Good evening Kanata North,
The province-wide stay-at-home order is still in effect; however, it is expected to be lifted next week, on Tuesday February 16. We are awaiting further information from the province on what this means for Ottawa. As soon as more details are available, I will share with the community.
Today, the provincial government announced that March Break is postponed until the week of April 12 in an effort to reduce COVID-19 transmissions and ensure our schools stay open and their students and staff healthy. You can find more details here.
Please continue to stay home, only leave your home for essential trips, and avoid making unnecessary trips farther away. 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.
Thank you for your continued efforts to flatten the curve. With the long weekend approaching, I urge you all to please be cautious, and to stay healthy, safe, and be COVIDwise.
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:
- 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 330 new confirmed positive cases:
- Friday + 73
- Saturday + 62
- Sunday + 34
- Monday + 24
- Tuesday + 44
- Wednesday + 37
- Thursday + 56
- Sadly, there were 6 deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 13,815 individuals with COVID-19 infections and tragically 428 residents of our city who have died.
- This is an important metric to understand the capacity and demand that hospitals are facing. Currently, there are 19 individuals in hospital and 4 people in the intensive care unit (ICU). There has been a cumulative total of 679 individuals hospitalized and 146 people admitted into the ICU since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Currently, in Ottawa, there are 31 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, 97% of the acute beds are in use. 69% of the ICU beds are in use and 32% 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 1.5%. 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.
- 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 90%. Additionally, it’s also important that contacts of those cases are reached within 48 hours and this is currently being done 70% 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 1.5. 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 of Ottawa Updates
Vaccination in long term care homes
- We are still in Phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. This means that due to vaccine availability, we are prioritizing our immunization for those at high-risk, such as people living in long term care homes and their caregivers.
- OPH announced that they’re making progress with immunizing those living in Ottawa’s high-risk long term care homes. There are 84 designated retirement homes in Ottawa. Of these, 37 were identified as being higher risk by Ottawa Public Health. As advised on January 18, one of these 37 retirements homes was offered first dose vaccinations.
- First dose vaccinations in the remaining 36 high-risk retirement homes began on February 7, after the arrival of Moderna vaccines. It will have taken just four days to complete first doses in 36 retirement homes.
- The pace at which these 36 homes received their first round of vaccines is a considerable achievement that speaks both to our city’s enhanced efficiency from experience in the LTCHs and, importantly, increased collaboration as part of our plan with additional local health care.
Vaccination: the next steps
- Second dose vaccinations for LTCH workers and essential caregivers and higher risk health care workers vaccinated at The Ottawa Hospital clinic are ongoing. The timeline for completion of first dose vaccinations in the remaining 47 retirement homes is dependent on vaccine availability.
- Council will continue to be kept apprised of vaccination efforts. For regularly updated vaccination statistics, please consult the Ottawa Public Health Dashboard.
- The completion of first dose vaccinations in high-risk retirement homes is a significant milestone. It will, however, be several months until COVID-19 vaccines are available to the general public. In the meantime, it is essential that we continue to practice public health measures to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community.
- Premier Ford announced Monday that businesses are scheduled to gradually reopen across Ontario, more information should arrive early next week what this will mean for Ottawa.
- If you’re a business owner, I advise you to check out the city’s business reopening toolkit. This page contains many useful resources available to you to help with reopening your business. Non-essential businesses will be able to open at a reduced 25% capacity.
- Ontario’s COVID-19 response is colour coded on a 5-colour scale, this is known as the five zones of public health measures. COVID regulations are determined throughout the province based on regional statistics. Presently in Ottawa we are in the grey, meaning we’re still to follow the stay-at-home protocol. Should Ottawa move into the red or orange zone next week, it would mean our businesses will reopen with regulations specific to whichever zone the city is in. To learn more about the five zones of public health measures visit the Province’s response framework webpage.
- The Province is likely to announce which zone Ottawa will transition to on Friday, February 12.
- We have a few holidays coming up, including the Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day and Family Day. Provincial shutdown measures and the Stay-at-Home order will still apply during these three holidays. I encourage everyone to continue coming up with creative ways to celebrate safely while remaining COVID wise and social wise.
- On Monday, the provincial government announced the extension of the stay-at-home order across most of the province. When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”).
- As announced on Tuesday, the province is providing $12.5 million to local lead agencies to work in partnership with Ontario Health, public health units, municipalities, and other community partners to help high risk neighbourhoods contain the spread of the virus and access services to better protect individuals and families. More details can be found here.
- Today, the provincial government announced its decision to delay March Break in an effort to reduce community transmission of COVID-19. With respect to travel, our government’s position on this is unchanged. Ontarians should refrain from travelling, particularly given the increase in new variants that pose a direct risk to our country. Please stay at home as much as possible and continue following the direction of public health officials so that we can keep schools open and protect our seniors, frontline health workers, and all families.
- On Tuesday, the federal government announced that self-employed individuals who applied for CERB and would have qualified based on their gross income will not be required to repay the benefit, provided they met all other requirements.
With the long weekend ahead of us, please continue to shop local in any way you can to help support our local small business community. Every little bit helps!
Have a happy and safe holiday.
Stay home. Stay safe. Be COVIDWise.