Kanata North COVID-19 Update September 24

This week, we saw the largest one-day spike in positive COVID-19 infections since the onset of the pandemic. This is worrisome. Dr. Vera Etches has shared that because of the quick consistent rise in number of infected people in our city, we are in the second wave of the pandemic. 

We know that the rise in positive cases are coming from social gatherings and people not limiting their close contacts. The more people we see, the more likely we are to spread the virus. Keeping our social circles small is the best way to lower the risk of exposure. 

We were able to flatten the curve during the first wave of the pandemic. We know that following Ottawa Public Health’s guidance of wearing a mask, maintaining a 2 metre distance, staying home when sick, and washing your hands regularly can lower the risk of exposure. We are capable of controlling the virus. Let’s work together to reduce our risk of exposure and keep our city safe. 

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 433 new confirmed positive cases: 
      • Friday + 63 
      • Saturday + 55 
      • Sunday + 15 
      • Monday + 60 
      • Tuesday + 93 
      • Wednesday + 65 
      • Thursday +82  
    • Sadly, there were seven deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 3,919 individuals with COVID-19 infections and tragically 280 residents of our city who have died. 
  • Hospitalizations   
    • This is an important metric to understand the capacity and demand that hospitals are facing. Currently, there are 14 individuals in hospital and 3 people in the intensive care unit (ICU). There has been a cumulative total of 305 individuals hospitalized and 73 people admitted into the ICU.    
  • Outbreaks   
    • Currently in Ottawa, there are 35 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.  
  • 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 not meeting this at 76%, due to the high number of cases. Additionally, it’s also important that contacts of those cases are reached within 24 hours and this is being done 87% of the time. This is lower than last week, however OPH is working with Provincial partners to increase capacity. 
  • Number of Contacts Per Infected Cases  
    • Currently, the average is 5.2, an increase from last week. This is the average number of people that have been in contact with an individual who has tested 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 some individuals have had private gatherings and unfortunately expanded their social circles, contrary to Ottawa Public Health guidance. The most effective way you can have a positive impact on this metric is by following the guidance of OPH and maintaining physical distancing whenever possible, washing your hands, and wearing a mask.   
  • Reproduction Number R(t):  
    • The reproductive number, R, is the average number of cases caused by an initial infected individual throughout their infectious period. Currently, the 7-day average is 0.93 with an upper bound of 1.04. This means that each new case is responsible on average for creating more than one case and infections are growing. A number less than one means infections are slowing. 

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 September 23, 2020, provides the following information: 

  • There were 385 cases reported last week (September 14 to September 20), representing the highest number of cases reported in a week since the start of the pandemic. It also represents a 58% increase in the number of cases since last week  
  • In the past week, there was a notable increase in the rates of cases reported for all age groups compared to the previous 5 weeks. Rates were highest among those in the 20 to 39-year-old age group, followed by the 0-19 and 80+ years old age groups.  
  • Among school-age children, rates of cases reported continued to be highest among 13 to 19-year-olds (high-school). The rate of reported cases has increased for both 4 to 12 and 13 to 19-year-olds over the past 2 weeks.  
  • No source was identified for 19% of the 522 non-institutionalized cases with episode dates during September 6 – September 12, 2020. This has remained steady over the past few weeks; these cases are considered community acquired.  
  • Hospitalizations have remained steady. Six new cases were hospitalized in the past week. A total of 303 (8%) Ottawa residents with confirmed COVID-19 have been hospitalized, including 73 (2%) who were admitted to the ICU.  
  • There were seven new outbreaks in childcare establishments in the past week – more than double the number reported in the week prior. There are 10 ongoing outbreaks in childcare establishments.  
  • There were 4 outbreaks reported in Ottawa schools, all of which are ongoing. 

 

City Updates 

  • Due to the high increase of positive COVID-19 infectionsDr. Vera Etches invoked a Class Section 22 Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act that requires immediate self-isolation in any of the following circumstances: 
    • Any person that tests positive for COVID-19. 
    • Has signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 
    • Is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 
    • Has been tested for COVID-19. 
    • Is awaiting a test result. 
    • Has reasonable grounds to believe they have COVID-19. 
  • These individuals must remain in isolation for 14 days, unless COVID-19 is ruled out, and they must do everything they can to avoid exposing other people to COVID-19. Failure to comply with this Order could result in a fine of up to $5,000. 
  • Earlier this week, I attended the Board of Health meeting. Dr. Vera Etches provided another real-life example of how easily COVID-19 can spread in our community when we do not follow the social bubble restrictions. 40-person barbeque that was not taking the safety precautions to lower the risk of transmission led to 105 high-risk contacts in schools self-isolating for 14 days and be tested. You can follow the path of transmission in the diagram below.  

  • As part of regional surge response, a two-day drive-thru COVID-19 testing pop-up opened at the Canadian Tire Centre last weekend. The amazing teams completed 2,750 tests and immensely helped with increasing testing capacity. 
  • To help with testing capacity and to ensure we’re getting an accurate result, it is important that we follow Ottawa Public Health’s recommendation for when to visit an assessment centre. Recommendations for testing include:  
    • Anyone showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19.  
    • Asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) persons with close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 positive case:  
    • No earlier than 5 days after initial close contact with a confirmed case.  
    • Even if after waiting 5 days to be tested, the result is negative, it remains important to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days from exposure to the confirmed case. You will be helping to protect others because COVID-19 can develop up to 14 days after exposure even if you receive a negative test result. 
  • Starting tomorrow, you can get COVID-19 tests at local pharmacies. The Klondike Shoppers Drug Mart is the only location in Kanata North. These tests are free and by appointment only for people with no symptoms of COVID-19. 

Lastly, I am happy to see that the government of Ontario is investing more in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. I know, with the second wave and the return to school, this has been an issue in Ottawa. More assessment centre options and more staff should help with capacity and wait times. 

Stay safe, be COVIDWise. 

Take care, 

Jenna Sudds