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Sports: What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 16

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What's the latest?

COVID-19 cases may be on the rise across Ontario, but the increase is slow, and in Ottawa, at least one expert says the increase isn't concerning.

Ontario reported 552 new cases of the illness Monday, an increase of approximately 15 per cent over the same time last week, while Ottawa's new daily cases have been fluctuating, but not showing a dramatic surge.

Both of Ottawa's English-language school boards say they will partially reopen schools to community uses, such as after-school sports, by late November.

The restrictions on school access have hit the city's sports organizations particularly hard since they've had to find more expensive private alternatives for facilities, or cut back on how many people can participate.

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The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) are moving up their reopening plans by at least six weeks.

The NHL postponed three Ottawa Senators games on Monday amid a COVID-19 outbreak on the team, the first time any of North America's major professional sports leagues have been hit by rescheduling this fall because of the coronavirus.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 49 more COVID-19 cases Monday and the death of someone in their 70s who had COVID-19. A COVID-19 death was also reported by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, its 130th.

How many cases are there?

As of Monday, Ottawa has had 31,421 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 388 known active cases, while 30,423 cases are considered resolved and 610 people have died from the illness.

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Ottawa-Gatineau area confirmed COVID-19 cases

Public health officials have reported more than 58,200 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 56,300 cases now resolved. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 224 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 223.

Akwesasne has had more than 1,050 residents test positive for COVID-19 and has reported 14 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has had 34 cases and one death. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 21 cases and one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any cases.

What are the rules?

There are no capacity restrictions for most places that require proof of vaccination nor for outdoor organized events.

The plan is to lift public health measures in stages until March 2022, with the next step paused until at least December as officials monitor some rising trends.

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

The province's vaccine passport is required for people of an eligible vaccine age in many public places. People can show paper, PDF or QR code proof.

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 capacity limits for Quebec venues with assigned seats and restaurants.

A number of new, less strict rules are now in effect, including dancing and singing allowed in restaurants, no distancing in gyms and no masks when seated in high schools.

The premier said in October the state of emergency that gives the government special powers will be lifted once kids aged five to 11 are vaccinated.

A vaccine passport is in place for most people age 13 and up in many public spaces.

People can use an app or show paper proof; people from out of province can show proof from their province, territory or country. The province has a record for Quebecers to use outside of the province.

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

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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.

This means 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.

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.

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

When and how long to self-isolate can vary in Quebec and Ontario and by vaccination status.

Travellers must now be vaccinated to board a plane, train or marine vessel in Canada. Partially vaccinated travellers can show proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test until Nov. 29.

The U.S. has reopened its land border with Canada. It requires all travellers — land, air and water — to be fully vaccinated. Some people with mixed doses will be allowed and it won't require a recent test.

People have to be fully vaccinated, tested and pre-approved to enter Canada.

The prime minister said in late October he's "very confident" countries around the world will accept provincial or territorial proof of vaccination.

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Vaccines

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.

The two most common are approved for youth as young as 12. Trial data is being reviewed for the first shot for younger kids and health officials are well into developing plans for if it's approved.

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 3.6 million COVID-19 first, second and third vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region, 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 some flexibility so check their websites for details. They offer doses on short notice as campaigns look to fill gaps in vaccine coverage and cover expanded third dose eligibility.

The province has recommended people aged 18 to 24 get the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty, vaccine because the Moderna 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.

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People aged 70 and over can get a third dose at least six months after their second.

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.

Ontario says to get tested by making an appointment at a clinic if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job.

Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies.

Rapid and take-home tests are available in some places, including pharmacies and some child-care settings when risk is high. A positive test will trigger a test at a clinic.

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

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 being offered in some places instead of a swab.

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 (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.

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