Good evening Kanata North,
Ottawa continues to be in the Orange-Restrict status in the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework. Yesterday, Dr. Vera Etches and Chief Anthony Di Monte briefed Council on the latest details on vaccine rollout. I’ve shared details on my website, which are available here. Due to a recent rise in cases and other related metrics, Dr. Etches shared that it is possible that the Province could move Ottawa backwards into the Red-Control status next week. Should this be the case, stricter COVID-19 restrictions would be put in place once again. The Province is reviewing regions bi-weekly, and I will let our community know should this change occur.
Now is not the time to let our guard down. Dr. Etches is asking us to stay the course. 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.
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 370 new confirmed positive cases:
- Friday + 59
- Saturday + 67
- Sunday + 53
- Monday + 32
- Tuesday + 47
- Wednesday + 50
- Thursday + 62
- Sadly, there were 4 deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 14,532 individuals with COVID-19 infections and tragically 439 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 21 individuals in hospital and 8 people in the intensive care unit (ICU). There has been a cumulative total of 717 individuals hospitalized and 156 people admitted into the ICU since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Currently, in Ottawa, there are 34 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, 100% of the acute beds are in use. 75% of the ICU beds are in use and 31% 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 2.1% 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 aren’t quite meeting this at 89%. 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 5.8. 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.
- Currently 48,278 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ottawa. A total of 57,820 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.
- Earlier this week, 100% of all eligible residents in Ottawa’s 82 retirement homes received their first dose of the vaccine.
- With more people turning to the outdoors to stay active, I have been receiving many emails with suggestions of how to do so safely:
- The Beaver Pond and surrounding trails have been very popular this winter. Please make sure you move aside to give others using the trail 2 metres of space to pass, and consider wearing a mask if this is difficult.
- For those using the golf course, please know that there are many skiers, snowshoers, and walkers enjoying this greenspace. Please ensure physical distancing, wear a mask if necessary, and when walking or snowshoeing, try to stay off the ski tracks so these can be enjoyed by the skiers.
City of Ottawa Updates
- 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 all older adults age 80+, this will likely take place later in March. Older adults age 80+ in certain high-risk communities will be eligible for vaccination starting March 5th.
- More information, including the location of future community clinics and other logistical considerations were provided to Council yesterday. You can read about this on my website here.
- The Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team (AIFHT) in Ottawa has begun vaccinating one of the country’s highest risk populations. The first COVID-19 vaccines were given on Wednesday February 17, 2021, at the Inuit Health Centre’s facility in Ottawa.
How do Inuit book an appointment?
- Call Akausivik at 613-740-0999
When is it open?
- Clinic/appointment hours 10:30am to 4:30pm Monday-Friday
Who is eligible?
- All Inuit adults, including family and caregivers Starting with aged 55 and older, and those at risk
- 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.
- 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.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 855,126 cases of COVID-19, including 21,807 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. They also tell us, together with results of serological studies, that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. As well, the emergence and spread of certain SARS-CoV-2 virus variants is an additional cause for concern.
- As of February 24th, a total of 895 variants of concern have been reported across Canada, including over 854 B.1.1.7 variants, 40 B.1.351 variants and 1 P.1 variant.
Thank you for your continued efforts to flatten the curve, Kanata North. I urge you to please continue to stay the course. We can do this.
Stay home. Stay safe. Be COVIDWise.