Congregate Settings

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Reporting and requests

Outbreak reporting

To report an outbreak during regular business hours, please complete the Initial Outbreak Notification Form below or call 613-580-2424 extension 26325. Evenings, weekends or holidays, call 3-1-1 and ask to speak with the Public Health Inspector on-call. 

NEW design, same reporting form:

Initial notification of increase of illness reporting

For outbreak definitions, please refer to the Outbreak definitions section

Specimen pick-up or drop-off requests

Due to the decrease in COVID-19 funding, requests for pick-ups or drop-offs of swabs or stool sample kits will be limited to once per day starting December 22. Please refrain from submitting requests late in the day as courier services are limited which may result in requests being deferred until the next day.

To request an Ottawa Public Health specimen pick-up, please complete the Facility specimen collection request form below. If encountering any issues please call 613-580-2424 extension 26325. 

Outbreak related specimen collection only.

Facility specimen collection request form

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Forms and templates

Outbreak Line List

Please use the templates below in either print format or PDF fillable format for reporting of cases to the Infection Prevention and Control team at Ottawa Public Health. 

Fillable version - Outbreak line listing (pdf - 902 KB)

Print version - Outbreak line listing (pdf - 537 KB)

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Resources and guidance

Outbreak Definitions

For the COVID-19 outbreak definition, please consult the Ministry of Health’s; COVID-19 Guidance: Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, and Other Congregate Living Settings for Public Health Units

For the Respiratory unspecified outbreak definition, please consult the Ministry of Health’s; Infectious Disease Protocol Appendix 1: Case Definitions and Disease-Specific Information; Disease: Respiratory Infection Outbreaks in Institutions and Public Hospitals

For the Gastroenteritis outbreak definition, please consult the Ministry of Health’s; Recommendations for the Control of Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Long-Term Care Homes  

Screening and Testing

Screening residents and staff regularly for early signs and symptoms of illness may help to detect and prevent the spread of disease and may reduce the risk of outbreaks.

Ottawa Public Health recommends that staff continue to self-monitor prior to entering the Long-Term care home, retirement home or congregate living setting. A self-assessment tool is available on the Ontario Health website.

Testing and isolation are highly recommended for all individuals experiencing symptoms who reside or work in a high-risk setting*. 

As per the latest Ministry of Health Guidance, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) would like to call attention to the recommendations regarding transfers and repatriations to Long Term Care Homes (LTCHs), Retirement Homes (RH) and congregate living settings. Residents are no longer required to be tested prior to or upon repatriation to their home if they do not present with symptoms. It is however, recommended that facilities screen the resident upon entry and act accordingly.

For COVID-19 specific guidance on testing and isolation, please refer to the MOHs’ COVID-19 Guidance: Long-Term care Homes, Retirement Home, and Other Congregate Living Settings for Public Health Units and the MOH’s Management of Cases and Contacts of COVID-19 in Ontario or OPH’s COVID-19 Testing and Care Information page.

*High risk settings include acute care settings such as hospitals, including complex continuing care facilities; congregate living settings, including, Long-Term Care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, correctional institutions, and hospital schools.

Outbreak Control Measures

When an outbreak is suspected, implement the following outbreak control measures as soon as possible:

  • Isolate ill residents
  • Exclude ill staff
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when providing care to ill residents
  • Ensure adequate and frequent hand washing
  • Ensure staff within the facility are aware of the outbreak
  • Notify internal and external partners of outbreak (including volunteers)
  • Post outbreak signage at the facility entrances and affected units
  • Institute enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection (at least twice daily)
  • Modify activities on affected units as appropriate
  • Limit movement on and off the unit by cohorting staff as feasible
  • Avoid having visitors and volunteers
  • Notify OPH of the potential outbreak
  • Discuss any transfers or new admissions of residents with OPH
  • Ensure active surveillance for new cases and report all new cases to OPH
Cleaning and Disinfection

When an outbreak is suspected or declared, it is recommended t/hat facilities increase their environmental cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces and resident rooms to twice daily (minimum).

Is it important to ensure that the product is effective against the agent circulating in the home. Accelerated hydrogen peroxide products will often cover a large spectrum of pathogens frequently identified in healthcare institutions.

Products with shorter contact times (1 minute, 3 minutes) are preferred to ensure the surface has been cleaned and disinfected appropriately. Please ensure to review the contact time of your products to ensure proper environmental cleaning protocols.

Access the Public Health Ontario website for additional resources on environmental cleaning and disinfection best practices.  

Signage, Posters and Factsheets
Outbreak Signage
Hand Hygiene

For signage in additional languages, please refer to Ottawa Public Health’s Hand Hygiene webpage.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Physical Distancing
Ottawa Public Health: Poster - Physical Distancing (pdf - 807 KB)
Additional Precautions Signage and Lanyard Cards

Public Health Ontario has developed standardized infection prevention and control signage and lanyard cards for hospitals and long-term care homes to assist with the implementation of Routine Practices and Additional Precautions and provide consistent visual messages about recommended additional precautions and PPE. 

Visit the Public Health Ontario website to download the following signs:

For the most up to date information on vaccines, please refer to the Ottawa Public Health immunization webpage.

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