COVID-19 Update #45

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 May 6

Ontario Further Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction During COVID-19

The Ontario government is allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores. The business owners should review the health and safety guidelines developed by the province and its health and safety association partners.

Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

As early as Friday, May 8 at 12:01 a.m., garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies. Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 9. On Monday, May 11 at 12:01 a.m., retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.

In addition to easing restrictions on retail, the government is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue. This will help clear the way for the housing and jobs our economy will need to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines, such as promoting physical distancing and frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, in partnership with Ontario’s health and safety associations, has released over 60 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for curbside pickup and delivery services. Business owners should review the guidelines and consult with local public health officials to ensure they have the information they need to protect workers, customers and the general public as the province prepares for the gradual reopening of the economy.

The government’s Framework for Reopening our Province, which was released on April 27, 2020, includes guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces, and the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts are using to advise the government on the loosening of public health measures, including emergency orders.

Ontario Extends Emergency Orders until May 19, 2020 as well as Electricity Rate Relief until May 31, 2020

The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This electricity rate relief, initially provided for a 45-day period starting on March 24, 2020, has been extended by an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The rate relief is intended to be in place for an additional 24 days.  

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is also extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 19, 2020. The emergency orders include:

Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak (reminder of Guidelines for businesses)

Government provides tariff relief to importers of certain medical goods

The Government of Canada continues to take immediate, significant and decisive action to protect Canadians’ health and safety, and to support Canadian jobs and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, announced action to further ensure Canadians have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessary medical equipment. To keep Canadians safe, the government is waiving tariffs on certain medical goods, including PPE such as masks and gloves. This will reduce the cost of imported PPE for Canadian businesses, which face tariffs of up to 18 per cent in some instances, help protect workers, and ensure our supply chains can keep functioning well.

This action complements the government’s ongoing efforts to increase domestic PPE production by Canadian industry. Tariff relief for these goods will remain in place for as long as necessary to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Today’s announcement is part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – a comprehensive plan that is supporting Canadian workers and Canadian businesses, and ensuring Canada’s economy remains stable and ready to rebound when the time is right.  

City permits limited use of spaces in City parks; use of playground equipment and park amenities remains prohibited

The City, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), is advising that the limited use of some spaces in City parks and beaches is now permitted. This does not include the use of sports fields and courts.

Effective immediately, individuals and families can enjoy fresh air and some outdoor activities in City parks. Everyone must also comply with current prohibitions under the Provincial Emergency Orders(link is external), including the prohibition on organized public events, gatherings of more than five people, and entry to and use of certain outdoor recreational amenities.

OPH continues to advise that limiting activities to members of your own household remains important to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, and that physical distancing of at least two metres from non-household members be maintained during these activities.

Examples of permitted activities for individuals in groups of up to five people or members from the same household include:

  • Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball and throwing a football
  • Flying a kite
  • Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
  • Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
  • Letting young children run and burn off some energy

If you are not with members of your own family, the Provincial Orders continue to restrict events and gatherings of more than five people and continue to prohibit the entry onto or use of all sports fields and courts (e.g.: football and soccer fields, ball diamonds, tennis courts and basketball courts), BMX and skate/board parks, all play structures and playgrounds, swings, benches, picnic tables, shelters, and off-leash dog areas.

In addition, prohibited park use extends to all organized sporting activities and training, such as football, softball, ball hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee and basketball – even if they are not being played on a court or sports field, as these activities do not allow for proper physical distancing.

Also in accordance with the Provincial Orders, boat launches in parks remain closed and seasonal docks will not yet been installed. Launching any form of watercraft from any City park or beach remains prohibited for canoeists, kayakers and other watercraft enthusiasts.

City of Ottawa LTC Resident and Family Connection Plan in effect as of May 7

Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches 

The Ottawa community has come together and shown such great support for each other in these hard times. This week is the annual Mental Health Week that recognizes the importance of mental health awareness in Canada. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, we need each other now more than ever. Being honest and clear about our needs, and how we are doing with regards to our mental health is of utmost importance, so that we can continue to support each other. There are resources available on Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) website that you can use to support family, friends, colleagues and yourself.

Update on transition to new case management system and epidemiology report

OPH is transitioning to a new case management and reporting system. In the interim, a condensed epidemiological report is posted on OPH’s website until the transition is complete. We appreciate the public’s patience with this process.

What is important to highlight regarding the data is that the level of hospitalizations is not in steep decline and that gives us an idea of infection in the community.   

This means that while we have seen success in planking the curve, we have to remember that the level of infection in the community is simply being kept at a manageable level. There continues to be a risk, that as we increase our interactions with others, that the level of infection in our community will rise quickly again. 

Testing in long term care homes

Surveillance testing for all residents and staff in 28 long-term care homes in Ottawa continues. Testing has occurred in 15 homes to-date, with testing in all homes to be completed on, or ahead of schedule, before May 15, 2020. This surveillance has included testing of approximately 1880 residents and 1826 staff with results still pending from multiple homes.

This undertaking has only been possible with the collaborative effort of many partners:

  • The long term care homes,  
  • Champlain Health Region Incident Command,  
  • The Ottawa Hospital,  
  • Queensway Carleton Hospital,  
  • Montfort Hospital,  
  • BORN Ontario,
  • City of Ottawa,  
  • Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association,  
  • The Public Health Ontario Laboratory-Ottawa,  
  • Ottawa Paramedic Services, and  
  • Ottawa Public Health team members.  

With all of the interest in testing, it is important to place surveillance testing in the overall context of controlling transmission of this disease. The purpose of this surveillance testing is to provide a snapshot of the current state of COVID-19 infections in long-term care homes particularly since we know people can have mild or no symptoms and still be infectious. While the surveillance testing provides a picture of what’s happening at one moment in time, infection, prevention and control measures continue to be the most effective ways to decrease COVID-19 in long-term care homes. This includes employees avoiding working if symptomatic, ensuring all employees wear a medical grade face mask at all times while at work, and proper cohorting of people infected with COVID-19.

COVID-19: Share your thoughts online engagement

To date, our COVID-19 engagement survey has almost 8500 visits to the platform, 1236 users have participated in the survey, and we’ve received over 115 ideas on how to make physical distancing more manageable.

From what we’ve heard so far, the restrictions that have been especially difficult for residents include the closure of parks, reduced family and social connectedness, physical distancing requirements and the closing of schools and childcare.

Residents are encouraged to visit to complete the survey in English and French and provide feedback. The feedback received will help the City and OPH develop a recovery plan that meets the needs and expectations of our community, as much as possible.

Masks and Physical Distancing

There have been questions about masks over the past few days and you may be seeing more people wearing material masks in the community.

Someone wearing a mask is sending a signal that they care for you.

Because of the risk of rising rates of infection again, OPH recommends that residents continue to maintain physical distancing of 2 meters from others, and to wear a non-medical mask when this distance cannot be maintained, such as on public transit or at a grocery store, to decrease transmission of COVID-19. For more information about non-medical masks, including how to make one or where to buy one, please visit our special mask website

We know COVID-19 is circulating in our community and that transmission can occur when a person is asymptomatic. Wearing a non-medical mask is not a replacement for physical distancing, hand washing, and monitoring your health.

We are seeing more people biking with their families on multiuse paths and joggers are seen alongside the river, this is good to see people outside and being active. City Parks and beaches are partially reopening, and we hear that people want to spend time with family and friends outside their household.

OPH continues to advise that limiting activities to members of your own household remains important to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.  Physical distancing of at least two metres from non-household members needs to be maintained as we begin to open some public spaces.

Thank you to Ottawa residents for all the efforts you have put into date. You ARE making a difference. Physical distancing is working but we can’t let up. Limiting outings to essential trips only is working. We all need to continue to do these things, so that we can be confident in moving forward with relaxing current restrictions.

We will get through this time together. Stay connected but stay physically apart. Stay healthy and Stay safe.

Ottawa Public Health’s Recommendation for Community Gardens 

(Please read so that you are prepared when gardens officially open)

The risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in outdoor settings like community gardens is lower than indoors — this includes the risk of human-to-human spread and from the risk from contaminated surfaces. Distancing is usually easier to maintain outdoors, there is more air circulation, and there is UV sunlight. In addition, we know that virus survives for less time on surfaces that are not smooth, and that UV light kills all SARS coronavirus in 60 minutes. For more general and updated information on COVID-19 visit our page

Be aware that in addition to maintaining a minimum of 2-meter distance from all others, good hand hygiene is very important to protect yourself and others from infection both indoors and outdoors

  1. Conduct a COVID-19 health self-assessment each day before attending the garden to ensure you are not ill. Should self-assessments indicate they should self-isolate or seek medical advice, gardeners must not go to the garden until the issue is resolved.
  2. Practice good personal hygiene practices such as washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your arm, and not touching your face (mouth, nose, or eyes) unless you have washed your hands immediately before. Washed hands are the best protection against accidently transferring virus to your mouth, nose or eyes where infection can get started. Wash hands as soon as possible before and after gardening at the site. If hands are visibly soiled, handwashing with soap and water is preferred, but hand sanitizer can be effective if dirt is removed from hands first.
  3. Use your own garden gloves and bring them home to wash with soap and clean water after each use. Always wash your hands thoroughly immediately after taking off your gloves.
  4. Practice physical distancing from others in the garden:
    • stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others to limit the number of people you come in close contact with, except members of your household who are gardening.
    • limit the number of gardeners at each plot. Allow only 1 or 2 gardeners per garden plot. Having more than 1 or 2 gardeners will make it more difficult to maintain at least 2 meters from all other people and would be unfair to other gardeners.
  5. Minimize the use of shared tools and consider cleaning and disinfecting tools that are shared. Not touching your face and washing hands after gardening are protective of infection spread from contaminated surfaces.
  6. The normal practice of wearing gardening gloves combined with not touching your face and washing hands after gardening are protective of infection spread from contaminated surfaces.
  7. Consider wearing a non-medical face mask when physical distancing is difficult, to protect others from the spread of droplets generated by breathing, talking, coughing, sneezing, etc.
  8. Wash your hands as soon as possible after touching commonly touched surfaces in the garden. Remember that you cannot rely on a surface being clean when you touch it – always wash your hands before touching any part of your face even if you think a surface you have touched is clean.
  9. Consider bringing soap and water and a disinfectant with you to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces prior to use and ideally after touching them. Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Surfaces should first be cleaned with soap and water and then disinfected. 
    • Follow recommendations from Public Health Ontario on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings, consult Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings, as well as read the specific label instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure products are properly prepared and applied; allowed adequate contact time for the disinfectant to kill germs; and that the person preparing and applying them is wearing gloves and any additional recommended personal protective equipment.
  10. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running tap water as per normal when preparing foods. Always wash your hands with soap and water before washing fruits and veggies and between handling different kinds of foods. Visit Ottawa Public Health’s Keeping foods safe (clean, cook, chill, separate) for more information.

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.