Community Update from Ottawa Public Health

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May 5

Vaccine eligibility update 

Some great news this week, our vaccine supply is increasing, and the eligibility for more groups continues to grow and open. Please visit our website to find out if you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

You can also sign up for the City of Ottawa e-subscription to get updates on the COVID-19 vaccine roll out here

COVID-19 Vaccines Townhall  

The African Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO) is hosting a virtual COVID-19 VACCINES TOWNHALL on Saturday May 8 at 4:00pm.  

ACAO has requested the country’s top black doctors to answer your questions regarding the COVID-19 Vaccines. Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, will also share the City’s plan regarding vaccine distribution. This event will take place on Zoom in English and French. If you are interested, please register here


Community Immunity 

OPH just recently launched its new Community Immunity webpage. As increased shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are expected, and eligibility criteria for vaccination opens to more groups, the website will be the home for Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa’s vaccine confidence campaign.  

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you’re contributing to achieving community immunity in Ottawa. Thank you for getting vaccinated. Until enough people are immunized against COVID-19, remember to continue to respect public health guidelines to protect others. For more information please visit: or 

Mental Health Week 

May 3 – 9 is Mental Health Week – time to understand our emotions. Good mental health isn’t about being happy all the time. In fact, a mentally healthy life includes the full range of human emotions – even the uncomfortable ones. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Week is understanding our emotions. Recognizing, labeling and accepting our feelings are all part of protecting and promoting good mental health for everyone. This past year has been a roller coaster of emotions for many and that is completely normal. From May 3-9, 2021 #GetReal about how you feel and celebrate the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 70th annual Mental Health Week.  

It’s ok to not be ok. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need more support, here are a few resources: 

·        Call the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region at 613-238-3311 for services in English or French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 for services in French. These phone lines are your connection to mental health support and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   

·        Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling sessions. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area.    

·        The Walk-in Counselling Clinic at 613-755-2277 offers free counselling sessions in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Somali, Cantonese and Mandarin.   

·        AccessMHA makes it easy to find mental health and/or substance use support services and care. They work with you to refer you to the services you need from a network of partner organizations, all while supporting you through the process.   

For a complete list of resources, please visit    

For more information about Mental Health Week, please click here. 


A special message from the Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Task Force (CMCTF) 

The Canadian Muslim COVID-19 task force released a statement on May 1 responding to a ‘PROPER EID PRAYER’ EVENT: AN UNSANCTIONED GATHERING that was organized in contravention of public health orders. For more details and a full statement from the taskforce, please visit the CMCTF website.

April 28 Update

Vaccine Eligibility Updates 

Vaccinations in high-priority neighbourhoods, and for people at the highest risk of adverse outcomes, continue to be the City’s focus.  Eligibility has recently been expanded to include: 

·        Age limit lowered to 45 for individuals living in K1T, K1V or K2V; 

·        Individuals who are pregnant and one of their caregivers/support persons can now pre-register for a vaccine appointment

·        Individuals previously identified with highest risk health conditions and their caregivers/support persons can now pre-register for a vaccine appointment; 

·        Licensed childcare staff as of Thursday April 28. 

The list of who can get the vaccine is growing! Visit Ottawa Public Health to see if it’s your turn to roll up your sleeve! Already received one or both doses of your vaccine? Way to go! A reminder that vaccines can cause side effects and that most are minor and can last up to a few days. Understanding what to expect after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is important.  

Staying COVIDWise Post-vaccination 

OPH urges anyone who has received the COVID-19 vaccination (whether one or two doses) to continue following public health measures such as maintaining distance from others, wearing a mask, practicing proper hand hygiene, and isolating when sick and/or getting tested. 

As the vaccine takes time (up to two weeks) to build immunity and is not 100 percent effective, there has been cases where people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the days following immunization. This makes even more important that everyone continues to follow public health measures even if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Have more questions about measures to take after receiving the vaccine? Visit OPH’s Vaccine FAQ for more information.  

Not everyone is safe at home 

The current Stay-at-Home order (except leaving for essential reasons) is enacted to protect the public and limit the transmission of COVID-19. However, for some people, staying at home is not safe. Domestic violence is never okay. We all have the right to feel safe and live a violence-free life. Leaving a violent environment to get to safety is an essential reason to leave home. Please know that there are many services open and support available (including safe spaces) to those who need it.  

Survivors of domestic violence and abuse can also get help and support through a number of community resources, including Ottawa’s text and online chat tool,, available 7 days a week from 8:30 am to midnight. You can send a discreet text to 613-704-5535 if you need help. This service is now available in over 70 languages, thanks to the support of Immigrant Women Services Ottawa

Mental Health Week 

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is hosting a virtual event to celebrate Mental Health Week and launch the new have THAT talk About Racism and Allyship videos. This year’s theme is about focusing on how naming, expressing, and dealing with our emotions, the ones we like and the ones we don’t, is important for our mental health. Join us as we explore the impacts of racism on our mental health.  

Date: Wednesday May 5th, 2021 Time: 10:00 to 11:00  

Virtual session: Participants can join the session on Ottawa Public Health’s YouTube channel

For more information on have THAT talk videos, please visit:

April 21 Update

Stay-at-Home Order extended 

As you are aware, last week the Premier announced anextension to the province-wide Stay-at-Home order by an additional two weeks until May 20 and that as of Monday, April 19, 2021, capacity for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies is limited to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions are not permissible at this time and that residents should only leave their home for essential reasons – and that socializing with others is not one of them. Gatherings can still happen with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation. You can always stay connected via video or phone with friends and family outside your household or those who may have limited support. 

Please consult the Province’s COVID-19: enhanced public health and workplace safety measures page, as well as the City of Ottawa: City news page for the latest updates.  

Families can still go to the park! 

While most of the City of Ottawa’s recreation amenities are closed under the Province’s Stay-at-Home Order, residents are still allowed to take walks, runs or cycle through parks and available greenspace. A reminder that everyone must keep at least two-metres (6 feet) of physical distance from others when using these spaces including off-leash dog parks and benches, unless they are part of your household. OPH highly recommends that anyone who can wear a mask, always wear one when going to the park. 

We understand the benefits of outdoors spaces and that for many residents, being able to spend time outside is important, especially for children and those who are isolated at home. While we are excited that greenspace is still accessible and that children can still use playground structures, additional measures are needed so everyone can do it safely. On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, issued an Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act that requires everyone to wear masks at or within five metres of playground equipment and that includes: 

• Play structures 

• Swings 

• Slides 

• Climbers 

• Sand boxes 

Of note, this masking requirement does not apply to an individual younger than two (2) years of age, or a child who is under five (5) years of age chronologically or developmentally, and who refuses to wear a mask and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver.  

OPH would like to remind parents and guardians to ensure that children using playground structures, swings and slides wear masks and as much as possible, maintain physical distance from other children. We know this can be challenging for them, but we ask that everyone do the best that they can. As community transmissions is on the rise, protecting the health and safety of all Ottawa residents remains our goal. Everyone is encouraged to find activities that promote positive mental health and well-being, but to do it safely to protect yourself, your family and vulnerable members of the community. 

Want to know more about what is happening in our city and receive the latest updates?  Sign up here to receive City of Ottawa news via e-mail. You can pick which topics you would like to receive, for example: Covid-19 vaccine updates, City news, etc. 


Vaccine update – eligibility expanded 

As per Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, starting Tuesday, April 20, 2021, Ontario will offer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at select pharmacies and primary care settings across the province. OPH strongly encourages that anyone who is eligible for the vaccine, make an appointment to receive it.  

For more information please visit OPH’s COVID-19 Vaccine website and the Ontario’s provincial website for more information. 


Mental health support and services 

We know the changes we’ve all had to make are hard. It’s important to be mindful of your mental health. There are many great resources available for support and help, here are a few:   

·        Mental Health and COVID-19 OPH webpage 

o   Mental health and COVID resource list (PDF): includes the crisis lines and mental health counselling agencies available in Ottawa 

·        Resources for Those Pregnant and Parenting 

·        Multilingual Resources for Diverse Communities 


The Government of Canada recently shared the Wellness Together Canada online portal where people of all ages can access free, immediate, and confidential mental health and substance use supports available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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