Kanata North COVID-19 Update September 10

Today, we recognize World Suicide Prevention Day. COVID-19 has created additional challenges for many. Suicide prevention is complex; however, it can start with one good thing. Today, I encourage us all to come together to support each other through these difficult times. It’s okay to not be okay, please reach out to the many community resources available should you need help 

This week was a busy week for many as students headed back to school. I hope that, whether starting in-class or online, all students have a great and safe return to school! I am concerned with the growing number of people who have tested positive for the virus in our community. As a parent myself, I know that this is stressful for families. We must all work together to keep infections low within our community. The best way to limit exposure to COVID-19 is to continue to follow Ottawa Public Health’s advice of practicing physical distancing, limiting close contacts to your immediate family, frequent hand washing, and mask use in situations where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain. I know we can do this together Kanata North! 

COVID-19 Dashboard 
Every day, Ottawa 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 144 new confirmed positive cases: 
      • Saturday + 33 
      • Sunday + 21 
      • Monday + 25  
      • Tuesday + 36 
      • Wednesday + 17 
      • Thursday + 12 
    • There were no deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 3,163 cases and 267 deaths. 
  • Hospitalizations   
    • This is an important metric to understand the capacity and demand that hospitals are facing. Currently, there are 12 people in hospital and one in the intensive care unit (ICU). There have been a cumulative total 291 hospitalized and 68 in the ICU.    
  • Outbreaks   
    • Currently in Ottawa, there are 15 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 ongoing 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, 11% 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 85% of the time. This is lower than last week, however OPH has said they are working on implementing new strategies such as hiring students, to increase contact tracing, and do have surge capacity. 
  • Number of Contacts Per Infected Cases  
    • Currently, the average is 4.1, an increase from last week. This is the average number of people that have been in contact with an individual who has test positive for the virus. 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.   

Supplemental Reports 

This is another group of reports that OPH provides regularly throughout the week. I specifically monitor the epidemiological report. You can find the reports here. These reports provide information on the nature and source of infections in our city. The latest report, provided on Sept 8, 2020, provides the following information: 

  • Last week, the number of reported cases (136 from August 31 to September 6) was higher than the previous week (125 from August 24 to August 30).  
  • In the past week, there was a surge in the rate of cases reported among those aged 80 years and older, and 60 to 79 years.  
  • In other age groups (0-19, 20-39, 40- 59), rates remained similar to the past few weeks. 
  • No source was identified for 19% of the 197 non-institutionalized cases with episode dates during August 23 – September 5, 2020. This has decreased slightly since last week; these cases are considered community acquired.  
  • Six new cases were hospitalized in the past week. A total of 291 (9%) Ottawa residents with confirmed COVID-19 have been hospitalized, including 68 (2%) who were admitted to the ICU.  
  • Three new outbreaks in healthcare settings were declared over the past week – six fewer than the week before.  
  • There were no new outbreaks in childcare establishments and camps in the past week.  
  • There are 4 ongoing outbreaks in childcare establishments and camps. 

City Updates 

    • Yesterday, City Council receivean update regarding the response to COVID-19 in OttawaHere are the top highlights: 
    • Ottawa’s current status is “orange”, which means the situation is serious but there is still capacity within in our health care system to handle additional cases. 
    • New cases have not returned to single digits that we saw in June. 
    • Testing volumes are steady, slight increase in % testing positive
      • Still under 1% on average 
  • Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, described how easily transmission of the virus can happen with the diagram below. She used a real-life example of ten friends going to a cottage with one person infected with the virus. After a few days, other guests at the cottage return home and begin showing symptoms. They then risk transmitting it to other close contacts who may be particularly susceptible to the virus. This shows how one individual has the potential to quickly spread the virus to many people. Keeping our social circles small is the best way to lower the risk of exposure.

  • Yesterday, City Council received an update on the city’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan. City staff are working to support Ottawa businesses through the fall and winter months by: 
    • Approving a motion to extend the temporary zoning amendment that relaxes regulations and waiving fees for restaurant and retail patios until the end of December.  
    • Creating a business support and recovery webpage, encouraging residents to support local businesses, offering temporary property tax deferrals to qualifying property owners, developed a toolkit for safe business reopening, and reduced fees, and accelerated approvals for new patios. 
    • Approving a motion to create a temporary working group that will review governance matters related to the relationship between Business Improvement Areas and the city and look for opportunities to enhance these partnershipsI will be part of this working group.  
  • Earlier this week, OPH released new ward data on confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ottawa. In addition to information on cumulative persons diagnosed with COVID-19 per ward (per 100,000 population), now this data also includes statistics for the last 30 days and the last 14 days. It’s important to note that this is not a map of “COVID-19 hot spots”, but rather a map showing cumulative rates of COVID-19 cases and their distribution by ward. COVID-19 remains present in every single community within Ottawa. Further, this map does not necessarily reflect where the disease was contracted. 
  • Recognizing this is a stressful time for many parents, OPH is here to support families. I have compiled this information in an update that I shared earlier this week, including resources and best practices, when to isolate, and more. Additionally, OPH has established two teams to support schools: 
    • COVID-19 School Support Team (CSST): A team consisting of experienced staff and 45 additional public health nurses (PHN) to be trained on the key areas of focus to support schools. PHNs are providing schools with a checklist to ensure their plans and practices are implemented in a way to meet OPH’s expectations of infection prevention and control. PHNs will also work to support Ottawa’s private schools and Ottawa’s four largest post-secondary institutions.  
    • Neighbourhood Cluster Response Team (NCRT): A team who will work with OPH’s epidemiology team, to identify neighbourhoods with clusters of people diagnosed with COVID-19 and engage in rapid, as well as sustained response to neighbourhood and community clusters. The team will investigate and complete chart reviews to determine common factors, barriers and inequities that are potentially a root cause of greater spread of COVID-19. 
  • As part of the provincial guidelines, outbreaks within a school will be defined as two or more lab-confirmed people diagnosed with COVID-19 in students and/or staff (or other visitors) in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one person diagnosed with COVID-19 could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school. Outbreaks will be considered complete when at least 14 days have passed with no evidence of ongoing transmission that could reasonably be related to exposures in the school. OPH is responsible for: 
    • Investigating clusters of people diagnosed with COVID-19 associated with school locations. 
    • Determining if an outbreak exists, declaring an outbreak, and declaring when the outbreak is over. 
    • Providing guidance and recommendations to the school on outbreak control measures. 
    • Providing recommendations on cohort(s) isolation, and the potential need for full or partial school dismissal based on the scope of an outbreak.  
    • Providing recommendations on who to test, and when to be tested in alignment with the province’s broader testing strategy; where recommended, facilitate a coordinated approach to testing, in collaboration with Ontario Health, including provision of an investigation or outbreak number.  
    • Conducting an on-site investigation as part of the outbreak examination, where necessary, in coordination with the school and board of education (BOE), and other relevant stakeholders. 

Lastly, I encourage everyone to download the new Covid alert app that is available for smart phone users. The app lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus. It is important to note that the more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping the spread of COVID-19. The app notifies users if they have been in close contact with someone who has anonymously disclosed that they have tested positive for COVID-19. Those also using the app who may have been in contact with the individual will receive an exposure alert and can then get tested to prevent them, their families, and their friends from spreading COVID-19 throughout the community. 


Take care Kanata North.  

Please reach out should you need anything.   

Stay safe,  

Jenna Sudds