Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Ontario Strengthens Enforcement of Stay-at-Home Order

New Provincial restrictions in effect as of April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

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Latest news and data

Last revised on April 9, 2021

The current status of COVID-19 in Ottawa

Ontario Enacts Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order

Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely. Read the press release.

Ontario Implements Provincewide Emergency Brake

The provincewide emergency brake came into effect on Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.

Travel outside of Ottawa (whether within Ontario or to another province) should be limited to essential purposes. (Note: the Public Health Agency of Canada advises avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Canada).  

If you have to travel outside of Ottawa for work or other essential reasons, here is some information to consider: 

  • Monitor forsymptoms of COVID-19and do not travel if you are sick. 
  • If anyone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19, that person needs to stay home, self-isolate and get tested. All other household (the people you live with) members will also need to isolate until that individual has tested negative for COVID-19. 
  • Do not carpool with people from outside of your household.
  • Wear a mask, practice hand hygiene and maintain at least two metres of physical distance from those outside of your household
  • Do not eat, drink, or take breaks with people from outside your household.  
  • You may have to self-isolate upon your arrival and return depending on where you have traveled. The Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario strongly advises that individuals and families self-isolate for 14 days when arriving in or returning to Ontario. This advice for self-isolation would not apply to those whose home is in Quebec and work in Ottawa and vice versa. (Note: arrival and return to Canada from another country continues to require two weeks of isolation as per the Quarantine Act). 

For more information on the current situation in Ottawa visit our Statistics page which includes the following:

  • Daily COVID-19 dashboard
  • Wastewater COVID-19 surveillance
  • Supplemental reports
  • Mapping products
  • Societal impacts
  • Projections

Remember to be COVID Wise:

Download our fact sheet on what you need to know about COVID-19.

Stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 developments by following Ottawa Public Health on Twitter and Facebook

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What is the situation in the municipalities surrounding the Ottawa area?

For more information on the situation in your municipality, please visit your local public health unit’s website:

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Status of COVID-19 in Ontario

To learn about COVID-19 cases in Ontario and how the province is keeping its people safe please visit COVID-19 Ontario webpage.

On November 3, Ontario released a COVID-19 response framework to help keep the province safe and open. The province will return to this COVID-19 response framework after the provincewide shutdown ends.

Ontario provides a more detailed summary of COVID-19 cases in the province that is updated each day at 10:30 am and posted on its COVID-19 web page.

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Status of COVID-19 in Canada

For more information on the federal response, please visit the Government of Canada COVID-19 webpage.

An official global travel advisory  to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada is in effect until further notice. In addition, a pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice with travel health advice for Canadians has also been issued.

Some regional travel restrictions may be in place within Canada, please check with the region before travelling.

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Read the special statements from officials 

April 09, 2021 – Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches

As I indicated to the Province on Monday, the COVID situation in Ottawa is extremely concerning and we need further restrictions to bend the curve. Hospitalizations are at an all-time high since the beginning of the pandemic and surgeries are being cancelled for the first time since last March. Younger people are being admitted to hospital. More people than ever are testing positive for COVID-19. We are no longer able to maintain contact tracing follow-ups with high-risk contacts in settings outside of schools and congregate or healthcare. And variants of concern are now established and making up the majority of the virus detected in Ottawa’s wastewater.

We are seeing transmission across Ottawa in a variety of settings including workplaces, restaurant patios, in breakrooms, at after-work gatherings, parties, carpools and sleepovers. It is simple: The risk exists wherever people from different households gather and protective measures are not being followed, namely physical distancing and masking. 

I want to remind everyone that this virus is tricky; not everyone with COVID-19 will have symptoms. That is why even if you are feeling fine, you still must follow the prevention measures in place – again, namely masking and distancing – when you are around others outside your household. That includes people you know, love and trust – friends, extended family, colleagues and neighbours.



One of our main goals has always been to keep schools open. There are harms associated with closing schools. This includes impacts on mental health for all members of the family, stress and financial impacts for parents and caregivers who can’t afford childcare and developmental impacts on children and youth who are missing out on important social connections.

It is therefore with a heavy heart that I am now thinking the probability that schools will close to in-person learning following the spring break is higher than the probability that the COVID-19 situation will improve in time to keep schools open.

There have been new school outbreaks this week, but the overall number of outbreaks has remained fairly stable and it is still a minority of schools that are affected by people testing positive. Public health and school staff are working hard to manage the growing number of people exposed in the community who are then positive in schools.

However, context that has changed this week includes:

  • The level of COVID-19 in the community has continued to grow to levels higher than we have seen, demonstrated by the wastewater signal continuing its steep climb; and
  • the percent of people testing positive has reached new heights in adults, with some people having to wait to access testing.
  • Also, a provincial Stay At Home Order came into effect yesterday, which closes the malls and places that students may have gathered if not in school, so this risk is mitigated.

This leads me to give notice of a school closure being more likely than not following the spring break, as we need to do everything we can to turn this curve. The team will continue to review the situation and provide confirmation of a decision by Wednesday of next week at the latest. Other countries have consistently added school closures to strict lockdown measures to bring numbers down. Closing schools will underline the seriousness of the situation and assist people to stay at home as much as possible, reducing mixing of students before and after school.


Letter of Instruction

In addition to the new provincial restrictions, I am issuing a Letter of Instruction to all employers, businesses and organizations permitted to be open to take the additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 effective Saturday, April 10 at 5 am.
These new measures include:

  • increased reporting requirements when two or more people test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day interval in connection to the workplace;
  • ensuring that all employees are aware of any benefits and/or pay to which they may be entitled in the event that they must isolate; and
  • Requirements to actively monitor and manage capacity limits in businesses, and physical distancing and masking in outdoor line ups as people wait to access the business. At minimum one staff person must be designated to monitor and manage the applicable capacity limit and verify compliance with the physical distancing and mask-wearing requirements of individuals in line-ups.
  • Documentation of how your workplace will do this, is required in your workplace COVID-19 safety plan

Full details of this letter can be found on


High-priority neighbourhoods

The Province of Ontario announced the extension of vaccine appointments at community clinics to residents aged 50 and older who live in certain “hot spots”. These are large geographic areas that have more advantaged and less advantaged populations within them.

As Medical Officer of Health, I have the authority to further focus on neighbourhoods, based on local considerations of who is at greatest risk of COVID-19. Therefore, we will continue to focus future pop-up clinics, walk-in options and mobile strategies in the high-priority neighbourhoods previously identified.

Our primary goal is to protect the people most at risk for hospitalization and death as a result of COVID-19. This strategy helps to prevent hospitalizations and deaths when vaccine doses are still limited. We must continue to protect people over 60 across Ottawa, people over 55 through pharmacies and people over 50 in neighbourhood-based approaches, as the majority of people being hospitalized are still older adults.

In addition to the neighbourhoods of focus in Phase 1, the City and OPH are reviewing data for other neighbourhoods which may also be disproportionally impacted by COVID-19 and considerations will be made for support to other communities as the vaccine rollout continues.


You’ve heard the COVID-19 response referred to as a marathon, not a sprint. Looking back to when this started, I think we can all see that now.

We have been “training” for more than a year.

We are tired, fatigued and we want this to be over.

This is the point in our COVID marathon where we are hitting the wall.

This is our defining moment. The moment we break through the wall by taking one careful step at a time. The moment we dedicate each step to getting us toward the end of this.

We will not give up. We will not fall.

Vaccines are our fuel, and so are our behaviours.

And those, together, are what will get us across that finish line.

Thank you. Merci. Meegwetch.

Read the previous statements.

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Contact Information

Provincial Vaccine Information Line

  • 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Call if you have questions about Ontario's COVID-19 vaccination program.
  • Service is available in multiple languages.
  • Telephone: 1-888-999-6488
  • TTY: 1-866-797-0007

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Telephone Line

  • Monday to Friday, from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Weekends, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Translation is available in multiple languages
  • Telephone: 613-580-6744 follow the prompts to the COVID-19 telephone line
  • TTY: 613-580-9656

Emergency Services

  • If you are in distress (e.g., significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

See someone not respecting COVID-19 rules?

How to access help during COVID-19

  • 211 Ontario can help you find financial and social support during COVID-19
  • Telephone: 2-1-1

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