COVID-19 Update #31

COVID-19 is something that we are all going to have to face together. Our primary concern is the health and safety of Ontarians.
We hope you are staying safe and healthy.

Thank you to all the province’s essential services workers and those on the front-line. You step up everyday to ensure individuals, families and seniors have what they need to stay safe and healthy.

Thank you to everyone else who is staying home and practicing physical distancing.

It is important to listen to the advice of Public Health experts: 

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Practice social-distancing
  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well
  • If you are concerned or suspect you have the virus, call
    Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000 or
    Ottawa Public Health: 613-580-6744

New as of April 17

Ontario Establishes Key Partnerships to Make Home Learning More Accessible
iPad Devices with Free Rogers Wireless Data Will Support Learning at Home

The Ontario government has partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. iPad devices are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data. Apple is providing ongoing support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with a collection of resources to support learning and working from home.

This week, Ontario school boards began distributing iPad devices to students who don’t have either the technology or the Internet they need to access the Learn at Home program.  To date, over 21,000 will be sent to the homes of families in need. The free Rogers wireless data will be available until the end of June.  

Also, Apple is providing videos, apps and books to help teachers build engaging lessons for students at home, along with fun and creative activities that kids and families can do with the built-in features of the iPad device. Apple is also offering teachers free one-to-one virtual coaching by Apple Professional Learning Specialists.

In addition to providing free wireless data, Rogers is also working with Ontario school boards to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet to subsidized tenants and members of housing partners across Ontario through its Connected for Success program, as well as the Government of Canada Connecting Families initiative.  The Province has accelerated the delivery of broadband Internet access, currently on track to be in every high school in Ontario by September 2020 and elementary school by September 2021. 


Canada and Ontario Supporting Agri-food Sector Supply Chain During COVID-19

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $1 million in new funding to connect workers with in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector to keep the nation’s supply chains strong and store shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the federal and provincial governments will provide support that will help people connect with job opportunities in the sector quickly. This program would help primary agriculture, food processing companies and grocery retail to recruit and train workers who are important to keeping the essential food supply chain functioning.

Through the Partnership’s Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will immediately accept applications and will expedite the approval process to help address sector labour concerns quickly.

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed support to approximately 2,500 projects, through the Partnership, to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.


Prime Minister announces new support to protect Canadian jobs

The Government of Canada is taking action to help Canadian businesses and organizations keep their doors open, keep their employees on the payroll, and recover quickly when Canada bounces back from this crisis.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced new actions to protect Canadian jobs and provide more support to businesses and organizations dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Government of Canada will provide over $1.7 billion for targeted measures, including:

  • $675 million to give financing support to small and medium-sized businesses that are unable to access the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures, through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies.
  • $287 million to support rural businesses and communities, including by providing them with much-needed access to capital through the Community Futures Network.
  • $500 million to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors so they can continue to support artists and athletes. This measure is consistent with the government’s other existing COVID-19 support measures for wages and fixed costs for organizations.
  • $250 million to assist innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access existing COVID-19 business support, through the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.
  • $20.1 million in support for Futurpreneur Canada to continue to support young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19. The funding will allow Futurpreneur Canada to provide payment relief for its clients for up to 12 months.

The government recognizes some sectors are disproportionally affected by COVID-19, such as Canada’s energy sector, which is dealing with low prices caused by a surge in global crude oil supply and a decline in demand due to the economic effects of the pandemic. That’s why the government is announcing new measures to help retain and create approximately 10,000 well-paying jobs in the energy sector. To support Canadians working in this sector, the Government of Canada will:

  • provide up to $1.72 billion, including funding to the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, and the Alberta Orphan Well Association, to clean up orphan and/or inactive oil and gas wells – creating thousands of jobs and having lasting environmental benefits.
  • provide up to $750 million to create a new proposed Emissions Reduction Fund to reduce emissions in Canada’s oil and gas sector, with a focus on methane. This fund will provide primarily repayable contributions to conventional and offshore oil and gas firms to support their investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of this amount, $75 million will be allocated to the offshore sector.
  • expand eligibility for the new Business Credit Availability Program announced on March 13, 2020, to help Canadian businesses get the financing they need during this period of uncertainty. The support will be available to medium-sized businesses with larger financing needs, beginning with companies in Canada’s energy sector, to help them maintain operations and keep their employees on the job.

These measures are part of the Government of Canada’s comprehensive economic plan to help Canadians and businesses through this period of uncertainty. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely, and take additional actions as needed to protect our health and safety, and stabilize the economy.

New measures introduced for non-medical masks or face coverings in the Canadian transportation system

COVID-19 is a global public health challenge that has changed the daily lives of people around the world, and ensuring the safety and security of Canadians remains the Government of Canada’s top priority.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced new measures requiring all air passengers to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel. These measures come into effect at noon EDT on April 20, 2020.

When travelling by air, travellers will be asked to cover their mouth and nose:

  • at Canadian airport screening checkpoints, where the screeners cannot always keep two metres of separation between themselves and the traveller;
  • when they cannot physically distance from others, or as directed by the airline employees; and
  • when directed to do so by a public health order or public health official.

Aviation passengers on all flights departing or arriving at Canadian airports will also be required to demonstrate they have the necessary non-medical mask or face covering during the boarding process otherwise they will not be allowed to continue on their journey. Passengers should follow the current Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidance on face coverings.

When travelling by marine modes of transportation, travellers are encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings whenever possible. In addition, operators of ferries and essential passenger vessels will, when feasible:

  • provide public messaging to travellers about the need to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during their journey when they cannot maintain physical distance from others, and that passengers could be subject to denial of boarding should they fail to comply.

Passengers travelling by rail or motor carrier/bus modes of transportation are also strongly encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings as much as possible. Passengers may be asked by the transportation operator to cover their noses and mouths when physical distancing is not possible.


Special Statement from Dr. Vera Etches

Ottawa, you are proving to be a committed and resilient city, and I appreciate all of the feedback I have been receiving about considerations for relaxing some measures, when it is time, in coordination with the provincial and federal governments. Maintaining physical distancing and handling the uncertainty around the impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented in our lives. How we collectively work through these current challenges, and how we bounce back from this adversity in a positive way, will continue to build our strength as a community.

There would be more cases of COVID-19 in our community had everyone not done their part over the past month. Please keep up this hard work over the next stretch of time. Thank you again for all the actions you are taking as a community – these actions are saving lives.

Cases and new deaths

As of 4 pm on April 16, 2020, OPH is investigating 728 lab-confirmed cases (50 newly reported since yesterday). An increase in testing and possibly the expanded testing recommendations might be contributing in part to the increase in newly-identified cases.    

Of great concern and with sadness is the increase of seven new deaths since yesterday, bringing the total number of deaths in Ottawa to 21.

This number is the largest recorded number of deaths in Ottawa in one day since the beginning of this emergency response. All seven deaths are related to outbreaks in long-term care and retirement homes. Fifty-seven percent (12/21) of all deaths due to COVID-19 in Ottawa are related to outbreaks in long-term care and retirement homes.

My thoughts are with the family members, friends, and caregivers of the people who have died. OPH continues to work with health care partners to ensure long-term care and retirement homes are a top priority for protection.

It is encouraging that 42 per cent of confirmed cases have been resolved. Hospitalizations (37) and ICU admissions (13) are down slightly.

A further breakdown of epidemiological data can be found on our website.

Consideration for reducing physical distancing measures

Our collective actions will determine when we can begin to relax some of the measures. We can begin to consider changes when we see the rate of new cases and hospitalizations slow down, and we know our hospitals and health care system are ready and have capacity to meet the demand. Keeping two metres apart really makes a difference, and the more that we keep up with this physical distancing, the sooner we’ll be able to relax restrictions in a careful way. Many people have been sharing their ideas about what is most important to start up first. For example, increasing access to more outdoor spaces to have adequate space for walking, biking, and playing has been a common idea from residents. 

One strategy used in communities that have reduced restrictions is the use of masks and face coverings in public when the two-metre distance cannot be maintained. There is community transmission here in Ottawa – 25 per cent of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 are currently not linked to travel or close contact with a confirmed case.

We also know that there is some asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmission of COVID-19; these individuals may not yet be self-isolating. Wearing a homemade mask provides an added layer of protection for the people you may come into contact with when you’re out in the community.

Thank you again for all that you are doing to protect yourselves, friends, family, and others in our community.

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.


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.

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.