Ottawa COVID trends stable or rising coming out of the holidays

People make their way around the Rideau Centre mall in Ottawa Dec. 26, 2022. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press - image credit)
People make their way around the Rideau Centre mall in Ottawa Dec. 26, 2022. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa's coronavirus wastewater average, COVID-19 outbreaks rising.

  • Its COVID hospitalizations and test positivity are stable.

  • 35% of residents age 12 and up have had a booster vaccine in the last 6 months.

  • The Kingston area records its highest-ever average test positivity.

The latest guidance

Local officials are watching the city's respiratory illness trends after the holidays. The health-care system, particularly for children, has been under a lot of pressure because of COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Experts strongly recommend people wear masks indoors and, in Ontario, in the days after having COVID symptoms.

Staying home when sick, keeping hands and surfaces clean and keeping up-to-date with COVID and flu vaccines are also recommended to help keep people safe, especially more vulnerable people including children.

CBC Ottawa takes a look at COVID trends on Tuesdays and Fridays. A broader look at respiratory illnesses comes on Wednesdays.

Wastewater

Data from the research team says the weekly average level of coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater, as of Dec. 28, had been rising since the last week of November.

It's back to where it was around the start of August 2022.

613covid.ca
613covid.ca

Hospitals

OPH's count of active, local COVID-19 hospital patients is 25, according to Tuesday's update, with two patients in intensive care.

Both numbers are stable.

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 dropping.

Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa Public Health

Tests, outbreaks and deaths

Ottawa's COVID-19 test positivity rate is stable around 17 per cent after a slow rise. Testing strategies changed at the end of 2021 and many cases aren't reflected in counts.

There are 38 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa, three more than Friday. This count has been slowly rising.

OPH reported 165 more COVID cases over four days and the death of someone in their 80s who had COVID. In all, 986 Ottawa residents who had COVID have died since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccines

Ottawa residents received about 2,850 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the last week. That number is low compared to previous weeks, but it does cover major holidays.

Thirty-five 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, 93 per cent of Ottawa residents aged five and up had at least one COVID vaccine dose, 90 per cent had at least two and 62 per cent at least three.

Thirty-six per cent of Ottawans aged 12 and older had at least four doses.

About 9,450 residents younger than five have had a first dose, which is about 21 per cent of Ottawa's population of that age group. About 4,900, or 11 per cent, have had two.

Across the region

Spread

The Kingston area's average test positivity climbs to 25 per cent, its highest level ever.

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health

More than 22 per cent of the 429 COVID tests in the Belleville area last week came back positive — its highest percentage in six months of data.

Coronavirus wastewater data averages outside Ottawa are out of date or unavailable coming out of the holidays.

Hospitalizations and deaths

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa report about 40 COVID-19 hospitalizations, with two of these patients in intensive care. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit and Renfrew County's health unit haven't reported yet in 2023.

That regional count doesn't include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Its hospitalizations have been low and stable since late November,

Western Quebec's health authority, CISSSO, reports 86 COVID hospitalizations. None of the patients are in intensive care.

LGL reported its 144th overall COVID death Tuesday, the Kingston area its 103rd and HPE, its 99th.

2022 was by far the deadliest year for reported COVID fatalities in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region, with nearly half of its more than 2,000 reported COVID deaths coming that year.

Vaccines

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

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health says that 33 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.