OTTAWA -- Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.

Fast Facts:

  • Active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa dropped below 240 on Monday.
  • Capacity limits for restaurants and bars have lifted in Ontario.
  • Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly is defending the police service's policy to not mandate COVID-19 vaccines for officers.

COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):

  • New COVID-19 cases: 20 cases on Monday.
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 30,714
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 20.5
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.6 per cent (seven-day average)
  • Reproduction Number: 1.04 (seven-day average)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says you can get a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, care clinic, or community testing site if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health;
  • You are a resident, a worker or a visitor to long-term care, retirement homes, homeless shelters or other congregate settings (for example: group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters);
  • You are a person who identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis;
  • You are a person travelling to work in a remote First Nations, Inuit or Métis community;
  • You received a preliminary positive result through rapid testing;
  • You are a patient and/or their 1 accompanying escort tra­velling out of country for medical treatment;
  • You are a farm worker;
  • You are an educator who cannot access pharmacy-testing; or
  • You are in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Long-term care staff, caregivers, volunteers and visitors who are fully immunized against COVID-19 are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering or visiting a long-term care home.

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:

There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx

  • COVID-19 Assessment Centre at McNabb Arena at 180 Percy St.: Open Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
  • The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Saturday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 30 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Kemptville) – 15 Campus Drive: Open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Centretown Community Health Centre: Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 pm.
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday

COVID-19 screening tool:

The COVID-19 screening tool for schools in Ottawa and eastern Ontario. All students, teachers and school staff must complete the COVID-19 School screening tool daily.

Symptoms:

Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath

Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion

Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup

Active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa dip down on Monday

Ottawa Public Health is reporting another 20 people in the city have tested positive for COVID-19.

This follows 26 new cases on Sunday and 36 on Saturday.

To date, OPH has seen 30,714 lab-confirmed cases since the pandemic began. No new deaths were reported in Ottawa on Monday. Since March 2020, 602 residents of Ottawa have died due to COVID-19.

The number of people in local hospitals with active COVID-19 held steady on Monday. One day after announcing zero active COVID-19 cases in ICUs in the city, OPH reported one case on Monday. Active cases dropped to 238 after a small uptick on Sunday to 242.

The seven-day average of new cases in Ottawa is 27.1 cases per day, down from 28.7 one week ago. Four weeks ago, the seven-day average was 51.3 cases per day. 

 

Ontario lifts capacity limits in restaurants, gyms, and casinos

Owners of restaurants and gyms in Ottawa say they are pleased that capacity restrictions are lifted in Ontario.

The province removed the limit for restaurants, bars, gyms and casinos on Monday, allowing each business to operate at full capacity after lengthy shut downs and almost two years' worth of restrictions.

While some places moved quickly to get their tables and chairs out of storage, some are still keeping their capacity limits in place for the time being, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic isn't over yet. Other business owners told CTV News Ottawa they still lack enough staff to accommodate full capacity.

The lifting of restrictions in these establishments is just part of Ontario's phased approach to reopening. Three weeks from now, restrictions will be eased at nightclubs, wedding venues, and dance floors.

The province aims to drop all of its pandemic restrictions by the spring of 2022.

Bambu

Police chief defends OPS policy not mandating vaccination

You must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to work as a librarian, a bus driver, or for the federal government, but one group of workers who do not need a COVID vaccine is Ottawa police officers.

Police chief Peter Sloly addressed the media and the Ottawa Police Services Board on Monday to defend the police service's plan, which would require unvaccinated officers to take regular rapid COVID-19 tests in place of getting the jab.

The head of the police union believes the policy is more fair than the plans other employers, including some police services in Canada, have in place.  

Medical experts say rapid testing can be effective in keeping staff and the public safe, but it must be done at regular intervals. The OPS plan requires a rapid test every three days for all unvaccinated officers.

Ottawa Public Health says it supports all workplaces to have a vaccine policy for staff, but it is up to individual organizations and businesses to implement them.

Peter Sloly