A pedestrian walks past The Bank of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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

Fast Facts:

  • Ontario's education minister suggests a decision on whether to cancel March Break for students will be made next week
  • Ontario is allowing pet grooming businesses to reopen in Ottawa and eastern Ontario, with new restrictions in place
  • Ottawa Public Health reports 39 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the 14th straight day with fewer than 100 cases of COVID-19
  • The federal government says it will still be a few weeks before Canada's Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine deliveries ramp up to pre-interruption levels
  • Ottawa Mission accepting new clients following COVID-19 outbreak

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

  • New COVID-19 cases: 39 new cases on Thursday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 13,485
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 31.8
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.9 per cent (Jan. 27 – Feb. 2)
  • Reproduction Number: 0.85 (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 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

Decision on March Break could come next week, Ontario education minister says

Ontario's two largest teachers unions are urging the Ontario government not to cancel March Break.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce told CTV Morning Live Thursday morning that he expects to receive advice from chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams next week on whether to proceed with the week off for students and teachers or keep them in school in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.

"My decision point is going to be made exclusively on medical advice. If they believe that cancelling the break to disincentive travel and is in the best interest of public health, I'm going to follow that advice full stop," said Lecce.

Both the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation and the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario say educators, students and parents need a break.

"ETFO strongly opposes any change to the 2021 March Break. We are living in unprecedented times that continue to create high levels of stress, fear and anxiety for everyone," said ETFO President Sam Hammond in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

"We have heard repeatedly that students, families and educators need a break right now. Their mental health and well-being must be the first consideration."

Ontario adds pet groomers to list of essential businesses; services available to prevent imminent vet care

Pet groomers have the green light to reopen for the first time since before Christmas.

The Ontario government is adding pet grooming services to the list of essential businesses allowed to open during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, the office of Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says pet grooming business can open if they:

  1. Are strictly necessary to prevent an animal from requiring foreseeable and reasonably imminent veterinary care; or
  2. Are providing services that an animal owner has been required to obtain pursuant to an order issued under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019

14 straight days with fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health is reporting 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, the 14th straight day with fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 in the capital.

No new deaths were reported in Ottawa.

Ottawa Public Health's COVID-19 dashboard shows 21 of the 39 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday involved residents under the age of 30.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa on March 11, there have been 13,485 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 422 deaths.

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa
Infogram

Canada to keep feeling impacts of COVID-19 vaccine delivery issues: Fortin

The federal government says it will still be a few weeks before Canada's Pfizer COVID-19 deliveries fully ramp up to pre-interruption levels, while there is no word on when Moderna's next shipment will arrive.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says Canada is expected to receive approximately 70,000 doses from Pfizer next week.

Fortin told reporters that the number of doses coming in the next Moderna shipment the week of Feb. 22 is expected to be impacted, but how severely remains unclear.

Ottawa Mission accepting new clients following COVID-19 outbreak

The Ottawa Mission is accepting new clients at its downtown shelter after closing its doors last weekend due to COVID-19 cases.

The Ottawa Mission, the Shepherds of Good Hope, the Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre and the Cornerstone Housing for Women stopped taking new admissions last weekend due to COVID-19 outbreaks. In a joint statement, the shelters said they were closing their doors to new admissions, "in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission."

In an email to CTV News Ottawa, the Ottawa Mission said it is accepting new clients, provided that they've not been in the shelter for the past two weeks.