Good evening Kanata North,
It is very encouraging to see the increase in vaccinations across the city! Starting this Thursday, May 6, residents aged 50 and older are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system. Please do not delay getting your vaccine. Vaccines are essential in our fight against COVID-19. Whether it’s Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca, when a vaccine becomes available to you, please take it. Not only do vaccines help protect the individual against COVID-19, but they also help protect those around you. And every single person who gets their vaccine brings us one step closer to community immunity.
Highly transmissible variants continue to spread in Ottawa. We currently have 1,912 active cases in Ottawa, with 1,118 cases reported in the last 7 days. For details, please visit Ottawa Public Health’s Daily COVID-19 Dashboard.
As Dr. Etches shared in her statement from April 30th, the rates of COVID-19 in our community – while stabilizing – are still too high to reopen schools. She believes the current Provincial measures need to remain in place. If the restrictions are lifted too soon, we risk entering another resurgence, and we all know how difficult it has been to recover from these waves.
The Ontario Science Table presented evidence last week that, until more people are vaccinated and COVID-19 levels drop, masks are needed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission outdoors when people are in close contact with people from outside their homes. So please carry a mask with you at all times and wear it when you cannot maintain a distance of two meters from others. Until we are out of the Stay-at-Home Order and the COVID-19 situation improves, please stay with the people you live with outdoors, unless you are single and joining one other household.
Taking these precautions will assist us to lower the level of COVID-19 in Ottawa as quickly as possible while working in tandem with the vaccine rollout. This means fewer restrictions, sooner.
Letter of Instruction for all employers, businesses and organization permitted to be open
In April, Dr. Vera Etches issued an updated Letter of Instruction to all employers, businesses and organizations that are permitted to be open to take additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
These new measures include but are not limited to:
- Increased reporting requirements when two or more people test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day interval in connection to the workplace;
- Ensuring that all employees are aware of any benefits and/or pay to which they may be entitled in the event that they must isolate; and
- Requirements to actively monitor and manage capacity limits in businesses, and physical distancing and masking in outdoor line ups as people wait to access the business. At minimum one staff person must be designated to monitor and manage the applicable capacity limit and verify compliance with the physical distancing and mask-wearing requirements of individuals in line-ups.
Documentation of workplaces to do this, is required in their respective workplace COVID-19 safety plan.
Employer protocol when a staff member tests positive for COVID-19
OPH now has additional guidance for employers to help limit COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. OPH has created two tools for workplaces:
1. the steps to take when a staff member tests positive for COVID-19.
2. a Staff High-Risk Contact Letter which can be forwarded to any identified high-risks contacts. Considering this 3rd wave and Ottawa’s daily case count, OPH is having to prioritize reaching new cases and managing outbreaks. It’s incredibly important to keep in mind that OPH does not have the capacity currently to do contract tracing for workplaces, and community organizations that are not in outbreak.
These new resources are intended to support workplaces to identify which individuals may need to take additional actions (e.g. isolate, get tested).
Ottawa Voluntary Isolation Centre
Ottawa continues to operate a Voluntary Isolation Centre (VIC) for people who do not have access to an adequate shelter or cannot self-isolate safely in their own homes when needed to limit COVID-19 transmission. There are no costs associated to stay at the Centre. This is an opportunity for people to rest and recover, without fear or anxiety of transmitting the virus to their family, loved ones, roommates, and others they live with. Voluntary isolation is a proven way to help reduce the risks of spreading the virus among household contacts.
For more information, please visit OPH’s Ottawa Voluntary Isolation Centre webpage.
High Call & Email Volumes
OPH is still experiencing very high volumes of inquiries directly to staff regarding both the COVID-19 response and the vaccine roll-out. As a result, OPH has compiled some tips to help you get the answers you need in a timelier manner.
- Visit Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 vaccine and City of Ottawa websites for information in advance of reaching out to staff with questions.
- OPH COVID-19 Virtual Assistant, Bruce, is a bot and can help users navigate the website.
- I encourage residents to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccination update e-subscription to receive the City’s PSAs that announce any new information on vaccine eligibility.
- If residents would like to speak to someone about the vaccine, please call OPH at 613-580-6744. For eligibility questions, please refer to the Provincial website, OPH COVID-19 vaccine website and the OPH vaccine eligibility screening tool.
Mental Health Week
Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Week, an important time to check-in with our colleagues, our loved ones, and ourselves.
This pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health. I want you all to remember that it’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to share this with people that you trust.
If your emotions feel intense or overwhelming, please ask for help and consider visiting one of the following resources.
- If you’re struggling with your mental health or substance abuse visit AccessMHA for support and advice.
- For details on mental health and COVID-19, visit the Ottawa Public Health resource page.
- If you’re living in an abusive household, please seek help by contacting Unsafe at Home Ottawa’s text+chat line, 613-704-5535. They offer support in over 70 languages, and it is confidential.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Expanding Provincial Booking Eligibility in May
The Provincial Government has announced that vaccination is accelerating this month. The timeline for vaccine booking eligibility from the Province is looking optimistic, though this is tentative to supply. Here’s the projected expansion of booking eligibility throughout the month of May.
- Week of May 3 : 50 and older
- Week of May 10: 40 and older
- Week of May 17: 30 and older
- Week of May 24: 18 and older
Who is eligible In Ottawa for vaccination under Phase 2?
- Adults 60 years of age and older (Soon to be 50+ on May 6, 2021)
- Adults 40 or older are eligible for vaccination at participating pharmacies
- Individuals with health conditions listed above and their caregiver
- Pregnant people and their caregiver
- People who live and work in high-risk congregate settings
- Caregivers in select congregate care settings
- Essential frontline workers who cannot work from home, including education workers
How to book a vaccine at a community clinic (60+ at the time of this update, 50+ on May 6, 2021)
Residents can book an appointment on the online provincial booking portal or by calling 1-833-943-3900. Residents can book online for appointments at the community vaccination clinics:
- Nepean Sportsplex
- Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA
- Eva James Memorial Community Centre
- City Hall
How to book a vaccine at a pharmacy (40+)
While supplies are limited, some pharmacies in Ottawa are providing AstraZeneca vaccinations to Ottawa residents age 40+. If you’re eligible for vaccination, please register ASAP regardless of which vaccine type is offered to you. Additional information as well as participating locations can be found on the Province of Ontario website.
Kanata pharmacies participating in the program include:
- Costco Pharmacy (770 Silver Seven Road)
- Drugstore Pharmacy (760 Eagleson Road)
- Kanata Compounding Pharmacy (150 Katimavik Road Unit 46 Level 1)
- Kanata Pharmasave (99 Kakulu Road Unit 101)
- Rexall (832 March Road)
- Rexall (300 Eagleson Road)
- Rexall (4048 Carling Ave.)
- Shoppers Drug Mart (680 Eagleson Road)
- Shoppers Drug Mart (499 Terry Fox Drive Unit 10)
- Sobeys Pharmacy (840 March Road)
- Sobeys Pharmacy (700 Terry Fox Drive)
- Wal-Mart Pharmacy (5357 Fernbank Road)
These vaccinations are separate from Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa’s vaccination roll-out. Residents are asked to call participating pharmacies directly or the Province of Ontario Vaccination Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 if they have questions on the pharmacy vaccination program. Supplies are limited and appointments are booking quickly.
What to do After Receiving your First COVID-19 Vaccine?
Do you need to continue following public health measures after receiving your first COVID-19 vaccination dose? At this time, there are no changes to the recommendations that are in place for anyone who has been vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccination, along with public health measures, will offer the best protection from the spread of COVID-19. Those who are vaccinated, and those who are not, must all continue to practice the same following public health measures:
- Physical distancing
- Wearing a mask
- Hand washing
- Isolating when sick
The vaccines are effective at preventing symptomatic illness and death. However, experts need to learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines offer before changing public health recommendations.
When residents have had one dose of a two-dose vaccine series, its effectiveness improves over a number of weeks. Residents cannot assume that if they have been vaccinated, they will be protected right away. It is important to understand that any time you have close contact with people from outside of your household, you are putting yourself and others at risk.
With Mother’s Day approaching, I know how hard it’ll be to not be able to celebrate with family beyond your own household, but I urge you to be COVIDWise. It is important that we all do our best to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19.
Thank you for your continued efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.