Ottawa has its most COVID-19 hospitalizations in 9 months

People walk in a park in central Ottawa on a warm autumn day, which has been the norm this year. (Jacques Corriveau/CBC - image credit)
People walk in a park in central Ottawa on a warm autumn day, which has been the norm this year. (Jacques Corriveau/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa's COVID-19 trends are stable or rising.

  • City hits 50 COVID hospitalizations for the first time since February.

  • More Ottawans got a COVID vaccine this week compared to last.

  • COVID hospitalizations rise outside of Ottawa.

  • 78 local COVID deaths have been reported in four weeks.

The latest guidance

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

Experts recommend people get their updated COVID booster vaccine for better protection against current coronavirus variants, getting a flu shot, staying home when sick and wearing a mask indoors and in crowded outdoor places.

Hospital leaders continues to emphasize the pressure they're facing as cold and flu season hits during the pandemic.

While COVID vaccines and previous infection give some protection, that protection will wane and subvariants continue to emerge. There are also the risks of long COVID.

Wastewater

The weekly average level of coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater is high. It slowly rose from the start of September until mid-October, dropped for a week, and has gone back up for more than a week.

As of Oct. 30, the average is about 5.5 times higher than this time last year.

613covid.ca
613covid.ca

Hospitals

Fifty Ottawa residents have been admitted to a city hospital with COVID-19, according to the latest update from OPH, which considers this high.

This is the first time it has reached the 50s over the past nine months. This number hasn't been in the single digits since late June.

Three COVID patients are in intensive care, which is more stable.

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.

This number is stable.

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 has risen since the start of September and is very high. It's currently around 20 per cent; it's been around the low 20s for about 10 days.

There are currently 54 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa. This is moderate, according to OPH, and generally stable.

OPH reported 273 more cases over four days and the death of someone in their 80s with COVID. A total of 927 Ottawa residents who had COVID have died; 31 of them in October and 317 this year.

Vaccines

Ottawa residents received about 12,900 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the last week, more than the week before. Most of the vaccines given in Ottawa in the last two weeks have been Pfizer's updated bivalent version.

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 the Kingston area, and high and stable in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (LGL) counties.

Data from other areas is out of date or unavailable.

COVID test positivity is a high, stable 16 per cent in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU). It drops to around 14 per cent in the Kingston area after a month closer to 20 per cent.

Hospitalizations

Western Quebec's health authority, CISSSO, reports a rise to 100 COVID hospitalizations. Four of the patients are in intensive care.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting a rise to about 75 COVID hospitalizations, 12 of them in intensive care.

The 31 COVID patients in the Kingston area are its most of 2022 and near its December 2021 record of 35. The 16 patients in LGL are its most in six months.

That regional count doesn't include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. It reports a drop to 23 local hospitalizations and three more COVID deaths, for a total of 92.

Deaths

LGL reported two more COVID deaths in its weekly update. It has reported 69 of these deaths in 2022 and 134 overall. The EOHU reported its 266th total COVID death and the Kingston area, its 93rd.

The seven local health authorities, including Ottawa, have reported a combined 78 COVID deaths in the last four weeks.

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.

Residents of LGL have now received more than half a million COVID vaccine doses.