COVID-19 trends stable after early winter spike

A person cross-country skis on the Kichi Sibi Winter Trail along the Ottawa River in Ottawa Jan. 23, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A person cross-country skis on the Kichi Sibi Winter Trail along the Ottawa River in Ottawa Jan. 23, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa's COVID-19 trends are generally stable.

  • The same can be said for many trends outside the capital.

  • Five more local residents with COVID have died.

The latest 

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says recent downward trends are encouraging, but the city's respiratory virus level remains high overall and it's still worthwhile to reduce risks.

Experts strongly recommend people wear masks indoors and, in Ontario, in the days after having COVID symptoms. Staying home when sick and being up-to-date with COVID and flu vaccines also help protect vulnerable people.

CBC Ottawa takes a look at COVID trends on Tuesdays and Fridays. A broader look at respiratory illnesses comes on Wednesdays: overall, respiratory virus activity was seen as dropping.

Wastewater

Data from the research team says the weekly average level of coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater, as of Jan. 22, had dropped for about a week. It then rose slightly for three days.

613covid.ca
613covid.ca

Hospitals

OPH's count of active, local COVID-19 hospital patients is stable at 32, according to Tuesday's update, with three patients in intensive care. Those numbers have been at a similar level for more than a month.

There is another count that includes other patients, such as people admitted for other reasons who then test positive for COVID, those admitted for lingering COVID complications, and those transferred from other health units.

That number has been generally stable this month. It's hit 100 for the first time in about five weeks.

Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa Public Health

Tests, outbreaks and deaths

Ottawa's COVID-19 test positivity rate is stable around 15 per cent. OPH considers this high. Testing strategies changed at the end of 2021 and many cases aren't reflected in counts.

There are 27 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa, according to OPH. That number has been slowly dropping this month.

OPH reported 139 more COVID cases over four days and the death of someone age 90 or above who had COVID. In all, 1,004 Ottawa residents who had COVID have died since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccines

With updated 2023 population numbers from the province, 32 per cent of Ottawans age 12 and older have had their most recent dose within the last six months, as is generally recommended, with older age groups having higher rates.

This does not factor in immunity from getting COVID.

Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa Public Health

As of the most recent weekly update, 85 per cent of Ottawa residents had at least one COVID vaccine dose, 82 per cent had at least two, 56 per cent at least three and 31 per cent at least four.

About 9,700 residents younger than five have had a first dose, which is about 21 per cent of Ottawa's population of that age group. About 5,400, or 12 per cent, have had two.

About 2,800 vaccine doses were given in the last week, which is less than each of the previous two weeks.

Across the region

Spread

The coronavirus wastewater average in the Kingston area is stable, with recent signs of a rise. In the three sites in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, it's generally stable, and it's the same trend in Casselman.

Data for other areas outside Ottawa is out of date or unavailable.

The average COVID test positivity drops to 14 per cent in the Belleville area. It rises to 14 per cent in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) and is stable around 15 per cent in the Kingston area.

The EOHU's COVID risk level is considered low.

Hospitalizations and deaths

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa report about 30 COVID-19 hospitalizations, with their two patients in intensive care both in the Kingston area.

That regional count doesn't include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. It has a stable 12 local COVID hospitalizations.

Western Quebec's health authority, CISSSO, reports 101 COVID hospitalizations. That's been around that number since December. One of the patients is in intensive care.

Two more COVID deaths were reported by HPE. It's now reported a total of 103 of these deaths. The EOHU (284 total deaths) and Kingston area (107 total) each reported one more COVID death.

Vaccines

The Kingston area's health unit says that 32 per cent of its population age five and up have had a booster vaccine in the last six months. That number is 27 per cent in HPE and unavailable elsewhere.

Across eastern Ontario, between 82 and 93 per cent of residents age five and up have received at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and between 53 and 66 per cent of those residents have had at least three.