OPH promotes COVID vaccine as 7th wave drags on, autumn approaches

·4 min read
People holding umbrellas make their way along Bank Street in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood on July 24, 2022. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press - image credit)
People holding umbrellas make their way along Bank Street in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood on July 24, 2022. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa's coronavirus wastewater average is slowly rising.

  • Other pandemic trends are stable or slowly dropping.

  • Vaccines offer the strongest protection against COVID, says Dr. Etches.

  • Sixteen more COVID-19 deaths were reported in the Belleville and Kingston areas.

The latest Ottawa update

Ottawa's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said in a statement Tuesday that staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines is the strongest protection people and the community have against COVID.

She said she welcomes the new bivalent vaccine against more recent variants as COVID continues to circulate in Ottawa and may increase in autumn. That's along with the effects of other illnesses, such as the flu.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said late last week COVID indicators were moderate to high and the seventh pandemic wave was not over.

Wastewater

The weekly average level of coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater has been slowly rising this month.

That average as of Sept. 11 is about five-and-a-half times higher than at this point in 2021 and about two-and-a-half times what it was two years ago.

613covid.ca
613covid.ca

Hospitals

Twenty-five Ottawa residents have been admitted to a city hospital with COVID-19, according to OPH's latest update. That's slightly more than on Friday and generally stable since late August.

One patient is in intensive care.

The hospitalization figures above don't include all patients. For example, they leave out patients admitted for other reasons who then test positive for COVID-19, those admitted for lingering COVID-19 complications, and those transferred from other health units.

The number that includes those kinds of patients dropped from mid-July until the end of August and has slightly risen in September.

Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa Public Health

Tests, outbreaks and cases

Testing strategies changed under the Omicron variant, meaning many COVID-19 cases aren't reflected in current counts. Public health officials now only track and report outbreaks in health-care settings.

Ottawa's test positivity rate is around nine per cent. It had been around 10 or 11 per cent for about two weeks.

There are currently 22 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa. That number has been dropping.

OPH reported 167 more cases and the deaths of two more people who had COVID over the last four days. One of the victims was in their 50s and the other was age 90 or above.

Vaccines

As of the most recent weekly update, 93 per cent of Ottawa residents age five and up had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, 90 per cent had at least two and 60 per cent at least three.

Twenty-two per cent of Ottawans age 12 and over had at least four. Children 12 to 17 are only eligible if they're significantly immunocompromised.

About 7,200 residents under age five have had a first dose, which is about 16 per cent of Ottawa's population of that age. That's about 200 more doses over six days.

Across the region

Spread

As of the most recent update, wastewater levels are stable or dropping in the Kingston area. They're stable in Smiths Falls and have dropped in Brockville and Kemptville.

Data from other areas is out of date or unavailable.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit's COVID test positivity rose from about nine per cent Friday to about 16 per cent Tuesday.

Hospitalizations and deaths

Western Quebec's health authority CISSSO is reporting 79 COVID hospitalizations there. Two of those patients are in intensive care. CISSSO has switched to giving one update a week on Wednesdays.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting about 35 COVID hospitalizations. All three patients in intensive care here are in the Kingston area.

That count doesn't include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Its 31 COVID hospitalizations are 10 more than last Tuesday, with two ICU patients.

It reported nine more COVID deaths in the last week. Fifty-eight of its 77 COVID deaths have been reported this year. With seven more COVID deaths reported, the Kingston area's health unit has reported 57 of its 79 deaths in 2022.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit reported its 253rd total COVID death.

More than 1,800 eastern Ontario and western Quebec residents with COVID-19 have now died. There were 31 of these deaths in the last week.

Vaccines

Across eastern Ontario, between 81 and 92 per cent of residents age five and up have received at least two vaccine doses and between 52 and 64 per cent of those residents have had at least three.