Kanata North COVID-19 Update October 8

As we head into the Thanksgiving long weekend, I am reflecting on the many things that I am grateful for. I am grateful for my health and that of my family, and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to be Kanata North’s City CouncillorI consider myself incredibly lucky.  

Unfortunately, living with COVID-19 has created a lot of change for us, including how we celebrate holidays. With the rapidly increasing number of people infected with COVID-19, encourage you to celebrate with only those in your household to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

We must continue to do our part to slow the transmission of COVID-19. It is important we do everything we can to keep COVID out of our schools, or we face the possibility of more closures and restrictionsOur actions now will directly impact the future. Let’s work together. We can get through this. 

 

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 monitor closely: 

  • 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 764 new confirmed positive cases: 
      • Friday + 142 
      • Saturday + 96 
      • Sunday + 82 
      • Monday + 81 
      • Tuesday + 63 
      • Wednesday + 117 
      • Thursday + 183 
    • Sadly, there were 7 deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 5,153 individuals with COVID-19 infections and tragically 296 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 32 individuals in hospital and 7 people in the intensive care unit (ICU). There has been a cumulative total of 344 individuals hospitalized and 78 people admitted into the ICU since the beginning of the pandemic.    
  • Outbreaks   
    • Currently, in Ottawa, there are 65 ongoing outbreaks. This is crucially important information as these are very high-risk locations. These include areas like long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, schools, and childcare centres. 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, 14% 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 55%, due to the high number of cases and number of individuals getting tested. Additionally, it’s also important that contacts of those cases are reached within 24 hours and this is being done 73% of the time. If the number of individuals infected with COVID-19 continues to increase, the amount of resources available to OPH will not be sufficient to continue contact tracing.  
  • Number of Contacts Per Infected Cases  
    • Currently, the average is 5.9, 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 continues to increase 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 since the last update is 0.85 with an upper bound of 0.92. Meaning that it would not take a lot of work for infections to come down. However, the converse is true, where infections could quickly rise. 

City Updates 

  • Influenza symptoms are very similar to COVID-19 symptoms and both have the same methods of transmission. With COVID-19 circulating within our community, it is more important than ever to get your flu shot. This will help with testing and hospital capacity. In anticipation for the higher demand, OPH has begun to implement a flu season preparedness plan. The plan includes obtaining extra resource capacity, mobile clinics and hiring of additional staff is planned to meet expected demand. OPH is working closely with group homes, hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes to distribute doses and establish mobile and stationary clinics to support residents who face barriers to accessing the vaccine. Local clinics and pharmacies will be offering the vaccine in the coming weeks. 
  • This year, Ottawa residents have three options for obtaining their flu shot:  
    • OPH-run public influenza clinics in fixed locations. To avoid crowding and to control the flow of clients in and out of these locations, the clinics will be by appointment. 
    • Joint “OPH-community physician” clinics will be established for primary care providers to immunize their patients. This collaboration is to address challenges some primary care providers are identifying with limitations to their office’s ability to handle influenza immunization in the time of COVID-19, such as adequate physical space for post-vaccine monitoring.   
    • Pharmacies will provide flu vaccines to Ottawa residents 5 years and older, including the high-dose vaccine that is publicly funded for seniors.   
    • COVID-19 has had a large impact on local businesses. Many Kanata North businesses have made changes to adhere to OPH’s health and safety guidelines. Recognizing this, the city has launched the COVID Wise Together campaign to support businesses that have implemented measures and promote their efforts to prevent transmission of COVID–19 in our local businesses. You can find more details of what the campaign entails on my website. 
  • OPH has provided updated data on the Snapshot of COVID-19 across Ottawa wards map. It is important to note that COVID-19 is in all communities, and the ward data shows the place of residence of individuals with confirmed COVID-19 and does not necessarily reflect where the disease was contracted. 
  • OPH shared another real-life example of community transmission. In September, an individual with mild symptoms attended a wedding. 15 days later, 207 people were self-isolating and required testing. Children missed school, their parents couldn’t work, and testing lines were longer. This example shows how easily and quickly COVID-19 can be transmitted and spread 

Provincial Update 

  • Starting on October 3, targeted measures were implemented in Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto as a result of their higher than average rates of COVID-19 transmission: 
    • Setting an indoor capacity limit to restrict occupancy at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments to the number of patrons who can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other patron, to a maximum of 100 patrons, permitting no more than six patrons per table, requiring operators to ensure patrons lining up or congregating outside of their establishment maintain physical distancing, and mandating that the name and contact information for each patron be collected. 
    • Restricting group exercise classes at gyms and other fitness settings to 10 individuals, as well as restricting the total number of people allowed at these facilities to a maximum of 50. 
    • Setting a limit on the number of people allowed at meeting and event facilities, including banquet halls, to six people per table and 50 people per facility. 

Have a safeCOVIDWise, and Happy Thanksgiving Kanata North! 

Take care, 

Jenna Sudds