a dry cough.

They may take up to 14 days to appear, which is why that’s the period of self-isolation.

Older people, those with compromised immune systems and those with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

(CBC News)

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The virus can also spread through close, prolonged contact, such as touching or handshaking, and via surfaces such as door handles, mobile phones, tables and light switches if they touch their eyes, nose or mouth before washing their hands.

When to get tested

Ottawa Public Health asks that everyone who is concerned they may have COVID-19 first fill out Ontario’s online assessment tool. 

Unless you have severe symptoms, like shortness of breath, the best course of action is to stay home. Currently Ottawa is prioritizing tests for those who are most in need.

If you have a worsening cough and/or fever and you travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, Ottawa Public Health asks that you visit the COVID-19 screening centre at the Brewer Arena.

The centre is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 151 Brewer Way, off Bronson Avenue near Carleton University. You don’t have to call ahead.

If you meet some of the criteria but don’t have symptoms, you won’t be tested and should self-isolate for 14 days. If you have severe symptoms and cannot manage at home, call 911.

WATCH: More COVID-19 cases in Quebec makes staying home ‘even more important,’ premier says

Quebec Premier François Legault said that with more than 2,000 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the province, it’s even more important for residents to practice physical distancing. 0:42

In western Quebec:

Gatineau’s downtown assessment location is at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond.

Outaouais resident should call the regional help line at 819-644-4545 if they have a cough or fever, whether they’ve travelled or not.

If your symptoms require a trip to the emergency room, call ahead if your condition allows to let them know your travel history.

Kingston, Ont.

The assessment centre in Kingston is now at the Kingston Memorial Centre at 303 York St. It is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you develop mild to moderate symptoms after travelling, either contact your health-care provider or go to the test site.

Kingston’s public health unit says to check its website for information, and call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 with any remaining questions.

Other communities

The public health unit in the Belleville, Ont., area is asking people only call it at 613-966-5500 if they’ve checked the website and still have questions.

The same advice goes for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark‘s unit at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499.

It opened a testing site by referral only at the Brockville Memorial Centre at 100 Magedoma Blvd. that’s open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Referrals can come from a family doctor or the public health unit and will only be given to the sick and people who have left the country or been in close contact with a suspected or confirmed case.

Hawkesbury, Ont., has an assessment centre at 750 Laurier St. open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

Like Ottawa, only go there if you have new or worsening symptoms and have travelled or been in contact with a confirmed case. Go to CHEO if you’re looking after an infant younger than six months old that fits this description.

Self-isolate if you have mild symptoms, go to the hospital if your symptoms are severe.

Only people older than age 70, who have chronic health problems or compromised immune systems can call 613-933-1375 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to ask about a home visit from paramedics.

Renfrew County is providing home testing under some circumstances.

Its public health unit says people who have symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed case should use the province’s self-assessment tool.

Call Telehealth​​​, their health care provider or it at 613-735-8654 if they still have more questions.

Anyone who doesn’t have or can’t reach a family doctor can call its new primary care centre at 1-844-727-6404 if they have questions about their health.

The province says it’s doubling its testing capacity by the end of the week and nearly quadrupling that by mid-April.

In the Outaouais, the local health agency is calling anyone whose tests take more than a week to get back to them.

First Nations communities

The Mohawk communities of Akwesasne and Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) have declared a state of emergency to prepare for possible cases.

Anyone in MBQ who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. A home test may be possible after that.

In Akwesasne, community members are asked to carry their status cards when crossing the Canada-U.S. border for essential trips.

The Algonquin communities of Kitigan Zibi and Pikwakanagan have scaled back non-essential services and are asking residents to follow public health advice.

Pikwakanagan’s election on Saturday, March 28 is going ahead, with members strongly encouraged to vote remotely.

For more information, visit:

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Testing underway after 8 migrant workers at Elgin County farm test positive for coronavirus – Global News



Officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) and Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) say coronavirus testing is underway at a St. Thomas-area farm after at least eight temporary foreign workers tested positive for the virus this week.

An outbreak was declared on Thursday at Ontario Plants Propagation, a greenhouse operation along John Wise Line, days after the MLHU said it first became aware of a case Monday night involving a worker at the farm, health officials said on Friday.

New Brunswick reverses ban on temporary foreign workers

That initial case led to 16 of the worker’s close contacts being tested on Tuesday, with seven of the tests coming back positive. As those workers live in London, the seven are included in the tally of new cases that was reported on Friday by MLHU.

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According to the health unit, another 40 workers living at the same complex as the first case were tested on Wednesday at London’s Carling Heights Assessment Centre.

The remaining workers in the group, meanwhile, were to be tested on Friday at Ontario Plants Propagation. Test results for all were expected over the coming days.

“The operator of this farm has been tremendously co-operative with us, and we believe that this outbreak is now contained,” said Dr. Alex Summers, associate medical officer of health with the MLHU, during Friday’s coronavirus media briefing.

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“Of course, we will be monitoring that very closely over the next couple of weeks.”

Coronavirus outbreak: How the pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in the food supply chain

Coronavirus outbreak: How the pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in the food supply chain

Summers said the workers had arrived primarily from Guatemala and Jamaica, and that as far as the health unit was aware, all had quarantined for 14 days upon arriving in Ontario.

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The workers are currently in self-isolation, and none have been admitted to hospital.

Health officials are still working to find the source of the outbreak, but Summers said it was believed they had been in Canada long enough that they either contracted it here, or “one of the other workers may have had mild symptoms that weren’t identified and transmitted it subsequently to their colleagues.”

“We believe that we have readily identified all close contacts and any additional cases,” Summers said. “Of course, we continue to watch for further results. But those tests have been done.”

Health officials stressed there was no risk to the public from the products grown on the farm, and that they didn’t believe there had been any close exposure or close contact outside of the migrant farmworker community.

“The living conditions for these migrant farmworkers were certainly a congregate living setting, but not exceptionally crowded, nor of specific concern for us,” Summers said.

“They were people living together and that would have resulted in the transmission.”

B.C.’s agricultural sector short 6,000 to 8,000 jobs due to lack of foreign workers

COVID-19 cases have also been reported at other southwestern Ontario farms during the pandemic.

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Fifty-one workers, local and foreign, at Greenhill Produce in Kent Bridge, Ont., tested positive for the coronavirus last month.

In Windsor-Essex, at least 16 workers from three farms in the region had tested positive for the virus as of early this month, the region’s health unit said.

In March, four workers tested positive at Highline Mushrooms in Kingsville, Ont.

Approximately 20,000 migrant workers come to the Ontario each year to work on farms and in greenhouses.

— With files from Shawn Jeffords of The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Six people can be added to existing double bubbles, government announces – NTV News



The provincial government announced Friday that residents can expand their bubbles effective immediately.

Up to six more people can be added to an existing double bubble. The new members do not have to be from the same household, but cannot change once added. The government still advises people to keep their bubbles as small as possible.

More guidance can be found online here:

Dr. Proton Rahman is scheduled to release new projections Friday on how the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding.


Dr. Fitzgerald announced no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.


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Ontario ramps up COVID-19 testing –



A new testing strategy for COVID-19 will see “targeted campaigns” to check workers in Ontario communities with hot spots and key sectors where the virus spreads easily, including auto manufacturing, food suppliers and major retailers.

Officials unveiled the new blueprint Friday, with elements echoing what Premier Doug Ford has been saying for more than a week — and what epidemiologists have been pushing for much longer — to get a better picture of the illness as the economy reopens.

“It’s really to be proactive and understand what’s happening,” said Dr. Vanessa Allen of Public Health Ontario, who was instrumental in cobbling together a network of provincial, hospital and private labs to expand testing capacity.

For example, workers at LCBO stores were offered testing in the last few days along with Toronto police, said Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s chief coroner, who was brought in to lead the testing strategy. Several liquor store workers have tested positive in the last few months.

If there are concerns about the virus in a particular business, mobile teams will be sent in to test, he added.

There are also plans to support “enhanced testing” for hospital workers and their families, residents and staff in retirement homes, and more testing in nursing homes, where a first testing blitz of all residents and staff was completed two weeks ago after the new coronavirus raced through hundreds of facilities. About 30 per cent of retirement home testing has been completed.

That testing will continue next week in addition to testing open to the public at Ontario’s 131 assessment centres, which changed their criteria two weeks ago to allow anyone with one symptom of COVID-19 to be swabbed, along with people with no symptoms but occupational risk of exposure, such as health-care workers, their families and grocery-store workers.

Previously, people with mild or moderate symptoms were turned away from testing centres and told to self-isolate at home. Confusion over eligibility prompted Ford to issue a plea for people to get checked under the new criteria.

The goal going forward is to “identify, contain and monitor” new cases and spread of COVID-19, officials said, releasing figures showing 55 per cent of test results are available the next day and 82 per cent within two days.

Aside from communities with a higher number of cases, officials will also focus on “high-risk” individuals, such as hospital patients and cross-border workers.

Officials are aiming to increase Ontario’s lab capacity to get ready for the fall, when more respiratory symptoms will pop up and create “a need for greater testing,” Allen said.

Ontario’s testing for COVID-19 has ramped up this week and is close to peaks rarely reached as the number of cases since the illness arrived four months ago approached 29,000 with almost 2,300 deaths.

Ministry of Health figures released Friday show 18,525 nasal swabs were processed at a network of provincial, hospital and commercial labs across the province the previous day.

The provincial daily lab capacity is just over 20,000.

Results were in progress on another 13,351 samples and there have now been 680,687 tests processed in the province of 14.5 million, or 4.7 per cent of the population.

There were another 391 confirmed and probable cases as of 11 a.m. Friday, according to a Star compilation of data from health units in the previous 24 hours.

That raised the total number of cases to 28,544 and 2,272 deaths.

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About 66 per cent of cases have been in the Greater Toronto Area.

To date, at least 1,625 nursing-home residents have died, and there are outbreaks in 123 homes, down six from the previous day. But 1,476 nursing-home residents and 1,113 staff members are still fighting active cases of the highly contagious virus that spreads easily in close quarters.

The Ministry of Health said there were 826 Ontarians in hospital for COVID-19, with 129 in intensive care and 100 on ventilators. While the first two numbers were down from the previous day, there were six more patients who had to be put on ventilators to breathe.

Just under 21,000 Ontarians have recovered from the virus.

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