Federal health officials will release updated COVID-19 predictions for the country today. Payments to seniors to offset increases in the cost of living due to COVID-19 will be distributed in early July. Ottawa Public Health is recommending anyone participating in public demonstrations consider taking special precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. Quebec is asking school boards to create three-week summer camps for secondary students with special needs. Ontario reported 356 additional cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the province’s network of labs processed a record number of tests for the novel coronavirus.
What’s happening today?
Organizers of the No Peace Until Justice march outside the U.S. Embassy no Friday are joining Ottawa Public Health officials in asking participants to take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Some practical ways people can protect themselves and others, include: wearing a mask; carrying and frequently using hand sanitizer; and drumming or holding signs instead of yelling to limit the spread of droplets.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says new estimates show that while COVID-19 is in decline in Canada, the country is not out of the woods. At 12 p.m. ET, Federal public health officials will release updated projections showing how many COVID-19-related illnesses and deaths Canada could witness over the next few weeks. CBC News will carry he announcement live.
Seniors facing higher costs for groceries and prescriptions due to COVID-19 can expect emergency aid payments of up to $500 in early July. Trudeau said the daily payments would begin the week of July 6. Seniors who qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) will be eligible for a one-time tax-free payment of $300, and those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will get $200.
Quebec teachers at English public schools say they are concerned and frustrated by the addition of school-like camps for secondary students with special needs.
Missing your favourite restaurants and shops? Food trucks could soon pull up to some of the city’s most popular parks and pop-up shops could appear on sidewalks as Ottawa looks for imaginative ways to help small businesses survive the pandemic.
WATCH: City of Ottawa looking to allow food trucks to operate as pandemic stretches on
Laila Gibbons, director of roads and parking services, says the city is looking for ways to safely allow food trucks to operate, especially since the events and festivals they normally participate in have been cancelled. 0:36 How many cases are there?
There have been 1,977 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 247 deaths linked to the respiratory illness, as of the latest Ottawa Public Health data available Wednesday. The city’s death count decreased Wednesday because one of the individuals who died recently was found not to be a resident of Ottawa, the health agency says.
There are more than 3,100 known cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
More than 2,400 people in the region have recovered from COVID-19.
COVID-19 has killed 50 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 17 in other parts of eastern Ontario and 22 in the Outaouais.
Confirmed cases are just a snapshot because, until recently, not everyone could be tested in Ontario. Also, not everyone with COVID-19 will go to get tested (potentially because they are asymptomatic) and results take time to process.
What’s open and closed?
Ontario is in “stage one” of its three-stage reopening plan. When ready, its next stage should bring more offices, outdoor spaces and gatherings back. Ontario has extended its state of emergency until June 30.
On May 31, the farmers market at Lansdowne Park reopened for pre-ordering and pickup-by-appointment. Drive-in movie theatres and batting cages in Ontario also opened.
In Quebec, malls, campgrounds and Airbnbs, courts and services such as dentist offices and hair salons reopened.
National parks and historic sites across Canada, which includes Rideau Canal lockstations, are open. The same goes for backcountry camping at Ontario Parks sites and recreational camping on Crown lands.
A customer is alone as they walk their bike to pick up an order at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park, which opened for online order pickups only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
The City of Ottawa has cancelled all summer day camps and is providing refunds or credits. The city said it hopes to set up a different type of camp format, similar to what the City of Gatineau is doing.
Many parks are now open with limits, such as not using playground equipment or gathering.
The closure of overnight camping and some day-use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves will continue until at least June 14.
Quebec elementary schools outside Montreal are open. Schools for its older students and all Ontario schools are closed through summer.
Post-secondary schools are moving toward more online classes this fall, with Ontario promising a fall plan for younger students by July and Quebec hoping to have students back in class full-time.
Distancing and isolating
The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don’t need to have symptoms to be contagious.
That means physical distancing measures such as working from home and staying at least two metres away from anyone they don’t live with.
Ottawa Public Health now wants people to think about how to safely do certain things and recommends people wear a fabric or non-medical mask when they can’t always stay two metres from strangers, such as at a grocery store.
Atletico Ottawa President Jeff Hunt presents Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson with an Atletico Ottawa jersey during the team’s first practice of their inaugural season in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) in Ottawa, Wednesday June 3, 2020. (Francis Ferland/CBC)
Anyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.
Specifically in Ottawa, anyone waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate at least until they know the result.
The same goes for anyone in Ontario who’s been in contact with someone who’s tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.
People 70 and older or with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions should also self-isolate.
WATCH: Ontario struggles to keep COVID-19 under control
Cases of COVID-19 are rising again in Ontario and while Premier Doug Ford says it’s because of more testing, others say there are bigger problems that need addressing. 2:02 What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell.
Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash.
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
Where to get tested
In eastern Ontario:
In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested.
Tests are done at the Brewer Arena from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., seven days a week, or at 595 Moodie Dr. and 1485 Heron Rd. those same hours on weekdays.
Testing has also expanded for local residents and employees who work in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area.
There is a drive-thru test centre in Casselman and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don’t require people to call ahead and others in Rockland, and Cornwall that require an appointment.
In Kingston, the assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for anyone with symptoms.
WATCH: Trying to keep transit safe as more riders return
As more economies reopen during the pandemic, public transit services are trying to figure out how to handle an increase in riders while keeping passengers safe. 4:18
Napanee‘s test centre is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for people who call for an appointment.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.
It has a walk-in site in Brockville open seven days a week at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.
The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it at 613-966-5500, their family doctor or Telehealth if they have symptoms or questions.
If you have no symptoms, you can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre, or in Picton by texting 613-813-6864. You can also call Picton’s number as a backup.
You may also qualify for a home test.
WATCH: Wear a mask, bring hand sanitizer if participating in protests, OPH says
Brent Moloughney, Ottawa’s associate medical officer of health, says people participating in protests should wear a cloth mask, try to keep their distance from others, and consider ways of making noise other than shouting or chanting. 1:11
Renfrew County is also providing home testing under some circumstances. Residents without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.
If you’re concerned about the coronavirus, take the self-assessment.
In western Quebec:
Outaouais residents should call 819-644-4545 if they have symptoms. They could end up being referred to Gatineau’s testing centre.
Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.
Akwesasne has opened a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to Akwesasne who’s been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
Anyone in Tyendinaga who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.
Pikwakanagan‘s council planned to let businesses reopen as of May 29. Kitigan Zibi is keeping schools closed through the summer.
For more information