High school students arrive for school in Ottawa as in-person classes resume in the region for the first time since the winter holidays, on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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

Fast Facts:

  • The number of active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa continues to drop.
  • A new report suggests COVID-19 transmission in school was low last fall, but low testing likely obscured the full picture.
  • Quebec will be lifting some lockdown restrictions but the curfew will remain in place.
  • The popular Glengarry Highland Games have been postponed until 2022.

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

  • New COVID-19 cases: 27 new cases on Monday.
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 13,385
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 36.7
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.8 per cent (Jan. 25 – Jan. 31)
  • Reproduction Number: 0.80 (seven day average)

Testing:

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.

Symptoms:

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

Active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa keep falling

Ottawa Public Health is reporting a slight uptick in day-to-day COVID-19 cases, but an overall downward trend in active cases.

According to OPH's COVID-19 dashboard, 27 more people in Ottaw have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the city's pandemic total to 13,385.

Figures are frequently lower on Tuesdays due to lower testing data over the weekends, but local figures have been trending lower overall in the past week compared to early January.

The number of people with known active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa continues to drop and is now at 516, down from 599 on Monday.

The drop was driven by a large increase in resolved cases. OPH says 110 more cases in Ottawa are now considered resolved, bringing the city's total number of resolved cases to 12,447. 

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa
Infogram

COVID-19 transmission in schools was low but reduced testing hides full picture

A new report from Ottawa Public Health into the prevalence of COVID-19 in local schools suggests that the vast majority of students and staff who tested positive for COVID-19 were initially infected outside of the school setting.

However, a decline in testing may mean more transmission went undetected.

The report looked at cases of COVID-19 in schools across Ottawa's four school boards and in private schools between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2020. It found 888 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in school attendees (either students or staff) and concluded that 85 per cent of those people were infected outside of school. It also found, however, that 560 cases among in-person attendees had been at school for a portion of the time they were considered contagious.

OPH notes, however, that these are only cases confirmed through testing and that testing patterns changed after September and began to decline, which could have obscured the full picture of viral spread.

Quebec to partially lift lockdown restrictions but curfew will remain in place

Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced Tuesday that stores, hair salons and museums in will be allowed to reopen on Feb. 8 as the province sees declining case numbers. Some universities and CEGEPs will also be allowed to increase on-campus activities and some outdoor activities will also be permitted.

However, the province's curfew will remain in place, as Legault stressed that Quebecers must keep up their efforts to combat the pandemic. Visits to private homes will remain prohibited.

Glengarry Highland Games postponed to 2022

The popular Glengarry Highland Games are being postponed for another year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement on its website, organizers said they made the decision cancel the 2021 games, marking the second year in a row that the annual celebration of Celtic culture in eastern Ontario has been cancelled.

Organizers said it was a difficult decision to cancel the 2020 games as the COVID-19 pandemic first began to tighten its grip in Canada. They said they were optimistic the games could return in 2021 but with vaccinations against COVID-19 not expected to ramp up until late in the summer, the possibility of hosting events this year became unrealistic.

Organizers say they are working on ideas for celebrating the "spirit of the games in some fashion" this summer, with more announcements to come.

--With files from CTV Montreal's Adam Kovac.