A construction sign on a fence surrounding an excavation indicates the danger is Covid-19 as a construction worker walks past Tuesday October 27, 2020 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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

Fast Facts:

  • Ottawa Public Health reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday.
  • Ottawa's top doctor says the lunchroom could be a likely place for contracting COVID-19.
  • An Ottawa-based business is on a mission to donate one million masks to charities in Ottawa and the GTA.
  • Striking support staff at the University of Ottawa say they're struggling to get their message out because of the pandemic.
  • A Renfrew teen has made a spoken word video and poem about the COVID-19 pandemic and what it took from her graduating year.

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says there are four 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.

Where to get a test

The COVID-19 assessment centre at Brewer Arena, 151 Brewer Way, is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Appointments are required in most cases but LIMITED walk-up capacity is available.

To book a test for an adult, click here.

The CHEO Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena, 151 Brewer Way, is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Testing is available by appointment only.

To book a test for a child under the age of 18, click here. 

For those requiring extra support for accessibility reasons, please contact CHEO’s Patient Experience team at 613-737-7600 x6720.

The COVID-19 care clinic at 595 Moodie Dr. is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for people with escalating symptoms and in need of medical attention.

To book an appointment, click here.

If you need to book an appointment but do not have access to the internet, please call 613-721-4722

The COVID-19 care clinic at 1485 Heron Rd. is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for people with escalating symptoms and in need of medical attention.

To book an appointment, click here.

If you need to book an appointment but do not have access to the internet, please call 613-288-5353.

The COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre at 300 Coventry Rd. is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

To book an appointment, click here. 

The COVID-19 care clinic at the Ray Friel Recreation Centre, 1585 Tenth Line Rd. is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There are two options for visitors, either a test only, or an assessment by a doctor and a test For people who need to see a doctor because of pressure or discomfort in the chest, difficulty breathing or a sore throat..

To book an appointment, click here.

If you need to book an appointment but do not have access to the internet, please call 613-288-5353.

See here for a list of other testing sites in Ottawa and eastern Ontario. 

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 

58 new cases of COVID-19, lowest in all of Ontario's "hot spots"

Ottawa Public Health is reporting 58 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, a decrease compared to Monday, when 76 new cases were reported.

The new cases in Ottawa are among 827 new cases reported across Ontario. Of the four "hot zones" in the province—Ottawa, Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region—Ottawa had the lowest figures in Tuesday's update.

No new deaths were reported in Ottawa on Tuesday. There are 44 people in hospital, with four in the ICU.

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa
Infogram

 

The lunchroom could be a COVID-19 "blind spot"

As the COVID-19 pandemic grinds on, public health officials continue to urge residents to be cautious about the risk of viral spread, especially in relaxed settings with friends or family.

"Watch your blind spots," said Dr. Vera Etches at a press conference on Tuesday. "Data collected during our case management process is indicating that we also have significant blind spots in situations that are not covered by provincial or municipal regulations, like crowd gathering limits or the mandatory mask bylaw."

One particular source of transmission stands out: lunch.

"Employees having lunch together seems to be something that comes up over and over again as a source of outbreak," Dr. Etches said. "It's this idea that when we're with our colleagues or our friends, we relax and it's okay and think the risk isn't there and that's just not true. It is what gives the virus the opportunity to spread."

In these cases, it's recommended colleagues sit at least two metres apart during shared lunch breaks and wear masks when socializing.

One million masks, courtesy of Dymon Storage

For charities, purchasing masks or other personal protective equipment is a challenge. It also takes away from other resources so, when a business pulls up with a donation of thousands of masks, they’re a welcome gift.

On Tuesday, the Ottawa Mission received 12,000 masks from Ottawa-based Dymon Storage.

“With the number of cases of COVID-19 being more and more acute, we felt it was very, very important to make a contribution of face masks to the Ottawa Mission and to many other deserving community groups and charitable organizations in the city of Ottawa,” said Dymon's Senior Vice President Steve Creighton.

Dymon is donating more than one million masks to charities in Ottawa and across the GTA.

“We’re doing this because philanthropy is very important to the Dymon group,” Creighton added.

Striking staff struggling to be heard during pandemic

Roughly 1,300 support staff at the University of Ottawa have entered week two of strike action.

UOttawa and the union representing support staff have been bargaining for nearly 19 months. Striking during a pandemic has worried picketers that their message could go unnoticed.

“With COVID-19, the fact that we have to be in small groups. There’s no one on campus. We’re trying to be creative to be seen, to be heard,” worker Polly-Anne Leveille said.

"Dear Virus"

Seventeen-year-old Alexa Narezny was like many other high school graduates this past summer: upset those final high school memories were ruined; angry their celebration of hard work was altered; and frustrated she couldn’t get those moments back.

Then, one night, her emotions poured out onto paper in the form of a spoken word poem now called “Dear Virus”, that would go on to be filmed by Narezny in a short video.

Rather than crafting a poem of sorrow and regret, Narezny chose to use the piece as an opportunity to find the positives in the pandemic, appreciating the everyday moments taken for granted that have since been lost.