Kanata North COVID-19 Update January 21

Good evening Kanata North, 

The province-wide stay-at-home order is still in full effect. Schools remain closed as do non-essential businesses. Please continue to stay home, only leave your home for essential trips, and limit your social interaction to those in your household. When in public, practice safe physical distancing, wash your hands regularly, and always wear a face covering—even when outdoors, if you find yourself in a crowded area 

Despite some delays in supply, the COVID-19 vaccine is gradually becoming more accessible. Vaccine distribution is currently prioritized to high-risk members of our community, such as those in long term care and their caregivers. More updates to come on the availability of the vaccine. 

Please continue to distance and be socially considerate. As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to be mindful of your mental health. Take the time you need to get outdoors and enjoy the winter weather, but do so with caution and consideration. Avoid busy places like rinks, crowded footpaths, and tobogganing hills. 

Thank you for your continued efforts to flatten the curve. Stay healthy, safe and be COVIDwise. 

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 826 new confirmed positive cases: 
  • Friday + 142 
  • Saturday + 118 
  • Sunday + 78 
  • Monday + 65 
  • Tuesday + 81 
  • Wednesday + 162
  • Thursday + 180 
  • Sadly, there were 17 deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 12,674 individuals with COVID-19 infections and tragically 415 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 38 individuals in hospital and 7 people in the intensive care unit (ICU). There has been a cumulative total of 618 individuals hospitalized and 134 people admitted into the ICU since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Outbreaks 

  • Currently, in Ottawa, there are 44 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. Currently, 98% of the acute beds are in use. 81% of the ICU beds are in use and 28% 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 3.5%. 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 not meeting this at 75%. Additionally, it’s also important that contacts of those cases are reached within 24 hours and this is currently being done 88% 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 1.3. 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 

  • On Tuesday, I shared a Vaccine Distribution Update on my blog that was received from Anthony Di Monte, General Manager of Emergency and Protective Services, and Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health. Important updates included: 
  • Since the week of December 14, 2020, TOH has been receiving a steady supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; however, on January 15 the Federal Government announced a temporary delay in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments and the anticipated shortage will result in an average of 50 per cent of doses delayed over the next month. While shipments will continue in the coming weeks, the City of Ottawa will receive fewer doses than previously anticipated. 
  • To date, Ottawa has not received any of the Moderna vaccine. 
  • According to data from the Ottawa Hospital, 22,425 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been received and 21,938 doses have been administered to date. 
  • The supply for this week will be used to administer second doses to ensure that those individuals who have received the first round of vaccinations become immunized, as directed by the Province.  
  • The total amount of vaccine that will be distributed to the City of Ottawa next week, as well as following weeks, and precise delivery dates are not yet known. These decisions are also made by the Province. 
  • Long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents and their essential caregivers, who have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, will receive their second dose in 21 to 27 days. Staff who were vaccinated in the homes at the same time as the residents will follow the same schedule. 
  • All other recipients of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine must receive their second dose after 21 days and before 42 days. 
  • The city is holding a Virtual Vaccination Technical Briefing next Tuesday at 9 am with Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the Ottawa Public Health Board, Anthony Di Monte, General Manager of Emergency and Protective Services, and Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health, to outline Ottawas plans and readiness for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Residents are invited to watch the briefing on the city’s YouTube channel 
  • It is important to continue to screen children each day, even when the stay-at-home order is in effect, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. On Monday, Ottawa Public Health issued a guide for testing children for COVID-19. If your child shows one of the following symptoms they should be tested immediately at one of Ottawa’s Assessment Centres: 
    • fever or chills (temperature of 37.8 or greater)  
    • cough (more than usual if chronic cough)  
    • difficulty breathing  
    • decrease or loss of smell or taste  
    • runny nose or stuffy nose 
    • sore throat or difficulty swallowing  
    •  nausea, vomiting or diarrhea  
    • headache  
    •  unusual or extreme tiredness or muscle aches 

Provincial Updates 

  • As announced yesterday, over 100,000 Ontario students return to class next week. Ottawa, unfortunately, was not on the list. The press release can be found here. 
  • The Ontario government issued a reminder for residents to only leave home when necessary to pick up essential items, attend a medical appointment, exercise or go to work if you can’t work remotely. 
  • Ontario has reached a key milestone in the fight against COVID-19, completing the first round of vaccinations ahead of schedule in all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex, the four regions with the highest COVID-19 transmission rates. The first round of vaccinations has also been administered at all long-term care homes in the Ottawa Public Health Region, Durham Region and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. More details can be found here 
  • The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, is holding a Regional Business Support Townhall for Ottawa businesses and entrepreneurs on February 1 at 10 am. The townhall will feature an overview of supports available to businesses and a walk-through on how to access and navigate the application portal for Ontario’s Small Business Support Grant. Please RSVP online by 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 31. 

Please continue to shop local in any way you can to help support our local small business community. Every little bit helps! 

Stay home. Stay safe. Be COVIDWise. 

Take care, 

Jenna Sudds