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

Fast Facts:

  • A Gatineau, Que. man is facing charges, accused of allegedly selling forged COVID-19 vaccine certificates.
  • A group of federal public servants is protesting the government's vaccination mandate for federal employees.
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he believes Ontario can reach 90% coverage with COVID-19 vaccines even without vaccinating children.
  • One new COVID-19 related death was reported in Ottawa on Tuesday.

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

  • New COVID-19 cases: 15 cases on Tuesday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 30,729
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 18.6
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.6 per cent (seven-day average)
  • Reproduction Number: 0.92 (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

Gatineau, Que. man facing charges in Ottawa in phony vaccine certificate scheme

Ottawa police say a Gatineau, Que. man is facing charges following an investigation into forged COVID-19 vaccine certificates.

Police said in a news release that the "extensive and complex" investigation began in September and involved the street crime section, other units, and other law enforcement agencies. On Monday, a 27-year-old man was arrested.

In an interview with CTV News, Ottawa police Det. Shaun Wahbeh with the organized fraud unit said police were told that a man was providing false Quebec vaccine certificates for Ontario residents and false Ontario certificates for Quebec residents. Police said the investigation is ongoing and further charges could be laid, including against the buyers.

"We are now actively looking for people who purchased the certificates," Wahbeh said. "If you purchased them and then brought them to the ministry or showed your employer, you're liable for criminal charges."

It is unclear how many of the certificates were sold.

The accused is facing charges of uttering a forged document, forgery, and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, as well as charges relating to the possession and laundering of the proceeds of crime and also a drug possession for the purposes of trafficking charge.

COVID-19 Vaccine QR Code

Group of federal workers protest vaccine mandate as attestation deadline looms

Time is running out for federal workers to disclose their vaccination status, but there is a growing group of them that is against it, putting them at risk of losing their jobs.

Stacey Payne is a federal public servant, and she might be days away from unemployment. She doesn’t agree with disclosing her medical information, even if it means staying employed.

“The government has no right to know my private medical information. That is between me and my health care practitioner only,” says Payne. “This isn’t about this specific mandate and the vaccine. This is about our privacy.”

Payne created a Facebook group called "Feds for Freedom" that now has around 4,700 members. She says this isn’t a collection of anti-vaxxers, but more of a group fighting to keep their privacy.

The Feds for Freedom have been protesting outside of the offices of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, hoping to get more support from the union that represents them.

But the union, which represents more than 120,000 workers, wants all of its members vaccinated.

Federal workers have until Friday to submit their proof of vaccination. If the employee still refuses to disclose their status, they will be placed on administrative leave without pay as early as Nov. 15.

Stacey Payne

Ford says province not relying on children to reach vaccine goals

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he is confident the province can reach 90 per cent coverage with COVID-19 vaccines even without approval for children under 12.

Ford made the comments at a funding announcement in Ottawa on Tuesday.

"We're going to hit 90 per cent without the children," the premier said.

Ford noted that 88 per cent of Ontarians 12 and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; however, there remain approximately 1.5 million eligible adults in Ontario who have yet to be vaccinated. The population of children aged five to 11 in Ontario is around one million.

Pfizer asked Health Canada last week to approve its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 years old.

Ford said he does want to see children vaccinated, but he also understands some parents may be hesitant.

"I'm going to leave that up to the parents, when it comes to five- to 11-year-olds. Do we want to get them vaccinated? Yes, but there are some parents, that are vaccinated, they're a little hesitant at the age of five or six and I get it," Ford said. "So, let's do our best and get as many people vaccinated and I also understand that they don't want to get their five-year-old or six-year-old vaccinated. Do I want everyone to? One hundred per cent."

One expert, however, believes reaching that 90 per cent vaccination threshold in the province will require the approval of vaccines for children aged five to 11.

Dr. Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, says Ontario will need those children to be vaccinated, but he doesn't expect a lot of hesitation.

"There’s so much enthusiasm for vaccination for children that we’re going to get seriously good uptake," he says. "Maybe not 100 per cent, maybe not even 75 per cent, but sufficient uptake that we’ll get to some astonishing levels of community immunity sooner than we think."

Doug Ford

Ottawa Public Health confirms one new COVID-19 death in Ottawa on Tuesday

Ottawa Public Health says 15 more people in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19 and one more person has died.

The new death is the seventh reported in Ottawa so far this month. Data on OPH's COVID-19 dashboard show a woman in her 80s passed away most recently.

The new cases bring Ottawa's total to 30,729, with 603 resident deaths.

Daily case counts are typically lower on Tuesdays.

The seven-day average of new cases per day in Ottawa is down to 26.1. It was 29.3 one week ago and 47.1 four weeks ago.

Across the province, Public Health Ontario reported 269 cases across all of Ontario, which is the lowest daily case count in the province since Aug. 5.

Public Health Ontario also announced Tuesday that five more Ontarians have died from COVID-19 and that 427 people who had previously tested positive have had their cases resolve.