Kanata North COVID-19 Update December 17

Good evening Kanata North, 

It’s been a big week! The first COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in our community. As the vaccine brings hope, we can’t let our guard down now though. Let’s work together (while apart) and continue doing everything we can to limit the spread of the virus. 

This is my last COVID-19 update of 2020 as I will be spending some much needed time with my family over the holidays. That being said, should anything urgent come up, I will ensure to share this via my social channels, website and possibly also another emailer if needed. 

If you are ever unsure about the current status of COVID-19 in our community, please visit the Ottawa Public Health website. It’s a great resource with the most up-to-date, reliable information. 

 

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 294 new confirmed positive cases: 
      • Friday + 46 
      • Saturday + 65 
      • Sunday + 28 
      • Monday + 13 
      • Tuesday + 55 
      • Wednesday + 35 
      • Thursday +52  
    • Sadly, there were 5 deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 9,211 individuals with COVID-19 infections and tragically 388 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 23 individuals in hospital and 1 person in the intensive care unit (ICU). There has been a cumulative total of 520 individuals hospitalized and 105 people admitted into the ICU since the beginning of the pandemic. 
  • Outbreaks 
    • Currently, in Ottawa, there are 22 ongoing outbreaks. This is crucially important information as these are locations where transmission can occur quickly. 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. COVID-19 hospitalization numbers have been stable, with only 4 new admissions this past week; however, currently, 98% of the acute beds are in use86% of the ICU beds are in use and 27% of ICU ventilator beds are in use. This is a measure of the entire health care system.  
  • % Positivity Rate 
    • This is the percent of all COVID-19 tests processed which result in a positive result for the infection. This is currently at 1.3%. Positivity rate is another metric to show the amount of virus in our community and the lower the number the more likely COVID-19 is spreading slower in our community.  
  • 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 meeting this at 95%. Additionally, it’s also important that contacts of those cases are reached within 24 hours and this is being done 82% of the time. If the number of individuals infected with COVID-19 were 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 5.1. 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. 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.   

 

City Updates 

  • The first COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Ottawa, but what does that mean? 
    • To meet the challenges of the COVID-19 vaccination effort, the city-led task force is taking a one city, one Ottawa approach. The task force includes multiple city services, such as: the Ottawa Paramedic Service, Security and Emergency Management, Ottawa Fire Services, Facilities, IT Services, Community and Social Services/Human Needs Task Force, Procurement, Public Information and Media Relations, HR, Finance, and partners at Ottawa Public Health and The Ottawa Hospital. 
    • Per Provincial direction, this initial supply of vaccine will be offered to health care workers providing care in long-term care facilities. Initial supply will not be enough for all workers in LTCs and Ottawa Public Health is advising The Ottawa Hospital on prioritization with the goal of reducing the risk to vulnerable populations living in LTCs who are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.  
    • For now, the vaccine must be administered at The Ottawa Hospital given the Pfizer vaccine is not currently authorized to be moved.  
    • Vaccination of residents living in LTCs is expected to take place directly at those facilities once this authorization is received and/or as other vaccines are approved by the federal government.  
    • The task force is also identifying additional sites for potential vaccine and equipment storage that will meet specific cold storage and security requirements.  
    • Advanced planning is also in progress for community clinics to ensure readiness for when additional doses of vaccine are available in 2021.  
    • The city’s task force is ready to leverage any municipal resources necessary to ensure that, as vaccines arrive in Ottawa, they are stored, transported and given to residents in a deliberate and orderly fashion in accordance with direction from the Province and in constant collaboration with Ottawa Public Health and acute care partners. 
  • City staff have been meeting weekly with Gatineau officials. The Province of Quebec took a Provincial decision to move to the red (control) zone over the holidays. At current, the bridges will not be policed but the city does recommend against travelling. This situation is fluid and will be revisited by officials as needed. 
  • The city’s COVID-modified Learn to Skate programs will take to the ice in January. Details are available online. 
  • OPH has published guidance for residents on how to safely celebrate the holidays including New Year’s Eve as we welcome the start of 2021. Please be Social Wise to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 
  • Need to decline a COVID-unWise holiday invite? The city has some tips. 
  • Good news! Mayor Jim Watson and Dr. Vera Etches agreed to grant a travel exemption over the holidays to Santa Claus to allow him deliver gifts to households across Ottawa on Christmas Eve. 

 

 Provincial Updates 

  • The Ontario government has developed a three-phase implementation plan to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines. Phase One began on Tuesday, December 15, with a pilot project in Toronto and Ottawa which includes the vaccination of over 2,500 health care workers with the Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 
  • As announced this week, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, updated the province’s testing guidelines for outbound international travellers. Effective immediately, individuals requesting a COVID-19 test for international travel clearance are no longer eligible for a publicly funded COVID-19 test in Ontario. For those needing rapid COVID-19 testing for travel reasons, the Riverside Travel Clinic has begun offering this service today. Other private providers have indicated they are working towards offering this service shortly as well. 

 

Please remember, it is okay to not be okay. The holidays can be a tough time for many, and the pandemic might add extra tension and solitude. Please look out for each other. Virtually, check in on loved ones and reach out to family, friends, and neighbours. And please seek help if needed. You can find available community resources on my website. 

Lastly, I would like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season. 

 

Stay safe. Be COVIDWise. 

Take care, 

Jenna Sudds