COVID-19 Update #56

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

Please read the letter I sent today to Minister Lisa Thompson regarding Service Ontario concerns.

Remember that the government of Ontario has said that your driver’s license, health card and license sticker will not expire during the state of emergency. 

Most services are available online. 

You do not need to go to a Service Ontario location for these items at this time. 

For more information, please visit:

New as of May 21

Ontario Leading COVID-19 Research in Canada

The Ontario government is quickly moving forward with innovative research to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19. These projects, part of the government’s $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, focus on areas of research such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences. Additionally, Ontario is leading the country with 22 clinical trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities.

The Ontario government is funding 15 high-quality and promising proposals that were submitted in response to a recent call for proposals for the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. Announced only four weeks ago, the $20 million fund was created as an immediate response to engaging the research community on ways to fight COVID-19. Where relevant, a portion of these funds will be used to cover costs associated with licensing and commercialization, including patenting, of the valuable intellectual property generated by successful projects to ensure any economic outcomes from these proposals benefit Ontario’s economy, workers and researchers.

Many of Ontario’s research hospitals, universities, colleges and research institutes are leading Canada with their ground-breaking COVID-19 research projects. Eleven of the 22 clinical trials that are being led by these institutions have already secured the necessary approvals by Health Canada to advance potential vaccines and therapeutics. Ontario also has the largest share of the total 25 clinical trials approved by Health Canada in the country.

Ontario’s research will expand the global understanding of COVID-19 and further the capacity in the health care, artificial intelligence, and supply chain sectors to assist frontline workers today and in the future.

Prime Minister announces additional support for Indigenous peoples living in urban centres and off

As COVID-19 continues to affect Canadians across the country, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are also facing health, social, and economic challenges. The Government of Canada recognizes that Indigenous peoples have unique needs, especially those who are separated from their families and communities.

On March 18, the Government of Canada announced $305 million for a new, distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in Indigenous communities, and help them respond to COVID-19. The Fund included $15 million in support for Indigenous organizations that provide services to Indigenous peoples living in urban centres and off reserve.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced $75 million in new funding for Indigenous organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off reserve.

This additional funding will support more community-based projects that address the critical needs of Indigenous populations during this crisis, including food security, mental health support services, and sanitation and protective equipment. It could also help with other needs, such as support for Elders, transportation, and educational materials for Indigenous children and youth. Funding for projects will start rolling out in the coming weeks.

Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches

During the next few months, public health’s role will be to continue to: 

  • engage with residents and stakeholders to inform next steps,  
  • engage with businesses and organizations to reopen safely,  
  • monitor the number of confirmed cases, 
  • connect with people with confirmed COVID-19 and their contacts, and  
  • control outbreaks in the community. 

Engaging with the community

One way that Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has engaged with residents is through an online engagement platform.

Today is the last day for residents to provide feedback on our survey during the first phase of the engagement platform called COVID-19: Share your thoughts. Please consider contributing your thoughts at if you have not yet joined this conversation. Your feedback will help inform our approach to easing restrictions.

Since launching on May 1, we have heard from more than 1,500 residents, and more than 9,000 residents have accessed information on the page. More than 90% of respondents have shared they understand why we must continue practicing physical distancing, and that they will continue to do so even as we are able to ease restrictions. Many respondents are open to mitigation measures like wearing non-medical cloth masks (89%) and scheduling outings to limit crowding (70%). This is good news.

More information on the next phase of our engagement will be provided in the near future.

Outdoor recreational amenities

Yesterday the reopening of outdoor recreational amenities came into effect. One of the most common concerns we’ve heard from residents during the COVID-19 response was lack of ability to engage in activities in outdoor green space, so this is welcome news. It means more outdoor space for everyone to take advantage of the nice weather and to get out and be active.

Business toolkit

OPH is pleased to have supported the development of the City’s business reopening toolkit. Getting people back to work safely is a priority. We are here to support businesses to do that during this next phase.

Examples of resources in the toolkit include setting up your space to allow for physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, screening tools for employees, and signage.

If businesses are not ready to open, they don’t need to. If they are successfully offering online deliveries, curbside pick-up, or individual appointments, we encourage them continue to use those strategies. These strategies allow businesses and customers to maintain physical distancing which has been key in keeping infections down in our community so far.

I want to reiterate what Chair Egli said: Recommended physical distancing measures don’t change with reopening. Please remember to continue to stay two metres away from people who do not live in your household, and if you cannot maintain this two-metre distance OPH recommends you wear a cloth mask.

Mapping of confirmed COVID-19 in Ottawa

We have begun to look at the data of confirmed cases in different ways. Today we launched a new map that reflects the rate of COVID-19 infection in residents by ward. This map, which will be updated every two weeks starting next week, can be found on our COVID-19 Epidemiology Update web page.

While it is clear that COVID-19 is present in every single community within Ottawa, this map provides a snapshot of COVID-19 across Ottawa, based on ward geography.

I want to stress that these maps cannot be used to identify “COVID-19 hot spots” in Ottawa. OPH is sharing this information in the interest of transparency. Areas with lower or higher rates are not more or less safe from COVID-19 transmission. The map is based on where residents with confirmed COVID-19 live and does not reflect where the disease was contracted. These maps are not intended to assist with service delivery planning, recovery efforts, or requests for additional services at a neighbourhood level.

OPH capacity to follow-up with cases and contacts

When OPH is notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19, OPH notifies the individual within 24 hours and begins the process of contact tracing.  In late April, OPH increased the number of staff conducting case and contact management, which has allowed OPH to achieve the 90 per cent target of reaching out to contacts within 24 hours from when they are identified and following up with 94 to 98 per cent percent of cases within 24 hours.

Through our case and contact management work, OPH is seeing that the number of close contacts per case is now often less than five, and are usually household contacts. Before physical distancing and self-isolation measures were introduced, OPH was notifying approximately 15 to 20 close contacts per case.

OPH will continue to work seven days a week to contact trace all infections to prevent further outbreaks in the community. This role will be especially important as we reopen, and additional opportunities to be in contact with individuals outside our household’s increase.

We’ve made great progress in flattening the curve, thanks to everyone’s efforts. However, we still have community spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa; 17% of cases have no known exposure. As restrictions ease, our goal is to reduce the spread of COVID-19, to keep case levels manageable for our health care system to be able to care for everyone that needs the help. 

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.