As noted in Dr. Moloughney’s Special Statement, COVID-19 vaccination continues to be crucial, especially as public health measures are lifted. A third dose provides a higher level of protection than two doses.
For your awareness, OPH has begun calling Ottawa residents 60-69 years of age who have not yet received their third dose and offering to book them into a clinic. The Community Operations team is also reaching out to community partners in neighbourhoods with lower uptake of third doses to try and promote hub and mobile clinic options.
School Immunization Catch-Up Clinics
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has resumed school immunization catch-up clinics, by appointment only, for youth who attend school in Ottawa who were unable to attend or receive their school-based vaccines (Hepatitis B, HPV, Meningococcal vaccines) at their school clinic in grade 7.
In addition to providing COVID-19 vaccines for residents, the JH Putman School Community Clinic and Orleans Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA Community Clinic will offer the above-referenced publicly funded immunizations for eligible youth who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Student in grade 7 or 8 who was unable to attend or receive school-based vaccines at their school clinic;
- Student in grades 9 to 12 who has not completed their school-based vaccine series normally administered at school in grade 7 (hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal conjugate vaccine).
Appointments can be book through OPH’s online booking website or by calling OPH at 613-580-6744, Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
For more information on the school immunization catch-up clinic services or on immunization for youth and school vaccination, please visit the Parenting in Ottawa website.
We encourage you to share this information with your networks or by posting on Twitter, Facebook or other platforms.
Should you have any questions or need additional information, please email OPHStakeholderRelations@Ottawa.ca.
Thank you, OPH Stakeholder Relations
March 24, 2022 – Special Statement from Dr. Brent Moloughney
COVID-19 levels in Ottawa
Currently we are seeing evidence of an increase in COVID-19 transmission in Ottawa. Over the past week, the wastewater viral signal and percentage of tests that are positive have continued to increase. We are seeing a slight increase in outbreaks and our hospitalizations are stable, however previous trends have shown that there is often a lag in these indicators. Given the lifting of public health measures, increased mobility, social gatherings and the return to school following March Break, we can expect to continue to see evidence of increased transmission in the community. The Ontario Science Table recently projected that while hospitalizations will likely increase this spring, the increase will be less than we experienced in January. The Table stated that the extent of the increase will depend upon the number of close contacts (especially indoors without masking), vaccination status and the spread of the more transmissible BA.2 subvariant.
Ottawa Public Health will continue to closely monitor key COVID-19 indicators and will work with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore to assess and discuss potential options for Ottawa if key indicators shift in a concerning way. Ottawa Public Health will continue to keep the public informed as public health measures are lifted and as we closely monitor this step in our pandemic response.
Through our individual actions and behaviours to follow public health measures, including vaccination, we have prevented serious illness, hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19 in our community. I thank the residents of Ottawa for their contribution to mitigating the spread and the impacts of this virus in our community.
Over the last two years, Ottawa residents have learned skills and adopted new tools to prevent transmission. These tools remain in our individual control. We recently launched a new webpage that provides more information about reducing risk for individuals and their families as the pandemic evolves. Please visit our website regularly for more information and updates.
On March 21, the Province removed mask requirements in many settings.
After almost two years of mask mandates, we understand why there may be some confusion about where masks continue to be required.
Provincial regulations state that masks must still be worn in the following settings:
- Public transit
- Long-term care and retirement homes
- Health-care settings including hospitals and public health clinics
- Congregate care settings
- Correctional and detention centres
In addition, masks are required in all public settings for those:
- Who have been a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- Who return from international travel (see below)
While no longer required, considering that the level of COVID-19 in our community appears to be increasing, Ottawa Public Health continues to strongly recommend mask use for people at risk for severe illness, including their family and close contacts, and for everyone to consider masking in indoor settings when physical distancing may be difficult.
Please be kind and respectful of others’ choices, and please remember that wearing a mask is not just about protecting you, but also protecting those around you.
Please visit our masking page for more information and to help you make informed decisions about mask use in the current environment.
Federal requirements for returning international travellers
Following March Break or other reasons for travel, many individuals and families may be returning to Canada amidst new provincial COVID-19 policies. If you are returning from international travel, please visit the Government of Canada website for the steps you need to take. These requirements by the federal government supersede provincial or local policies including testing and mask use.
Under current federal travel requirements, upon return from international travel, individuals that are exempt from quarantine must wear a mask at all times when in public spaces (including schools and child care) for their first 14 days in Canada.
Federal travel guidelines may change. Please check the PHAC/CBSA website for current federal information and direct any questions to the federal COVID-19 information line at 1-833-784-4391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To date, 88 per cent of Ottawa residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and 84 per cent have received two doses. We are incredibly proud of the progress Ottawa residents have made. Vaccination continues to be crucial, especially as public health measures are lifted. For those who are eligible, a third dose provides a higher level of protection than two doses. People aged 50 and older or those who have underlying medical conditions are at greatest risk of severe illness and we urge those who have not yet received their third dose to do so as soon as possible. Being up to date with your COVID-19 immunizations is the single most important step to protect yourself against hospitalization or death.
Using a community-centred and informed approach, OPH continues to work in collaboration with community members and partners to better understand how to address barriers to getting vaccinated directly in neighbourhoods where uptake may be lower. We work to reduce barriers to vaccination by offering education opportunities, community clinics, neighbourhood hub clinics, after school clinics, mobile and pop-up clinics which all offer drop-in options to make vaccination as easy, convenient and accessible as possible. Visit our website to learn more about vaccine clinic options.
We recognize that this may be a challenging time of transition as things shift from being required to recommended or encouraged. Please continue to be kind to yourselves and each other as we continue to navigate this pandemic. We will get through this together and will be with you every step of the way.