COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for March 4, 2021
Love locks on Corktown Bridge over the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ont. (Photo by Jesse Little of Unsplash)
OTTAWA -- Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.
- Ottawa's medical officer of health warns Ottawa could move into the red zone as COVID-19 rates rise
- Eastern Ontario's top doctor suggests all residents in his region could receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by May
- Ottawa plans to begin mass vaccinating residents over 80 later this month
- A microbiologist suggests the COVID-19 pandemic could be over in Canada by September
COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):
- New COVID-19 cases: 46 new cases on Wednesday
- Total COVID-19 cases: 14,870
- COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 37.0
- Positivity rate in Ottawa: 2.1 per cent (Feb. 24 to Mar. 2)
- Reproduction Number: 1.00 (seven day average)
Who should get a test?
Ottawa Public Health says there are five reasons to seek testing for COVID-19:
- You are showing COVID-19 symptoms. OR
- You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app. OR
- You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health. OR
- You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care. OR
- You have traveled to the U.K., or have come into contact with someone who recently traveled to the U.K., please go get tested immediately (even if you have no symptoms).
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:
There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx
- The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre at National Arts Centre: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Vaccine eligibility screening tool:
To check and see if you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Ottawa, click here.
COVID-19 screening tool:
The COVID-19 screening tool for students heading back to in-person classes can be found here.
Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath
Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion
Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup
Ottawa's top doctor is raising concerns about rising COVID-19 rates in the capital, warning new restrictions could be imposed on social gatherings and businesses this month unless transmission slows.
"Rates are no longer declining and we are close to the red category threshold," said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health.
"The wastewater signal in particular has been increasing for over a week and it's suggesting that more people are shedding the virus, perhaps unknowingly, posing a risk of transmission to others."
As of Wednesday, Ottawa's COVID-19 rate was at 37 cases per 100,000 people, while the positivity rate is 2.1 per cent. The threshold to move into the red-control zone is a weekly incidence rate of 40 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of greater than 2.5 per cent.
Eastern Ontario's medical officer of health suggests all residents in his region could receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by May.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis made the comments after Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued new guidance on administering the COVID-19 vaccine. The panel of medical experts says the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines can be given up to four months after the first.
"It's welcome news. I think the good news is that with studies that have gone subsequent to the release, both here and abroad, we now know the first dose will actually protect people for up to 16 weeks. We thought initially it was up to a couple of weeks, three-four weeks, and that's why the dosing schedule was initially 21 to 28 days," said Dr. Roumeliotis during an interview on CTV News at Five with Matt Skube.
"Now that we have it going up to 16 weeks, four months, it gives us much more confidence in letting people, you know, wait a couple of months before they get the second dose. What it does it actually doubles our ability to vaccinate people with the first dose as soon as we get the vaccine supply in our hands."
The city of Ottawa will hold the first vaccination clinic for people experiencing homelessness today, while the first pop-up clinic for residents over the age of 80 in high-risk neighbourhoods will be held on Friday.
Now, with more doses arriving in Ottawa, the head of Ottawa's vaccination task force is suggesting mass vaccinations of residents over the age of 80 will begin later this month.
"As for next steps, community clinics are expected to open for all Ottawa residents who were born in or before 1941, or who are adult recipients of chronic home care, when there are enough vaccines available in Ottawa," said Anthony Di Monte. "We are expecting this to happen later in March, however, if there is enough vaccine supply."
With more doses of COVID-19 vaccine arriving in Canada and guidance changing on administering the shots to citizens, a microbiologist suggests the pandemic will "probably" be over in this country by September.
"I think we're about to go into that third act and finally put an end to the pandemic," said Jason Tetro, the author known as the Germ Guy, noting many people have been trained to be pessimistic this winter.
Tetro tells CTV News Ottawa that after a glum few months, there is reason for optimism.
"We've got lots of doses coming; we’ve got three approved, we've got two others that are in the pipeline. I think we're going to be definitely getting to that point where by the summer we're going to be in a very good position and probably see the end of this pandemic by September," said Tetro.