Rising COVID-19 cases in Ottawa, proposed cuts at OC Transpo and Easter during a pandemic: Five stories to watch in Ottawa
The Peace Tower is pictured on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, as lawmakers return to the House of Commons following the winter break. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
OTTAWA -- Ottawa's COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, OC Transpo eyes cuts to dozens of routes and celebrating Easter during the pandemic.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.
OTTAWA'S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS
Ottawa will remain in the Red-Control zone of Ontario's colour-coded reopening framework for the Easter weekend.
Ottawa Public Health has reported four straight days of triple-digit increases in COVID-19 cases, including 126 on Sunday.
The capital's key COVID-19 indicators are sitting at the highest levels since January. On Sunday, the weekly incidence rate was at 73.9 cases per 100,000 people. On Jan. 18, the incidence rate peaked at 97.8 cases per 100,000.
COVID-19 VACCINES IN OTTAWA
The city of Ottawa will continue vaccinating residents aged 75 and older this week, while Mayor Jim Watson is hopeful AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive in Ottawa's pharmacies.
CTV News Ottawa has learned Ottawa pharmacies will receive COVID-19 vaccines to administer to residents 60 to 64 when AstraZeneca doses arrive from the United States.
Watson told CTV News Ottawa Saturday evening that 143 pharmacies are ready and able to administer the COVID-19 vaccines.
Meantime, over 44,000 Ottawa residents have registered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the Ontario online booking portal.
Starting Monday, the city is opening rural COVID-19 vaccine pop-up clinics for residents born in or before 1946. The pop-up clinics will be at the following locations:
- Greely Community Centre, 1448 Meadow Dr., Greely
- Navan Memorial Centre, 1295 Colonial Road, Navan
- Osgoode Community Centre, 5660 Osgoode Main, Osgoode
- R.J. Kennedy Memorial Centre, 1115 Dunning Road, Cumberland
- Richmond Memorial Arena and Community Centre, 6095 Perth St., Ottawa
- West Carleton Community Complex, 5670 Carp Road, Ottawa
EASTERN ONTARIO JOINS OTTAWA IN THE RED ZONE
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit moves into the Red-Control zone on Monday, imposing new restrictions on social gatherings, bars, restaurants, retail and fitness.
Eastern Ontario joins Ottawa and the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Public Health units in the red zone.
"Please, please, please be very careful. The variant now has taken over in our area – it's over 50 per cent of the cases as well," said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis. Eastern Ontario medical officer of health, on CTV Morning Live Friday morning.
Under the Red-Control zone restrictions, social gatherings are limited to five people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Indoor capacity at bars and restaurants is the lesser of approximately 50 per cent of indoor dining area or 50 people. Patrons may only be seated with members of their same households indoors.
OC TRANSPO EYES ROUTE CUTS
The Transit Commission will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss proposed service and job cuts at OC Transpo in a bid to save money.
Staff propose various changes to several routes to save $5.5 million in 2021 and eliminate 70 positions.
Among the changes, the temporary suspension of nine peak-period routes that provide a direct service from residential areas to major transfer stations on O-Train Line 1. Service on 25 Connexion Routes will be reduced to every 30 minutes.
Changes to OC Transpo routes will begin in mid-June.
The Transit Commission was told earlier this month that ridership remains 70 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
EASTER DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
For the second straight year, we will be celebrating Easter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public health officials remind people COVID-19 restrictions in the Red-Control zone include a maximum of five people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
The Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall says its churches are open for mass over Easter. However, the maximum capacity is limited to 30 per cent indoors while Ottawa's in the red zone.
The Archdiocese says if you are unable to attend Mass during this ongoing time of pandemic, Archbishop Damphousse grants the faithful dispensation from their Sunday obligation to attend Mass.
EVENTS IN OTTAWA
Trial resumes for OC Transpo driver involved in Westboro bus crash
Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management – 9:30 a.m. (meeting available on YouTube)
Ottawa Carleton District School Board meeting. 7 p.m.
Transit Commission meeting – 9:30 a.m. (meeting available on YouTube)
Ottawa Senators host Montreal Canadians. 7 p.m. on TSN 5 and TSN 1200