COVID-19: What you need to know Saturday, April 16

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(Reported Saturday)

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10: New deaths (including a data cleanup)

12,606: Total deaths

1,130: People in hospital and testing positive (some hospitals not reporting due to holiday weekend)

185: In ICU

80: On ventilators (subset of previous number)

4,201: New confirmed cases (case numbers are considered underestimates with testing limited to certain groups)

1,209,041: Total cases

18.5: Test positivity

New public health measures

Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, visits to hospitals in the Outaouais have been suspended until further notice. The CISSS de l’Outaouais, the regional agency responsible for health and social services, said the policy was needed to protect vulnerable patients, health care workers and the general population.

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Caregivers can continue to visit to assist hospital patients. Visits for humanitarian reasons, such as end of life visits, are still possible, the agency said.

Women giving birth are allowed one companion. The hospitals included are: Gatineau, Hull, Papineau, Maniwaki, Shawville,  Wakefiend and Pierre Janet.

Students, staff and visitors at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board are also required to wear masks again after the board passed a policy requiring it.

Ottawa-Carleton appears to be the only school board in Ontario to re-introduce mandatory masking after the province ended it in most indoor public spaces on March 21.

Masking is encouraged, but optional at the Ottawa area’s other three school boards.

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Advice for the holiday weekend

Ottawa Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches encouragespeople to wear masks indoors, to stay home if sick, to limit the size of social gatherings and to gather outdoors, if possible, this holiday weekend.

“We are still in the middle of a significant wave and taking these precautions will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” she said in a statement.

How to get vaccinated

Fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available to Ontario residents aged 60 and over as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis people and household members aged 18 and up.

Eligible people can book through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling 1-833-943-3900, through public health units that use their own booking systems and at participating pharmacies. Some family doctors are also giving boosters.

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In Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health community clinics and after-school clinics are open for drop-in shots for everyone eligible for a first dose, second dose or booster dose.

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa

According to a provincial government announcement Monday, anyone 70 and older, people 60 and older with fewer than three vaccine doses, and those 18 and older with fewer than three doses and at least one risk factor such as a chronic medical condition can now be tested and assessed for treatment.

Molecular testing in Ontario has been prioritized for people at increased risk and those living or working in high-risk settings. Those test are processed in a laboratory.

Ottawans can find out more on the Ottawa Public Health website along with what to do if they have symptoms, test positive or are high-risk contacts.

Where to get rapid tests in Ottawa

Ontario is distributing free rapid antigen tests through pharmacy and grocery locations across the province, with Health Minister Christine Elliott saying last week that they’d be handed out until at least July 31. Those tests can be done at home.

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