August 4, 2020

Following a sharp rise in new cases at the end of July, demand for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa is on the rise.

The city's associate medical officer of health clarified on CTV today that testing is appropriate for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and that those who have come into contact with an infected person should wait about 5 days before being tested. If you believe that you might have been exposed, self-isolation until you can get tested and confirm the test results is recommended.

Most of the province, including Ottawa, remains at Stage 3 of the province's framework for reopening as per the Ontario government's announcement.  Canada’s chief medical officer of health urges caution if choosing to visit reopened restaurants and bars. See the CBC daily update here.

Face masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces in accordance with a temporary by-law passed by Ottawa City Council on July 15.  Places were masks are required include shopping malls, retail stores, restaurants and cafés, and indoor public areas of recreational facilities. Masks are also required in public transit properties including buses, trains, stations, shelters and platforms.

Residents need to remain vigilant and continue following public health guidelines:

  • Stay at home when sick or if feeling unwell.
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 m / 6 ft from anyone you don't live with when outside your home.
  • Wear a non-medical face mask in all public indoor places (now mandatory) and outside when physical distancing may be difficult.
  • Practice good hand hygiene and avoid touching your face.

The virus is spread primarily by respiratory droplets emitted when talking, sneeezing or coughing. People without symptoms may be contagious and capable of transmiting the virus to others. 

Businesses and municipalities may choose to take more time before reopening.  The City of Ottawa may put additional public health measures in place as determined appropriate.  For details, visit the City of Ottawa's Reopening Plan web page or download the PDF version. You can also check the updates on the City of Ottawa's News Pages.

Both the City of Ottawa and Province of Ontario remain under a State of Emergency. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) states that anyone who feels they need a test, even if not showing symptoms, should go to one of the city's assessment sites to be tested for the virus.

Public cooperation remains critical to preventing a second wave of COVID-19. In addition to physical distancing and wearing a non-medical mask, follow these regulations and guidelines to help prevent transmission and reduce spread of the virus:

•  Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

•  If water is unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

•  Anyone tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa must self-isolate at least until test results are received. 

•  Anyone in Ontario who's been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19 must also self-isolate.

•  All travellers returning from outside Canada must immediately self-isolate for 14 days under the federal Quarantine Act.  This involves not stopping at grocery stores on the way home. Groceries and other essentials should be ordered for home delivery or dropped at the door by a family member, neighbour or friend.

•  Avoid crowds. Limit your contacts to your exclusive circle of 10 or fewer. All indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, with the requirments of wearing mandatory face masks and maintaining 2 metres of physical distance from those you do not live with.

Ottawa municipal bylaw officers have the authority to enforce COVID-19 regulations. Citizens may call 311 to report any concerns.

While no age group is immune, Ottawa Public Health strongly recommends that individuals over 65 years of age self-isolate given their greater risk of severe outcomes. Individuals of any age with compromised immunity and/or underlying conditions including diabetes, cardiac issues and chronic lung diseases are also at higher risk. 


• The multi-use pathway along the Ottawa River is open to pedestrians, runners and cyclists.

• Cyclists, runners and pedestrians can continue to enjoy the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway on weekends from 8am to 4pm when it closes to motor vehicles between Aviation Parkway and St. Joesph Blvd. The weekend closures have been extended to September 7 as part of an NCC pilot project. CLICK HERE for details.

• Playgrounds and exercise equipment at Ottawa City Parks reopened on July 17 after being closed since mid-March. Users are reminded to maintain physical distancing from people outside your household, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands after using park equipment.

Please Note: The 23 bus route is back in service after a temporary closure due to the pandemic.  All transit riders are required to wear face masks.  For more information visit .


If feeling unwell, take this SELF ASSESSMENT TEST to determine whether you should be tested for COVID-19. Anyone who feels the need, even if not showing symptoms, may now visit one of the city's assessment sites to be tested for the virus.

Get the latest information about COVID-19 at the following websites:

In addition to following the primary guidelines, everyone can help prevent transmission as follows:

·       Shop for groceries once per week.

·       Have essentials such as food and medications delivered, if possible.

·       If you must take an essential trip via taxi or rideshare, keep the vehicle windows down.

·       Respect the provincial ban by limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people, while continuing to maintain physical distancing and wearing a mask.

·       Stay connected with family, neighbours and friends by phone, email, FaceTime or Skype.

Things change rapidly in a pandemic situation.  For daily updates, an interactive map and full epidemiological reports, visit the PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA's COVID-19 website.

We wish all of you good health and safety during these challenging times.





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