COVID-19 levels remain high in Ottawa as indicators decline

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa recorded three new COVID-19 deaths over the past four days.

While many of the key indicators of COVID-19 levels in Ottawa have dropped, public health officials say levels remain high in the community.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says the local vaccination rate of children under five is among the highest in the province.

Earlier this month, the province’s chief medical officer of health said the seventh wave of COVID-19 in Ontario had peaked.

Health officials say the current wave is driven by the BA.5 coronavirus subvariant, and is again straining a health-care system already stretched thin by staff shortages.

Two Ottawa-area hospitals had to close their emergency departments earlier this month.

OPH is asking residents to limit contacts and consider masking in crowded outdoor areas as well as inside, and is asking businesses to consider bringing back policies such as mandatory masks.

The latest Ottawa update

waste water

The average level of coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater remains high. It rose for more than a month starting in early June, but has been dropping since the start of August.

A graph of coronavirus wastewater levels since June 2020. (613covid.ca)

hospitals

Nineteen Ottawa residents have been admitted to a city hospital with COVID-19, according to OPH’s latest update. Two of those patients are in intensive care.

According to OPH, hospitalizations are at a moderate level and decreasing, but aren’t the only factor straining health-care resources.

The hospitalization figures above don’t include all patients. For example, they leave out patients admitted for other reasons who then test positive for COVID-19, those admitted for lingering COVID-19 complications, and those transferred from other health units.

A graphic showing the number of people in Ottawa hospitals.
The hospitalization numbers from Ottawa Public Health updated on Aug. 14. (Ottawa Public Health)

Tests, outbreaks and cases

Testing strategies changed under the Omicron variant, meaning many COVID-19 cases aren’t reflected in current counts. Public health officials now only track and report outbreaks in health-care settings.

Ottawa’s test positivity rate sits around 15 per cent.

There are currently 45 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa. Those include two new outbreaks recorded in the past four days.

OPH reported 237 more cases and three new deaths over the last four days.

A total of 862 Ottawa residents with COVID-19 have died: 381 in 2020, 229 in 2021 and 252 so far this year.

Vaccines

As of the most recent weekly update, 93 per cent of Ottawa residents age five and up had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 89 per cent had at least two.

Sixty-four per cent of Ottawans age 12 and over had at least three doses, and 20 per cent had four.

Across the region

In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (LGL) counties, wastewater levels rose in Brockville and Kemptville for most of July, but have begun to drop somewhat. They’re stable in Smiths Falls and across the Kingston area.

Western Quebec is reporting 95 COVID hospitalizations. Three of those patients are in intensive care.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting 30 COVID hospitalizations, including two patients in intensive care.

That regional total doesn’t include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Its 20 hospitalizations are a slight rise and one patient is in intensive care.

Of the seven local health authorities, three have had more deaths this year than in either 2020 or 2021 — HPE, the Kingston area and Renfrew County. All six in eastern Ontario have more in 2022 than 2021.

Across eastern Ontario, between 81 and 92 per cent of residents age five and up have received at least two vaccine doses, and between 59 and 71 per cent of adults have had at least three.

The total number of vaccine doses given to local residents has passed 5.6 million.

Leave a Comment