The scientists watching Ottawa’s wastewater for COVID-19 say the new variant of Omicron coronavirus has not escaped their tests, and they are starting to collect data on how widespread it could be in the community.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) confirmed two more positive cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the city’s total to four.
CLOCK | Ottawa sewage shows no significant presence of omicrons:
The Ottawa sewage signal shows no significant presence of the Omicron variant – for now
As of today, unvaccinated individuals older than 12 years and four months will no longer be able to provide evidence of a recent COVID-19 test to board a plane, train, or cruise ship in Canada, with a few exceptions.
Canada also no longer requires citizens and permanent residents to provide evidence of a COVID test for trips under 72 hours.
Food bank usage in Ontario rose 10 percent in the first year of the pandemic, to its highest level since the recession, according to a new report.
How many cases are there?
As of Monday, there were 31,969 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are known 347 active cases, 31,004 cases are resolved and 618 people have died from the disease.
Public health officials have reported more than 59,900 COVID-19 cases in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 56,800 cases that have now been resolved. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 230 people have died with COVID-19. In western Quebec, the death toll is 223.
In Akwesasne, more than 1,100 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 deaths have been reported between its northern and southern sections.
Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg had 34 cases and one death. There have been 28 cases and one death in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Pikwakanagan had no cases.
CBC Ottawa is creating a profile who died of COVID-19. If you want to share the story of your loved ones, please get in touch.
What are the rules
Most locations that require a vaccination card, as well as organized outdoor events, have no capacity restrictions.
Public health measures are planned to be phased out by March 2022, with the next step paused until at least mid-December as officials see some rising trends.
People in face masks walk past a sign promoting a Black Friday sale at the Rideau Center shopping mall in Ottawa on November 26, 2021. (Michel Aspirot / CBC)
Private meeting limits are 25 people inside and 100 people outside.
Health Units Can Change Rules – Renfrew County has done so for Isolation and the Kingston area for indoor gatherings, school symptoms, and indoor sports.
Provincial vaccination records are required in many public places for people 12 and older. This is not necessary for younger children. People can provide paper, PDF, or QR code evidence.
Ten people are allowed to gather in private houses and 20 people outdoors – 50 people are allowed to do sports. There are no capacity restrictions on Quebec venues with assigned seating and restaurants.
In many public spaces there is a vaccination certificate for most people aged 13 and over. It does not apply to younger children. People can use an app or provide paper evidence.
Other groups in the region also have their own COVID-19 vaccine guidelines, including for staff and visitors.
Health Minister Christian Dubé urges Quebecers to consider serious international vacation travel plans in view of the Omicron variant and the possibility of changing re-entry regulations at short notice.
What can I do?
COVID-19 mainly spreads through droplets that can be suspended in the air. People can be contagious even after vaccination with no symptoms.
This means that it is important to take precautions, such as:
Masks, preferably medical or surgical, are mandatory in indoor public spaces in Ontario and Quebec and are recommended in crowded outdoor areas.
A number of dignitaries wear masks as they mark the official start of construction on the Chief William Commanda Bridge, a multi-purpose interprovincial path between Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., On November 29, 2021. (Frédéric Pepin / CBC)
When and for how long to self-isolate can vary in Quebec and Ontario, as well as depending on vaccination status.
Health Canada recommends that older adults and people with pre-existing medical conditions get help with errands and have supplies in case they need to isolate themselves.
Scientists are working to find out how easily the new variant of the Omicron coronavirus spreads, how severe it is, and how effective vaccines are against it.
Travelers over 12 years and four months old must now be fully vaccinated to board a plane, train or ship in Canada. As of today, those who do not will not be eligible to travel, with limited exceptions.
Individuals must be fully vaccinated, tested, and pre-approved to enter Canada. Canadian citizens and permanent residents no longer require proof of test for travel under 72 hours.
The US requires that all travelers – land, air, and water – be fully vaccinated. Some people with mixed doses are allowed and no new test is required.
There are travel restrictions from seven South African countries because of the Omicron variant.
CLOCK | Hundreds of people isolated under the new Canadian travel rules:
The Omicron variant puts hundreds in isolation, waiting for test results
There is hope that other countries will accept provincial or territorial evidence of vaccination.
Vaccines curb the spread of all variants of COVID-19 and go a long way in preventing deaths and hospital stays without offering complete protection. Four COVID-19 vaccines are considered safe and legal in Canada.
Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for children ages five and older. The doses for children aged five to 11 years in both local provinces are given at least eight weeks apart.
It’s possible younger children could also get an approved vaccine in early 2022, according to Canada’s chief public health officer.
Ontario and Quebec give third doses to certain groups. Ontario is considering an expansion because of the Omicron variant.
In the larger Ottawa-Gatineau area of approximately 2.3 million residents, more than 3.7 million first, second and third COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered.
Ontario vaccinates anyone born in 2016 and earlier.
People can search for provincial appointments online or by calling 1-833-943-3900.
Local health facilities have some flexibility so check their websites for details. They are offering short-term doses as campaigns seek to fill gaps in vaccine coverage and cover expanded eligibility.
Pharmacies and some general practitioners offer vaccines through their own booking systems.
The province has recommended people under the age of 24 get the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine because the Moderna Spikevax vaccine carries a slight risk of rare heart disease.
Anyone five years and older can get an appointment or visit a permanent or mobile walk-in clinic.
Clinics for newly eligible children are run in schools and children need written parental consent to be vaccinated.
Siblings can be booked together in a single time slot, and parents can check a box to indicate if their child is nervous.
Symptoms and tests
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms such as fever, 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 that if you meet certain criteria, you should get tested by making an appointment at a clinic. Inquire at your health department about clinic locations and times.
Selected pharmacies test people with symptoms as well as certain people without symptoms.
Rapid and take-away tests are available in some places, including pharmacies and some childcare facilities, if the risk is high. A positive test triggers a follow-up test.
Officials in some areas say they see more people coming to the sites after having symptoms for several days and delaying the test, sometimes spreading COVID in the meantime.
Travelers who need a test have the option to pay for one on site.
In western Quebec:
Tests are highly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.
People can make an appointment online or see if they’re close to a walk-in option. If you have any questions, you can also call 1-877-644-4545 during opening hours.
In some places, gargle tests are offered instead of a swab.
Rapid COVID-19 tests are available in all preschools and elementary schools in Quebec.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
First Nations, Inuit and Métis, or those traveling to work in a remote indigenous community, are eligible to take a test in Ontario.
Akwesasne has COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics with 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 booking vaccines.
Tests are available in Pikwàkanagàn on 613-625-1175 and vaccines (including the third dose) on 613-625-2259 ext 225 or by email.
Anyone in Tyendinaga interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should look out for specialized vaccine clinics on the website.
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.