Eligibility expands for the COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 variants in Ottawa: Five stories to watch this week

OTTAWA — Transit workers, grocery store and pharmacy workers and restaurant employees become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and back to school in the Outaouais for the first time in a month.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in the national capital region this week.

Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout will continue this week, with thousands of residents becoming eligible to book an appointment through Ontario’s online booking system.

Here is a look at who will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment the week of May 10:

  • Individuals 40 and older
  • Individuals with at-risk health conditions
  • Group 2 of “cannot work from home”

Individuals who cannot work from home that will be eligible include OC Transpo and Para Transpo workers and workers in grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants.

The Ontario government has not announced the specific day when the online booking portal will open to individuals in the three groups.

The city of Ottawa also plans to hold drop-in clinics for residents in the following neighbourhoods:

  • Parkwood Hills
  • Carlington
  • Bayshore/Belltown

As of Friday, 43 per cent of Ottawa residents over the age of 18 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine in Ottawa

COVID-19 VARIANTS

All eyes will be on Ottawa’s COVID-19 case counts, after confirmation of two variants circulating in Ottawa.

On Wednesday, Ottawa Public Health reported three cases of the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant, which was first identified in India.  Medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said all three cases were linked to travel, and no close contacts had tested positive.

On Saturday, two cases of the new P.1 COVID-19 variant were confirmed in Ottawa, first identified in Brazil. No other details were released.

The B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, has been the dominant variant in Ottawa, with 4,478 confirmed cases.

Elementary school students in Gatineau and western Quebec return to class on Monday for the first time since the start of April.

Premier Francois Legault says elementary schools can reopen, but special emergency measures keeping many businesses closed will remain in effect.  An 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect for Gatineau and high schools remain closed until further notice.

The Quebec government ordered the closure of schools on April 1 to limit the spread of COVID-19 as cases increased in the Outaouais. 

Quebec school

OTTAWA CITY COUNCIL MEETS

Coun. Jeff Leiper suggests Wednesday’s Council meeting “could be a short meeting.”

Council will approve new speed zones in Lowertown, Sandy Hill and Vanier and receive an update on the Auditor General’s reports.

Ottawa City Hall

CANADIAN TULIP FESTIVAL

For the second straight year, the Canadian Tulip Festival will be a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular festival is a celebration of the gift of tulips and Canada’s role in the liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War.

You can take a virtual walking tour of the tulips and participate in other events online.

The festival runs from May 14 to 24. For more information, visit www.tulipfestival.ca

Tulips bloom in Ottawa

EVENTS HAPPENING IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK

MONDAY

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands in Ottawa and across Ontario the week of May 10. The specific date for the expanded eligibility has not been announced. 

TUESDAY

Ottawa Built Heritage Sub-Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.

Ottawa Public Library Board meeting – 5 p.m.

Ottawa Carleton District School Board meeting – 7 p.m.

Ottawa Catholic School Board meeting – 7 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

Ottawa City Council meeting – 10 a.m.

Ottawa Senators host Toronto Maple Leafs. 8 p.m. on TSN 5.

THURSDAY

Ottawa Planning Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.

FRIDAY

Canadian Tulip Festival kicks off

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