Good evening Kanata North,
Ottawa remains in the Orange – Restrict zone according to the latest trends in our monitoring indicators. Our collective goal is to reduce COVID-19 rates to be able to move to fewer restrictions under the provincial framework and less pressure on the healthcare system. However, rates are no longer decreasing, and we are close to “red” zone thresholds. The wastewater signal in particular has been increasing for over a week, suggesting more people are spreading the virus, likely unknowingly posing a risk of transmission to others. The Province is reviewing zones bi-weekly, and I will keep our community informed should changes occur.
Yesterday, Dr. Vera Etches and Chief Anthony Di Monte briefed the city on the latest details on vaccine rollout. I’ve shared details on my website, which are available here.
As we wait for more vaccines, we see the presence of more transmissible variants in Ottawa. The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 who have been confirmed by genetic sequencing to have a variant of concern remains 10. However, the number that have screened positive for an initial genetic indicator of a variant of concern has increased over the month to 73 now. These screen positives are likely to be confirmed as a variant of concern when the genetic sequencing is complete, which could bring the total to as high as 83 people with a variant of concern. The stricter we are with our preventive behaviours, the better we can avoid a rapid rise in all types of COVID-19.
All of us – including those who have been vaccinated – need to keep up with the measures we know stop transmission: sticking with your household contacts, maintaining a distance from others, wearing a mask, and washing your hands. If you do decide to visit with people outside of your household, there are ways to reduce the risk of transmission: stay outdoors, maintain a safe distance, wear a mask, and keep visits short.
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 441 new confirmed positive cases:
- Friday + 60
- Saturday + 73
- Sunday + 52
- Monday + 53
- Tuesday + 64
- Wednesday + 59
- Thursday + 80
- Sadly, there were 3 deaths this week. This brings the cumulative total to 14,950 individuals with COVID-19 infections and tragically 442 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 27 individuals in hospital and 4 people in the intensive care unit (ICU). There has been a cumulative total of 738 individuals hospitalized and 157 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, 99% of the acute beds are in use. 72% of the ICU beds are in use and 20% 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 are meeting this at 91%. Additionally, it’s also important that contacts of those cases are reached within 24 hours and this is currently being done 84% 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 2.9 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 54,345 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ottawa. A total of 61,820 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.
City of Ottawa Updates
- A reminder to parents and guardians that daily screening is still required before sending children to school. If your child, or anyone in the household, has one symptom of COVID-19, testing is strongly encouraged. And before and after school and on weekends, all family members will help prevent COVID-19 transmission by limiting close contacts with people outside of your household.
- It is important to note that current vaccine supply does not allow for the immediate vaccination of all older adults age 80+, although this is planned to take place later in March. Older adults age 80+ in certain high-risk communities are eligible for vaccination starting tomorrow, March 5th.
- OPH has prepared a COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Screening Tool, an online tool to see whether or not you are currently eligible to receive a vaccine.
- After using this tool, if you are eligible, please call 613-691-5505 to book your appointment.
- Service providers can take your call between 7:30 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday.
- Service is available in multiple languages.
- Walk-ins will not be accepted, so please call in advance to book your appointment.
- Do not call this phone number unless you are eligible for vaccination.
- Para Transpo can be called to transport eligible residents to COVID-19 vaccination sites by reservation, at 613-842-3600.
- COVID-19 has had a significant impact on Ottawa’s shelter system, with one quarter of the clients, about 220 people, having tested positive for the virus since mid-January. As a result, the city has moved ahead to vaccinate at six shelters. The shelters receiving the first dose of the vaccine at this time include:
- The Ottawa Mission
- Shepherds of Good Hope
- Salvation Army – Ottawa Booth Centre
- Cornerstone Housing for Women
- Physical Distancing Centre – Dempsey Community Centre
- Physical Distancing Centre – 75 Nicholas Street
- For regularly updated vaccination statistics, please consult the Ottawa Public Health Daily COVID-19 Dashboard.
- Please note that when more vaccine supply is available, there is a plan to open a vaccination site in Kanata at the Eva James Community Centre, as well as at Queensway Carleton Hospital. I will provide updates on this when they become available.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will both be maintained at their current levels until June.
Thank you for your continued efforts to flatten the curve, Kanata North. I am proud of our community and our resilience throughout this pandemic. Your kindness and generosity, towards neighbours and strangers alike, continues to amaze me.
Stay home. Stay safe. Be COVIDWise.