Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Latest news and data


Last revised on October 6, 2021

The current status of COVID-19 in Ottawa 

Visit our Statistics page for information on the following:

NEW: Please check the Government of Canada’s new rules if you have to travel outside of Canada for business or other essential reasons. For information on travel between Ontario and other provinces, please visit the Government of Ontario website.  

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

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Read the special statements from officials

October 6, 2021 – Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches

Ottawa continues to hold relatively steady when it comes to most COVID-19 monitoring indicators. The seven-day average for new people testing positive is about 19. The local estimate of the reproduction number hovers around one, hospitalizations remain stable and the positivity rate in the community is less than two per cent.

We are getting closer to achieving our goal of fully vaccinating 90-plus per cent of eligible residents in Ottawa. To date, 89 per cent of Ottawa residents born in 2009 or earlier have received one dose and 84 per cent are fully vaccinated.

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 response, Ottawa Public Health is working with partners on additional measures to help reduce transmission in the community with a focus on children and youth where rates are higher. Caution is still warranted with the number of close contacts unvaccinated children and youth have each day.

Increasing accessibility to COVID-19 testing in schools: Take-home testing kits

Testing and tracing alone is not sufficient to keep COVID-19 under control, though diagnosing COVID-19 through testing does help to identify areas of risk for transmission and to limit further spread.

To address the increased demand for testing in schools, Ottawa Public Health, along with our partners at CHEO, has been offering free take-home testing kits for students and staff at schools in Ottawa – the first municipality to do so in Ontario. These kits include a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that can replace a visit to an assessment centre. They are offered to students and staff who develop symptoms of COVID-19 or are identified as a high-risk contact and will be available in all schools this week. The take-home test kits include a combined mouth and nose swab that is easily administered and non-invasive.

Where there is concern of an outbreak, whole-school testing may be required to investigate transmission between cohorts. Take-home PCR tests are being made available to all staff and students. These PCR tests are the same as what are used when people book an appointment for a test at an assessment centre.

Increasing accessibility to COVID-19 testing in schools: Rapid antigen screening

Yesterday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced new guidance for targeted use of voluntary rapid antigen screening in certain schools and licensed childcare settings at the discretion of public health units. The Ministry of Health has indicated that rapid antigen tests will be available and can play a role in school screening where there is higher risk of transmission, adding to the tools available to us to help detect and control COVID-19 in our schools and community. Rapid antigen screening does not replace a PCR test for those with symptoms or who are high risk contacts – PCR testing through the take-home test kits program or through the assessment centre is still required.

Ottawa Public Health is working with Ontario Health, the Ministry of Education, local school boards, and parents to explore how to best use this new rapid antigen screening tool and implement this program in targeted schools and childcare facilities to test unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals.

We look forward to sharing further details as we learn more from the Province on the implementation of this program. We expect more information to be available for parents, schools, and the community in the coming days.

Practising COVID-19 prevention measures, daily symptom screening for all children and youth attending school and appropriate testing are critical to keeping COVID-19 out of our schools.

Letter of Instruction for coaches, volunteers and officials in organized sports

As an increased measure, to help protect unvaccinated children and youth at higher risk for COVID-19 transmission, this morning I issued a Letter of Instruction to coaches, volunteers and officials in indoor organized sports advising of new vaccine requirements. Starting October 9 at 12:01 am, coaches, officials and volunteers directly supporting an organized team sport who enter facilities used for sport and recreational fitness activities must show proof of vaccination (or proof of having a medical exemption).

We know that key risk factors for COVID-19 transmission include close contact, closed spaces, crowded places, prolonged exposure and forceful exhalation, all of which are prevalent with indoor organized sport activities. Requiring these individuals to be fully vaccinated provides enhanced protection for our community – especially children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine – and further reduces additional risk associated with indoor organized sports. 

A crucial element to mitigating the risk COVID-19 poses to our community is high vaccination rates. With a resurgence in cases, fuelled by the Delta variant, that is leading to children and youth missing school due to isolation for high-risk contacts, it is important to implement measures to continue to keep our communities safe. That means limiting close contacts between cohorts in school at recess and lunch breaks and carefully considering the number of contacts unvaccinated children and youth have outside of school. Our goals continue to be to keep COVID-19 levels manageable for our hospitals and to keep our children in school.

For those who wish to learn more about the Letter of Instruction, Dr. Brent Moloughney, Deputy Medical Officer of Health with Ottawa Public Health and Marcia Morris from the Ottawa Sport Council will be hosting a town hall on Friday, October 8 from 1 to 2 pm. Details and a link to register can be found on OttawaPublicHealth.ca.

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This weekend many of us are celebrating Thanksgiving, a time when we would normally gather with family and friends to share a meal, give thanks and enjoy one another’s company. This year, I remind everyone to exercise caution when planning social gatherings. Make things safer by keeping activities outdoors when possible, keep gatherings small, limit close contacts, wear a mask and make sure hand sanitizer is readily available. Consider the vaccination status of attendees and the vulnerability of people who have not yet been or are unable to be vaccinated.

And while the weather forecast for this weekend looks a little bit grey, my outlook for fall remains bright. I want to thank everyone for continuing to help us get closer to community immunity and reduce COVID-19 transmission so we can all enjoy a season that feels a little bit closer to normal.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Read the previous statements.

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Contact Information

Provincial Vaccine Information Line

  • 7 days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm
  • 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 8 am to 4:30 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

Related Information

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