Canada: What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 26

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A cyclist rides along the Ottawa River Pathway on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. © Kimberley Molina/CBC A cyclist rides along the Ottawa River Pathway on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What's the latest?

A group of federal public servants is organizing in an effort to avoid complying with the government's new mandatory COVID-19 vaccination rules.

The group, called Feds for Freedom, says members are not anti-vaccine but don't agree with the federal policy because it violates their privacy and bodily-autonomy rights.

The COVID-19 pandemic made the Rock Dunder hiking trail even more desirable, as visitors from across the region sought out wide-open spaces. But the crowds are upsetting some locals and even causing damage.

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Unlike last October, when the Ontario government recommended against trick-or-treating in COVID-19 hot zones like Ottawa, health officials are taking a more lenient approach this year.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 20 more COVID-19 cases Monday and no new deaths.

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How many cases are there?

As of Monday, Ottawa has a total of 30,714 cases of COVID-19. There are 238 known active cases, 29,874 cases are considered resolved, and 602 people have died from the illness.

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Ottawa-Gatineau area confirmed COVID-19 cases

Public health officials have reported nearly 57,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 55,200 cases now resolved. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 213 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 222.

Akwesasne has had more than 1,000 residents test positive for COVID-19 and has reported 12 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has had 34 cases and one death. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 20 cases, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any cases.

What are the rules?

The province's vaccine passport system is in place for people of an eligible vaccine age. QR codes for scanning are now available, along with paper and PDF options.

The Ontario government has lifted capacity restrictions for most places that require proof of vaccination. It's planning to lift public health measures in stages, with the next in mid-November and the last in late March 2022.

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Private gathering limits are 25 people inside and 100 people outside.

Under its green zone rules, 10 people are allowed to gather inside private residences and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports.

There are no longer capacity limits for Quebec venues with assigned seats. Restaurants will lose capacity and hour limits next Monday.

A vaccine passport is in place for most people age 13 and up in spaces such as public events, restaurants, gyms and hospitals.

Quebecers can use an app or show paper proof; people from out of province will have to show paper proof. The province has a new record specifically designed for use out of the province.

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

The premier says the pandemic state of emergency order that gives the government special powers will be lifted once kids aged five to 11 are vaccinated.

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. Variants of concern are more contagious and are established.

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This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future, 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.

Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and recommended in crowded outdoor areas.

A cyclist wearing a mask bikes past the Stanley Cup statue on Sparks Street on Sept. 30, 2021, during the COVD-19 pandemic. © Trevor Pritchard/CBC A cyclist wearing a mask bikes past the Stanley Cup statue on Sparks Street on Sept. 30, 2021, during the COVD-19 pandemic.

Health leaders in the area generally say smaller Halloween gatherings are allowed with precautions for the unvaccinated and/or vulnerable. Guidance can be stricter in areas where COVID-19 is spreading more than others, such as Akwesasne.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length of self-isolation varies in Quebec and Ontario.

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

There's federal guidance for what vaccinated people can do in different situations.

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All would-be travellers must be fully vaccinated by Saturday to board a plane, train or marine vessel in Canada.

Fully vaccinated, tested and pre-approved people can come to Canada.

The U.S. will require all travellers to be fully vaccinated as of Nov. 8. Some people with mixed doses will be allowed to cross the border.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he's "very confident" countries around the world will accept Canadians' provincial or territorial proof of vaccination.

Vaccines

Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada.

The two most common are approved for youth as young as 12. Trial data is being reviewed for the first shot for younger kids.

Canada's vaccine task force says people can wait three to 16 weeks between first and second doses and it's safe and effective to mix first and second doses.

Ontario and Quebec are giving certain groups third doses.

There have been more than 3.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region — combined first, second and third doses — which has about 2.3 million residents.

Ontario is vaccinating anyone who will be age 12 or older in 2021.

People can look for provincial appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies and some family doctors offer vaccines through their own booking systems.

Local health units have flexibility, including for booking and third shots, so check their websites for details.

They offer doses on short notice as campaigns shift to fill gaps in vaccine coverage.

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The province has recommended people age 18 to 24 get the Pfizer-BioNTech, or Comirnaty, vaccine because the Moderna or Spikevax vaccine brings a mild risk of a rare heart condition.

Anyone 12 and older can make an appointment or visit a permanent or mobile walk-in clinic.

Symptoms and testing

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

Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

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

Anyone seeking a COVID-19 test can make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.

Ontario says to only get tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.

People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Rapid tests are available in some places, including some child-care settings when risk is high.

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

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

People can make an appointment or see what their walk-in options are online. They can also call 1-877-644-4545 with questions.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are available in all Quebec preschools and elementary schools.

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

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

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

Tests are available in Pikwàkanagàn by calling 613-625-1175 and vaccines, 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.

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 4 .
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