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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 21 – CBC.ca

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Recent developments:

What’s happening today?

Ontario’s chief coroner is making sweeping changes to how hospitals and funeral homes deal with the dead, in part to speed up processing times. The effort could help avoid scenes like those in Italy and the United States where bodies were stored in places like refrigerated semi-trailers and skating arenas. 

While it may seem you have all the time in the world for a new pet these days, experts are warning families from making a rash decision they could regret later. 

Some garbage collection in Ottawa may be delayed by a day in zones two and four. An employee with one of the companies contracted to collect waste, Miller Waste, tested positive for the virus, said city officials on Monday. The company is working with Ottawa Public Health. 

CBC Ottawa is launching a new Q&A series called COVID Questions Answered. The series aims to answer all your COVID-19 questions, from homeschooling to finances. 

WATCH: Why Ottawa’s top doctor can’t say the city has peaked

Vera Etches, Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health, says there’s limited evidence for a peak in COVID-19 cases in the city, though the rate of hospitalizations is not increasing. 0:50

How many cases are there?

There are now 857 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and more than 1,520 in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

The deaths of 37 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 25 in Ottawa and three more in the wider region have also been tied to COVID-19.

The vast majority of the deaths are seniors. 

From what we know, more than 450 people out of that regional total have recovered, but most local health units don’t share that data.

Confirmed cases represent only a fraction of the actual number because of limited testing.

Distancing and isolating

Physical distancing remains in effect: avoiding non-essential trips, working from home, cancelling all gatherings and staying 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.

Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower and the National War Memorial are reflected in a window at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, in front of a digital screen displaying an image of a rainbow with the message “Everything will be okay,” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday, April 19, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

In Ontario, anyone in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed to have COVID-19 must also self-isolate for 14 days.

Ontario also recommends people older than 70 and those with compromised immune systems or underlying health issues go into voluntary self-isolation. 

How daily life is changing

Passengers on domestic flights must now wear non-medical masks covering their nose and mouth.

WATCH: Ontario’s chief coroner ‘saddened’ by COVID-19 changes

Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s chief coroner, says the normal process for holding funerals has been upended amid the pandemic, with families being asked to make much faster decisions than they otherwise would. 1:36

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

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.

Schools in Ontario and Quebec are closed until at least May and non-essential businesses should be closed. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

They range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, most commonly fever, fatigue and a dry cough.

Recently added symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose and less common symptoms such as 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.

WATCH: No clear sense of how long pandemic could last

Barbara Yaffe, associate chief medical officer of health, says that even though cases of COVID-19 community spread in Ontario appear to have peaked, public health measures must remain in place. 0:56

The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can be contagious without having symptoms.

The germs can also spread through close, prolonged contact, such as handshaking, and via surfaces such as door handles, phones and light switches.

Where to get tested

Anyone concerned they have COVID-19 in Ontario can fill out its online assessment tool. 

There’s also Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000; be prepared for wait times.

Ottawans with symptoms and who meet certain criteria can get tested at the Brewer Arena. 

It’s open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You don’t have to call ahead.

People with mild or moderate symptoms can also visit clinics in Bells Corners or Alta Vista weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WATCH: How Ottawa is stepping up supports for the homeless

The City of Ottawa has announced an extra $11 million in funding for the city’s social services during the pandemic, money that Coun. Jenna Sudds says will allow the shelter system to expand and make physical distancing easier for clients. 0:37

There are drive-thru test centres in Casselman and Hawkesbury without needing to call ahead with similarly-expanded criteria and others in Rockland, Winchester and Cornwall with a referral.

Vulnerable people can call 613-933-1375 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to ask about a home test.

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 only call it at 613-966-5500 if 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.

It has testing sites by referral from a family doctor or the health unit only in Almonte and Smiths Falls, a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and a home test service for people in care or with mobility challenges.

People walk and run along Queen Elizabeth Drive in Ottawa as it is closed to motor vehicle traffic to allow people to get outdoors while practicing physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, on Saturday, April 18, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Renfrew County is also providing home testing under some circumstances.

Anyone who doesn’t have or can’t reach a family doctor can call its new primary health-care centre at 1-844-727-6404 if they have any 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. You could be referred to Gatineau’s testing centre.

If your symptoms require a trip to the ER, call ahead if you can to let them know your travel history.

First Nations communities

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

Akwesasne’s health department is opening a mobile COVID-19 test site by appointment only. Call 613-575-2341 extension 3220 if you live in the northern part of the community and have symptoms.

Anyone returning there from farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Anyone in Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.

Pikwakanagan’s new council has ordered all businesses to close.

Kitigan Zibi has postponed a June election.

For more information

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Coronavirus: Two new cases in Winnipeg Friday brings total to 300 – Globalnews.ca

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This story will be updated as the press conference continues.

Two new cases of the novel coronavirus were announced Friday, both of them in Winnipeg.

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The latest cases include one man in his 20s, and another in his 30s, according to the province. One is a truck driver, and the other man was a close contact.

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As of Thursday an additional 671 laboratory tests for the virus were performed. The total number of tests performed since early February is now 47,372.

“Each Manitoban is going to have to decide the level of risk they’re going to take [going forward],” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial health officer.

But people who are sick should still stay home, he said.

Roussin added workplaces need to look at their policies and practices when it comes to staying home because they’re ill.

“We need to make it easy as possible … the alternative is people come to work sick.”

Lanette Siragusa reminded people that hospitals and health care centres will start allowing a designated visitor, but some may not start until Monday or later.

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Shared Health’s Chief Nursing Officer said people should call before they go.


READ MORE:
Safety officers heading to Manitoba beaches amid COVID-19, no new cases reported Thursday

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

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COVID-19 roundup: new case reported in Owen Sound Friday – Owen Sound Sun Times

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This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like.

Photo supplied

One new case of COVID-19 was reported in the region Friday according to the Grey Bruce Health Unit’s daily situation report.

The most recent case was reported in Owen Sound, according to the health unit’s data.

Eighty-eight of the region’s 98 total cases have recovered. None of the active cases are currently hospitalized, and no deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 locally.

Twenty-four cases of the disease have been reported in healthcare workers. No local long-term care or retirement homes are currently under a declared COVID-19 outbreak.

* * *

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is recommending people use virtual forms of participation such as signing petitions, donating to groups, and learning more about racism and how to address it as anti-racism protests spread throughout the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Racism is a public health issue. Racism, in its many forms, profoundly impacts the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities,” said a Grey Bruce Health Unit news release. “We recognize that, at this time, people may want to gather to march and express themselves with respect to supporting efforts to end racism.”

The release did list several considerations for people who must participate in any local rallies including spreading out to maintain proper physical distancing, staying outside, wearing a face covering, and bringing hand sanitizer.

The health unit is asking older adults, the immunocompromised, and those living with vulnerable people who are more susceptible to serious complications should they contract COVID-19, to reconsider the need to be present in a large crowd.

“The Grey Bruce Health Unit has the responsibility to identify risk associated with any public health threat, including COVID-19. We remind people that gatherings increase the risk of transmission of disease,” the release said.

* * *

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is encouraging all municipalities to adopt bylaws restricting the use of beach and waterfront spaces after rescinding the beach closure order enacted on May 14.

However, municipalities in Grey-Bruce can now open beaches fully, allow only walk-through access, or maintain a full closure of the beach.

In a bulletin on their website the health unit recommends people check with their local municipality to confirm the status of the beach, waterfront, and river access points before planning to use them.

Even if some public waterfront spaces do reopen, amenities such as public washrooms, change rooms, and water refill stations may still be closed, a health unit media release explained. Therefore, the health unit is recommending beachgoers bring their own water jug with a spigot, soap and paper towels to wash their hands – or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Public health is recommending people wear a non-medical face mask or face covering in places where proper physical distancing measures cannot be controlled. They’re also recommending people bring reusable water bottles and individual containers for food to prevent sharing, and their own garbage bags.

Public health is asking residents to be patient with visitors and tourists who do not know the local guidance information and to politely inform them what is allowed at local beaches, and the proper guidelines to follow.

“We all want to have an enjoyable summer on our beautiful beaches in the safest and most sustainable way possible. We’re in this together,” the bulletin reads.

* * *

Community lab collections at South Bruce Grey Health Centre’s Chesley and Durham sites will resume on Monday.

Appointments will be required to ensure proper physical distancing for patient safety. Patients can begin booking appointments for June 15 and beyond by calling Patient Registration for Chesley (519-363-2340) or Durham (519-369-2340) between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

People are asked to have a health card and lab requisition ready when calling. A high volume of calls is expected and some waiting may be necessary, according to an SBGHC media release.

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Long-term care company cuts ties with executive after comments made during meeting – OttawaMatters.com

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A long-term care provider’s decision to cut ties with an executive who made disparaging remarks about the relatives of residents struck by the COVID-19 pandemic falls short of the mark, family members said Friday as they continued to push for greater accountability.

They said Sienna Senior Living’s decision to part ways with former executive vice-president of operations Joanne Dykeman does little to address their concerns about the care their relatives are receiving. Dykeman’s comments, they added, raise questions about the company’s overall commitment to residents and their families.

Sienna announced Dykeman’s departure a day after she was overheard mocking family members of seniors living at a home in Woodbridge, Ont., which has been grappling with a deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

Immediately following an online video conference to discuss the situation at Woodbridge Vista Care Community, attendees reported hearing Dykeman refer to them as litigious and blood-sucking when she thought the call had been disconnected.

Sienna declined to verify the substance of Dykeman’s comments, but said they “fell far short of our expectations” and apologized to members of the Woodbridge Vista community.

For Mike di Donato, whose 92-year-old grandmother was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 at the home, the company’s actions weren’t good enough.

“There’s a culture problem there,” the 43-year-old said in a telephone interview. “There needs to be change.”

Di Donato said his grandmother moved to the facility last fall and received excellent care for the first several months of her residency.

He said his family did not become truly concerned until early May when the first positive cases were identified at the facility.

Di Donato said his grandmother tested positive for the virus on May 17, but he did not receive an update from Woodbridge Vista’s resident doctor until more than a week later.

That call, he said, came hours after the Ontario government released a damning military report about horrific conditions in five long-term care homes where soldiers had been deployed to provide support, including another facility owned by Sienna. The report detailed a litany of disturbing findings, including improper hygiene practices and inadequate efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Di Donato said he learned last weekend his grandmother was one of 18 Woodbridge Vista residents sent to hospital with the virus. In the days since, he said her condition has deteriorated and his family was forced to say what they fear will be their final goodbyes via video.

Dykeman’s comments, he said, came Wednesday night during a Zoom call with dozens of concerned relatives.

He described her conduct during the meeting as “callous,” saying she did not seem truly engaged with the family’s concerns and declined to answer specific questions about the ongoing outbreak.

Once the call had officially concluded, he said, he and several attendees overheard her remarks. Di Donato and others present reported hearing Dykeman refer to relatives as “blood-sucking class-action lawsuit people” and mock concerns expressed by some at the meeting.

Dykeman, who did not respond to request for comment, no longer worked for Sienna as of Thursday afternoon.

That same day, the Ontario government said management of Woodbridge Vista was being reassigned to William Osler Health System, a nearby hospital where patients were already receiving treatment. Data from the local public health authority indicated more than 20 residents had died from the virus, while more than 100 had fallen ill. More than 40 staff members were also infected.

“Despite receiving hospital support, Woodbridge Vista Care Community has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19,” read a statement from the Ministry of Long-Term Care. “These steps will enable a rigorous management structure to help contain the spread of the disease and assist in returning their home to normal operations.”

Sienna said it has developed a six-point plan to protect residents, noting Dykeman’s remarks were not consistent with those efforts.  

“Our residents and their loved ones are deserving of our respect at all times and as a company we will ensure this respect guides our every action,” Sienna said, adding its “renewal” efforts include improving communication with families.

Di Donato said he questions Sienna’s commitment to change, but hopes the Dykeman controversy will force the company’s hand. 

“If she had disconnected properly from that Zoom call, would we be talking today? Probably not,” he said.

“They would have just kept doing what they’re doing.”

Sienna Living also owns Red Oak Retirement Homes located in Kanata.

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