Kanata North COVID-19 Update September 3

This week, we continued to see a rise in COVID-19 case numbers. As your Councillor, as a community member, and a mother, this is concerning. With school about to get underway, our Medical Officer of Health, Doctor Vera Etches, has stated that it is expected that we will see cases within our schools. Now is the time to do our part, to make schools as safe as possible, and to limit the spread of this virus. We have seen the positive effects of following health and safety guidelines, we have worked as a community to control the case numbers before, and we must continue to do so. 

COVID-19 Dashboard 
Every dayOttawa Public Health (OPH) publishes a dashboard that is updated with the latest information. You can view it on this website. It includes many metrics. In addition to case counts, here is just a sample of the metrics I closely monitor: 

  • Case Numbers 
    • This metric is the number of confirmed positive cases in our city that have been identified through testing. This metric is important to the overall picture of COVID-19 in our community. However, it’s important to know that testing can only capture a sample of the true infection rates in our community. Over the last week we saw the 99 new confirmed positive cases: 
      • Saturday + 20 
      • Sunday + 16 
      • Monday + 21
      • Tuesday + 8 
      • Wednesday + 12 
      • Thursday + 22 
    • Sadly, there was also one death this week. This brings the cumulative total to 3,009 cases and 267 deaths. 
  • Hospitalizations   
    • This is an important metric to understand the capacity and demand that hospitals are facing. Currently there are 11 people in hospital and one in the intensive care unit (ICU). There have been a cumulative total 285 hospitalized and 68 in the ICU.    
  • Outbreaks   
    • Currently in Ottawa, there are 18 ongoing outbreaks. This is crucially important information as these are very high-risk locations. These include areas like long-term care homes, retirement homes, and hospitals. COVID-19 can spread quickly in these high-risk locations and it is important we do everything we can to minimize the spread in these areas. This includes two Kanata North outbreaks, at the Forest Hill Long Term Care Home and the Timberwalk Retirement Community.  
  • Health Care System Capacity  
    • The more COVID-19 cases we have in our city, the more hospitalizations we might have, which can lead to a reduction in capacity in our health care system. This is especially important as we approach flu season. The Health Care System Capacity section shows the amount of health care systems that are being occupied. Currently, 10% of the ICU ventilator beds are in use.   
  • Public Health   
    • It’s very important that OPH’s case workers can reach individuals confirmed with COVID-19 within 24 hours of being reported to them. The goal is to do this 90% of the time and currently they are exceeding this at 94%, an increase from last week. Additionally, it’s also important that contacts of those cases are reached within 24 hours and this is being done 92% of the time. This metric has been lower in the past but OPH continues to do work to increase it.  
  • Number of Contacts Per Infected Cases  
    • Currently, the average is 3.6, an increase from last week. This is the average number of people that have been in contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case. This number is of importance because the higher the number, the more opportunities the virus has to spread in our community. The lower the number, the easier it is to identify close contacts and mitigate further spread of the virus. In recent weeks, the number has increased as reopenings continue to move forward. The most effective way you can have a positive impact on this metric is by following the guidance of OPH and maintain physical distancing whenever possible, washing your hands, and wearing a mask.   

City Updates 

  • COVID-19 has financially impacted many, including the City of Ottawa. On Tuesday, the city’s Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) received an update on the economic impact of the pandemic. Because of our city’s stable government employment, increased government spending during the pandemic, and a robust technology sector, Ottawa’s economy has suffered less than most Canadian cities. However, tourism, Ottawa’s third largest economic driver, is one of the most affected sectors, with an estimated $1.4-billion decrease in visitor spending this year. To help support economic recovery the city has: 
    • Created a business support and recovery webpage 
    • Encouraged residents to support local businesses 
    • Offered temporary property tax deferrals to qualifying property owners 
    • Developed a toolkit for safe business reopening 
    • Reduced fees and accelerated approvals for new patios 
    • Encouraged residents to explore rural wards 
  • Last week at City Council, the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-Law was extended to include common spaces in apartments and condominiums until the end of October. Council will review the by-law again and prolong if necessary. Here is some information on masks you should know: 
    • Enforcement: The goal for the City of Ottawa is to educate and inform residents about the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law and to encourage residents to wear masks voluntarily. Calling for a By-law Enforcement Officer should be a last resort. Enforcement of the by-law can include penalties through ticketing if necessary, when a warning is not deemed sufficient, particularly with repeat offenders.  
    • Businesses: To ensure customers and clients are aware of the Temporary Mandatory Masking By-law, you can print a sign for your business or building and access additional workplace guidance and resources.  
    • Litter: Disposing of items such as masks, gloves, and wipes properly helps to keep our city clean and our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Always wash your hands after handling these items. If you are out in public and no garbage cans are available, please keep these items with you until you can place them securely into a garbage can.   
  • There have been adjustments made to the city’s Before and After School Programs (BASP) to better align with each School Board’s plan to reopen and the changes of opening dates. The start of the BASP will be pushed back until October 5. Additionally, less than eight percent of the spots available have been filled. Staff will be working on plans to better serve families for this coming year. There is flexibility to start programs earlier if needed. 
  • Due to Labour Day Long Weekend, there will be some adjustments to city services, including OPH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre and Care Clinics: 
    • The Moodie Care Clinic will be open during regular hours, from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. 
    • The Heron Care Clinic will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 pm. 
    • The Brewer Assessment Centre will be closed. 
    • Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 phone line at 613-580-6744 will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.  
  • As students head back to school, I recognize this year will be different. Usually at this time of year, it’s an exciting time for post-secondary students to start a new chapter by making new friends and attending new schools. This week, Dr. Vera Etches shared good information for students that are heading back to school including gatherings, increase of cases, guidance if someone you know tests positive, and more. You can find her full update here. The most important thing to remember as we start a new school year is that we can control the number of cases in the community by following the guidance from Ottawa Public Health. Be COVIDwise: 
    • W– Wear a mask in public and common spaces, or at any time you cannot maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet). 
    • I– Isolate yourself from others when you are sick (and get tested promptly if you have COVID-like symptoms).  
    • S– Stay two metres (six feet) apart from those outside of your small social bubble.   
    • E– Exercise proper hand hygiene; wash your hands regularly and use sanitizer especially before touching your face. 

Federal Updates 

  • Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced new information regarding a potential COVID-19 vaccine. An agreement has been reached with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax to procure millions of doses of experimental COVID‑19 vaccines. This is in addition to the agreement previously reached with Pfizer and Moderna, which were made following the recommendations of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. With these agreements in place, Canada has now secured access to four of the leading vaccine candidates. The government will continue to negotiate and sign other agreements with a number of leading pharmaceutical companies, to ensure the supply of potential vaccines in Canada. 

Take care Kanata North.  

Please reach out should you need anything.   

Stay safe,  

Jenna Sudds