Ottawa COVID levels high and stable as cautions mount

Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., connected by the Portage Bridge over the Ottawa River, as seen earlier this week. (Michel Aspirot/CBC - image credit)
Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., connected by the Portage Bridge over the Ottawa River, as seen earlier this week. (Michel Aspirot/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa's COVID-19 trends are stable.

  • City's health unit says COVID levels remain high.

  • Six more Ottawa residents with COVID have died.

  • More than 80 per cent of Renfrew County's COVID deaths happened in 2022.

The latest guidance

Ottawa's medical officer of health is urging people to protect themselves and others ahead of what's likely going to be a challenging winter for the city's well-being.

Vaccines are the best protection against the flu and COVID-19, said Dr. Vera Etches Wednesday, while asking people to stay home when sick and wear masks in indoor and crowded areas. She again recommends keeping hands and surfaces clean during the respiratory illness season.

Hospital leaders say pressure continues to mount as cold and flu season joins a blast of the virus RSV during the pandemic. Older children who need intensive care in Ontario may be sent to adult hospitals.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said in its weekly Thursday check-in that COVID-19 levels remain high.

Wastewater

The weekly average level of coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater is high. It's been stable for about a week.

As of Nov. 1, the average is about six times higher than this time last year.

613covid.ca
613covid.ca

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 very high. It's currently around 20 per cent; it's been at or above 20 per cent for about two weeks.

There are currently 52 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa. This is moderate, according to OPH, and generally stable.

OPH reported 287 more cases over three days and six deaths of people with COVID, all age 70 and above. A total of 933 Ottawa residents who had COVID have died, 323 of them this year.

Hospitals

There are inconsistencies with OPH's count of active, local COVID-19 hospital patients Friday.

When you look at its other count that includes other patients, such as people 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 rises slightly from the previous few reports.

Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa Public Health

Vaccines

As of the most recent weekly update, 93 per cent of Ottawa residents aged five and up had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, 90 per cent had at least two and 61 per cent at least three.

Twenty-nine per cent of Ottawans aged 12 and older had at least four.

About 8,400 residents younger than five have had a first dose, which is about 18 per cent of Ottawa's population of that age group.

Across the region

Spread

Wastewater trends are dropping in Kingston. Data from other areas is out of date or unavailable.

COVID test positivity is a high, stable 18 per cent in Renfrew County.

Hospitalizations and deaths

Western Quebec's health authority, CISSSO, reports 102 COVID hospitalizations. None of the patients are in intensive care. It reported two more COVID deaths in its weekly report for a pandemic total of 356.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting about 70 COVID hospitalizations, 12 of them in intensive care.

That regional count doesn't include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Its hospitalizations have been slowly dropping from a 2022 high.

Renfrew County's health unit reported three more COVID deaths in its weekly Thursday update. It has reported 61 of its 74 COVID deaths in 2022.

Everywhere but Ottawa has had more reported COVID deaths in 2022 than either 2020 or 2021.

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 53 and 65 per cent of those residents have had at least three.