Kanata North COVID-19 Update February 18 

Good evening Kanata North, 

As the province reopens, I urge you all to please familiarize yourself with the new rules in placeOttawa is in the Orange-Restrict status in the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework. The Orange-Restrict status allows the City of Ottawa to resume some services that were offered before the provincial state-of-emergency orders came into effecthowever, there are still many restrictions to be aware of. 

While this is a step in the right direction in our fight against COVID-19, we must keep our guards up. Please only leave your home for essential trips and avoid unnecessary travel 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.  

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 335 new confirmed positive cases: 
    • Friday + 52 
    • Saturday + 45 
    • Sunday + 52 
    • Monday + 33 
    • Tuesday + 64 
    • Wednesday + 43 
    • Thursday + 46 
    • Sadly, there were 7 deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 14,151 individuals with COVID-19 infections and tragically 435 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 18 individuals in hospital and 3 people in the intensive care unit (ICU). There has been a cumulative total of 698 individuals hospitalized and 149 people admitted into the ICU since the beginning of the pandemic. 
  • Outbreaks 
    • Currently, in Ottawa, there are 29 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. Currently95% of the acute beds are in use. 71% of the ICU beds are in use and 19% 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 1.8%. 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 92%. Additionally, it’s also important that contacts of those cases are reached within 24 hours and this is currently 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 2.3. 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. 
  • Vaccinations    
    • Currently 40,395 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ottawa. A total of 39,100 doses have been received to date. It is important to note that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine inventory is based on an expected 5 dose per vial supply. Occasionally, an additional 6th dose is successfully extracted and administered. 
    • As of February 14, 96.7% of residents in long term care have received their first dosage, 91% have received their second dosage. 

City of Ottawa Updates 

Vaccine distribution  

  • On Sunday, February 14th, the Province issued a memo directing the sequencing of additional Phase 1 priority populations for COVID-19 vaccination, among other things.  
  • A positive change in the updated sequencing plan is that adults aged 80 and over are now among the priority groups to be offered COVID-19 vaccines as part of Phase 1 of the provincial rollout plan, as supply is available 
  • Previously, older adults were in Phase 2. This is excellent news given older adults are at greater risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection.  
  • Also included in Phase 1 are highest priority health care workers set out in provincial guidance, residents of congregate care settings for seniors, Indigenous adults, among others. 
  • Right now, it is important to note that current vaccine supply does not allow for the immediate vaccination of older adults. 
  • More information, including the location of future community clinics and other logistical considerations will be provided at Council at its regular meeting of Wednesday, February 24th. 
  • This week, the focus will be to continue to offer vaccines to other high priority groups, including second doses for workers and caregivers of long-term care homes. For regularly updated vaccination statistics, please consult the Ottawa Public Health Daily COVID-19 Dashboard. 

Reopening Businesses 

  • What does the Orange-Restrict status mean for businesses? I have shared details on my blog, which can be found here. 
  • If you’re a business owner, I suggest you to check out the city’s business reopening toolkit. This page contains many useful resources to help you safely reopen your business. 

Federal Updates 

  • The emergence and spread of certain SARS-CoV-2 virus variants is a cause for concern. Over the past week (Feb 7-13), an average of 101,072 tests were completed daily across Canada, of which 3.1% were positive for COVID-19.  
  • As of February 17, all provinces have reported detections of variants of concern. Although it is normal for variants to emerge as viruses continuously evolve, some variants are considered “variants of concern” because they spread more easily, some may cause more severe illness, or current vaccines may be less effective against them. Hence, we need to maintain the strictest vigilance in our public health measures and individual practices to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Thank you for your continued efforts to flatten the curve, Kanata North. 

Stay home. Stay safe. Be COVIDWise. 

Take care, 

Jenna Sudds