COVID-19 Update #16

New as of March 30

Ontario Increasing Health and Safety Measures to Better Protect Frontline Nurses from COVID-19

Ontario is taking further action to protect frontline nurses and to recognize their clinical training and experience to help to keep Ontarians and hospitals safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The province, in collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and in consultation with the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), Ontario Health and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), is issuing a directive on health and safety standards for frontline nurses in hospitals in order to prevent exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. These standards have been developed with the guidance of clinically trained frontline nurses, hospital leaders and public health experts.

This directive outlines:

  • Precautions for interactions with suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patients, including relying on the clinical education and training that nurses receive to use their professional and clinical judgement;
  • Point-of-care risk assessments for every patient interaction to assess appropriate health and safety measures; and
  • Training on safe use of all personal protective equipment (PPE).

The directive also addresses the ongoing stewardship and conservation of the current level of PPE supplies as the government aggressively pursues all available efforts to increase this supply to ensure the appropriate health and safety control measures are in place to mitigate the transmission of infections. A joint statement from the province, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the ONA can be found here.

Statement from the Chief Medical Officer of Health  

“The Government of Ontario continues to take decisive action to respond to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to help contain its spread and to protect the public. This has involved some unprecedented measures, and I know many of you continue to undertake great efforts to protect your families, friends, neighbours, clients and patients, and communities.

However, we must do more.

Everyone has a role to play in reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 – there is no option for anyone to opt out.

The lives of many Ontarians, especially our community’s most vulnerable citizens, is in your hands and will depend on your actions over the coming days and weeks.

I strongly recommend you and other members of your household stay home except for essential reasons, such as to:

  • Access health care services;
  • Shop for groceries;
  • Pick-up medication at the pharmacy;
  • Walk pets when required; and
  • Support vulnerable community members with meeting the above needs.

To the fullest extent possible, you should also limit the number of these essential trips. However, when you are out in public you must adhere to physical distancing by reducing your exposure to other people outside of your household by keeping two metres from other people. 

Given the greater risk of severe outcomes to Ontarians who are elderly, I am also strongly recommending that individuals over 70 years of age self-isolate. This means only leaving home or seeing other people for essential reasons. Where possible, you should seek services over the phone or internet or ask for help from friends, family or neighbours with essential errands. This also applies to individuals who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions.

As we have been saying repeatedly, it is critically important to wash your hands regularly (or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available), practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette, and avoid direct contact when greeting people.  

In addition, as previously communicated and mandated by the federal government, all individuals who are returning from travel outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days when they return. You must not go to work, grocery stores or on walks. You should also monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after returning and contact your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) if you experience symptoms of COVID-19.

I also ask that family members, individuals, neighbours, and services in our communities look at how they can support others by taking these necessary actions. This would allow seniors, other at-risk populations, and returning travellers to remain at home.

The government is continuing to support all of the dedicated health care providers and front-line workers who are focused on keeping Ontarians healthy and safe. 

We need to remember that we all have an obligation to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to our families, friends, neighbours, and communities. Please do not underestimate the impact that your actions will have in helping to stop the spread of this virus.

For more information on COVID-19, including the current status of the outbreak, the online self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care, how Ontario is responding, and how to self isolate, please visit Ontario’s COVID-19 web page.

Thank you for your ongoing action and commitment.”

COVID-19 Fraud Alert

You should always protect yourself from financial fraud, especially during a period of uncertainty. Unfortunately, fraudsters will prey on consumers’ fears and misinformation over the COVID-19 pandemic. You may get phone calls, emails and texts regarding COVID-19. Be very cautious when receiving them.

Here are a few things to consider in order to protect yourself from financial fraud:

  • never click on links or attachments in unsolicited or suspicious emails
  • never give out your personal or financial information by email or text
  • note that financial institutions will never ask you to provide personal, login or account information by text or email
  • when banking online, enter your financial institution’s website address in your browser yourself
  • beware of questionable offers related to cures, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • if you have concerns about your insurance coverage, contact your insurance company directly
  • if you need information on COVID-19, refer to a trusted source such as the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 page

Remember that if you didn’t initiate contact with a person or a business, you don’t know who you are dealing with.

The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre has more information on scams and tips related to COVID-19 to help protect yourself from fraud.

Find out about the current reported scams related to COVID-19.

Learn how to protect yourself when banking online.

Know what to do if you’re a victim of fraud.


Changes to Federal Wage Subsidy – any Canadian businesses whose revenue has decreased by 30 per cent or more due to the pandemic will be eligible for the 75 per cent wage subsidy

Trudeau announced that any Canadian businesses whose revenue has decreased by 30 per cent or more due to the pandemic will be eligible for the 75 per cent wage subsidy promised, regardless of the number of employees they have.

This comes after Friday’s announcement of the major increase to the wage subsidy for small- and medium-sized businesses, aimed at helping them keep employees on staff. Charities and not-for-profit organizations are also able to apply, as well as companies big and small, the prime minister said Monday.

“This is about making sure that people are still getting paid whether they work for a business that employs 10 people or 1,000 people,” Trudeau said, noting that many have had to “get creative” to keep money coming in.

The emergency wage subsidy is being back-dated to March 15, and is an increase to the initial commitment of a 10 per cent subsidy. It comes alongside a special emergency guaranteed business loan of up to $40,000, as well as a deferral of customs duties, HST and GST payments.

The subsidy will be on the first $58,700 earned, meaning up to $847 a week.

No more domestic travel by plane or by train for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 as of Monday, March 30 at noon

The Government of Canada is introducing new domestic transportation measures to support provincial, territorial and local efforts to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading from travelling within Canada.

These new measures include:


  • A requirement for all air operators to conduct a health check of travellers before they board a flight within Canada or departing from Canada, based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. This would include asking health questions, looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding, and recommending the traveller follow guidance from local health authorities.
  • A requirement for air operators to refuse boarding to a passenger that presents COVID-19 symptoms. The denial will remain in effect for a period of 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the traveller’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19. These measures will apply to aircraft with 10 seats or more.
  • A requirement for air operators to notify travellers that they may be subject to provincial or territorial measures at their final destination.
  • These measures will come into effect on March 30, 2020 at noon EDT.


  • A requirement for intercity passenger rail companies to do a health check to screen passengers for COVID-19 symptoms before they board a train, based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. This will include company representatives asking simple health questions, looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding, and recommending the passenger follow guidance from local health authorities. 
  • A requirement for intercity passenger rail companies to refuse boarding to a passenger that presents COVID-19 symptoms. The denial will remain in effect for a period of 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the traveller’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19.
  • These measures do not apply to commuter trains.
  • These measures will come into effect on March 30, 2020 at noon EDT.

We remain in contact on a daily basis with the key transportation industry partners, operators and employee associations, international counterparts including in the United States and Europe, as well as provincial and territorial governments to assist with efforts in response to COVID-19.

Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa Medical Officer of Health

As of this morning, there are 130 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa. That’s eight new reported cases since yesterday. You may have noticed that the Ministry of Health has changed the way it is reporting case data. We also understand that going forward, the Ministry of Health is going to provide more information on cases across Ontario at 10:30 daily, based on results available as of 4 pm the day before. As the number of cases grows, the Ottawa Public Health (OPH) team is adjusting how we collect and track data and we are also working to update our reporting strategy to align with Ministry reporting.

We now have outbreaks in two retirement homes in Ottawa. There are currently five confirmed cases at Orleans Promenade and counts pending for another outbreak at Maplewood Retirement Community.

Sadly, we have also had our second COVID-related death in Ottawa. The second death is a resident from Orleans Promenade. 

OPH continues to investigate and support both homes with their outbreak management measures. We are connecting with close contacts, as we do in all cases.  

The number of people hospitalized has increased. There are now 21 people in hospital, six of them are in ICU. 

Fortunately, we can now report 10 resolved cases.  

Yesterday the provincial government announced new restrictions on group gatherings which are now limited to a maximum of five people, with exceptions for: 

  • private households of five people or more 
  • childcare centres supporting frontline healthcare workers and first responders
  • funerals, which are permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time  

Earlier today, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, issued a statement calling on Ontarians to do more to combat the spread of COVID-19, noting that opting out is NOT an option. 

He strongly recommended that all residents stay home except for essential reasons, such as to: 

  • Access health care services
  • Shop for groceries 
  • Pick-up medication at the pharmacy
  • Walk pets when required
  • Support vulnerable community members with meeting the above needs

Given the greater risk of severe outcomes to Ontarians who are elderly, he also strongly recommended that individuals over 70 years of age self-isolate. 

This also applies to individuals who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions. 

We recognize that physical (social) distancing and self-isolation is hard. People may be feeling disconnected and experience difficulties in managing stress or anxiety. We also know that for some, home is not a safe place. We were pleased to see yesterday’s announcements by the federal government for funding for Kids Help Phone and New Horizons for Seniors through United Way. If you are struggling, please reach out. Our website has a list of mental health resources available in our community. The Ottawa Distress Centre is also available for people needing more support. 

I also want to reinforce that anyone who is not experiencing signs of illness and who is not subject to self-isolation under the Quarantine Act should try to get outside for fresh air and exercise in order to maintain their health during these difficult times. When doing so, please remember to practice physical (social) distancing. That means staying about two meters away from anyone you encounter during your walk.  Passing someone on a sidewalk is not considered a high-risk activity for infection with COVID-19. 

Thank you again for your ongoing patience and cooperation in keeping residents informed.  Please  continue to visit:      

Special Statement from Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Before I begin, I would like to offer my most sincere condolences to the family of the resident who has passed away this past weekend.

As Dr. Etches mentioned, this is the second death related to COVID-19, it serves as a sad and important reminder that we all need to do our part in making efforts to flatten the curve.

This means washing your hands regularly, respecting physical (social) distancing guidelines, limiting trips outside the house to essential ones only, and to check in virtually on family, friends and neighbours.

New Enforcement Measures 

We need to keep residents safe and do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

That is why Ottawa By-law Officers have been given the ability to enforce new rules under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act related to physical distancing.

This means that, effective immediately, a dedicated team of officers at By-law and Regulatory Services will be proactively monitoring and enforcing calls related to:

  • Gatherings of more than 5 people in public or private residences;
  • People congregating in parks/using park facilities or equipment;
  • Restaurants that continue to offer dine-in services; and,
  • Non-essential retail businesses continuing to operate.

Residents who witness these issues should report them by calling 3-1-1.

By-law Officers will be taking a progressive enforcement approach; with the initial goal to educate residents and businesses about these laws and their importance to public health.

As time goes on, failure to comply could result in fines under the provincial Act of up to $100,000 for individuals, $500,000 for a director of a corporation or $10-million for a corporation itself.

By-law and Regulatory Services continues to collaborate with the Ottawa Police Service, which will continue to enforce calls related to Quarantine Orders issued to individuals who have been travelling or are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.

Complaints related to the Quarantine Act should be reported to the non-urgent Ottawa Police phone line at 613-236-1222.

2020 Spring Freshet 

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now facing the 2020 Spring Freshet.

Many of Ottawa residents awoke today with renewed concerns for potential flooding given the heavy weekend rains.

Staff has advised me that water levels are not currently at threatening levels.

Later today, I will be issuing a memo to Council saying that I have asked Councillor Eli El-Chantiry to play a leadership role as Council Liaison on the 2020 Spring Freshet.

Councillor El-Chantiry has been front and centre in helping our local communities rebuild after the devastating floods that hit our City in 2017 and 2019.

Some of you may recall that Councillor El-Chantiry was helping his friends and neighbours sandbag their properties while his family was losing a property to the flooding.

Councillor El-Chantiry will work closely with members of Councillor whose wards have been most severely impacted in the past, including Councillor Theresa Kavanagh (Bay) and Councillor Mat Luloff (Orleans) – who is temporarily managing Cumberland Ward issues for Cumberland Village and other parts of the ward.

I want to thank Councillor El-Chantiry for liaising with the City’s senior leadership team, my office, members of Council and key community agencies over the course of the coming days and until such time as the 2020 spring flood threat is behind us.

This is an exceptionally challenging time for our City and our residents, and I want to thank Councillor El-Chantiry and all members of Council for working together as we focus on mobilizing the spirit and resources our communities need to overcome these challenges.

Ontario has created a new self-assessment tool
If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care. Visit here.

If you require help in Ottawa South, please visit our website for Community links and contacts.

Mental Health Commission of Canada Resource Hub

Online Resources for Students K-7

Ottawa Public Library

Ottawa Public Health
For the latest updates, please click here.

Government of Ontario
Every day at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.  ETthe Province of Ontario’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information including the status of cases in Ontario.

Government of Canada
For the latest COVID-19 updates, please click here.
For the latest on Employment and Social Development changes for employees and employers, click here.