A pedestrian makes their way along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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

Fast Facts:

  • Students at elementary and secondary schools in Ottawa return to school today for in-person learning for the first time since Christmas
  • New mandatory COVID-19 testing for international travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson Airport begins today
  • Ottawa Public Health reports 46 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday; COVID-19 rate falls below 40.0 cases per 100,000
  • 400 residents in Ottawa's long-term care homes received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday
  • Renfrew health unit issues warning about possible COVID-19 exposure at Cobden business

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

  • New COVID-19 cases: 46 new cases on Saturday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 13,336
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 38.9
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 2.4 per cent (Jan. 22 – Jan. 28)
  • Reproduction Number: 0.89 (seven day average)


Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says there are five reasons to seek testing for COVID-19:

  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms. OR
  • 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. OR
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health. OR
  • You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care OR
  • You have traveled to the U.K., or have come into contact with someone who recently traveled to the U.K., please go get tested immediately (even if you have no symptoms).

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

  • The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre at National Arts Centre: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at McNabb Community Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

COVID-19 screening tool:

The COVID-19 screening tool for students heading back to in-person classes can be found here.


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

Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallow, 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

What you need to know about schools reopening in Ottawa and eastern Ontario this week

Students in Ottawa return to class today for in-person learning for the first time since the Christmas Break.

The Ontario government is allowing the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, Ottawa Catholic School Board, Conseil des ecoles catholiques du Centre-Est and Conseil des ecoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario to reopen schools after four weeks of virtual learning.

New COVID-19 protocols include requiring all Grade 1 to 12 students to wear face masks on school buses and in class.

Secondary students will be required to confirm they have completed the daily self-assessment. (School boards will release more information about the procedure)

Ontario to start mandatory COVID-19 testing for international travellers Monday ahead of Canada-wide policy

Starting today, international travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson International Airport will be required to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test.

Premier Doug Ford announced Ontario is implementing the new procedures weeks before the federal government will implement its own Canada-wide policy.

Travellers who refuse the test will receive a $750 fine under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced all Canadian travellers returning from overseas will have to take a COVID-19 PCR test at the airport, and quarantine in a designated hotel for three days at their own expense while they await results.

Ottawa's COVID-19 case numbers, rate per 100,000 fall on eve of return to school

Ottawa Public Health reported 46 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, along with no new deaths linked to the virus.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa on March 11, there have been 13,336 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 422 deaths.

Ottawa's key COVID-19 indicators have also fallen out of the "Red" zone in Ontario's COVID-19 restriction system.  The COVID-19 rate per 100,000 is now at 38.9 cases, down from 42.5 cases per 100,000 on Saturday.  Under Ontario's COVID-19 response framework, the guidelines for the "red-control" zone is more than 40 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 2.5 per cent.

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa

Ottawa paramedics administer second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care residents this weekend

Ottawa paramedics spent the weekend administering the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to residents in Ottawa's long-term care homes.

On Sunday, 400 residents at Extendicare Medex, Laurier Manor and West-End Villa received the second dose thanks to paramedics.

The Ottawa Paramedic Service tweeted an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the paramedic mobile vaccination teams visiting long-term care homes.

Another successful day with 3 LTCs completed and lots of 2nd vaccine doses administered
A big thank you to @ottawacity, @OttawaHospital & @OttawaHealth for supporting the mobile paramedic vaccination teams & helping us get vaccines in the arms of our most vulnerable residents! pic.twitter.com/YTi9HwQOOr

— Ottawa Paramedic Svc | Service paramédic d'Ottawa (@OttawaParamedic) January 31, 2021

Renfrew Health Unit warns of potential COVID-19 exposure at Renfrew Pontiac Livestock

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit warns anyone who visited Renfrew Pontiac Livestock in Cobden last Tuesday may have been exposed to COVID-19.

On Sunday, the health unit issued an advisory for potential exposure after confirming a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in Renfrew County visited Renfrew Pontiac Livestock on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

If you visited Renfrew Pontiac Livestock between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Jan. 26, the health unit recommends you self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.