OTTAWA -- Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.

Fast Facts:

  • Ottawa Public Health reported eight new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday.
  • Ontario reached one of its benchmarks for moving out of Step 3 on Thursday.
  • Ottawa's medical officer of health wants the province to maintain a mask mandate in the fall.
  • Breaking down barriers will be necessary to reach 90 per cent vaccine coverage in Ottawa, Dr. Vera Etches says.

COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):

  • New COVID-19 cases: Eight new cases on Thursday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 27,801
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 3.9
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 0.7 per cent (seven day average)
  • Reproduction Number: 1.02 (seven day average)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

  • Ottawa Public Health says you can get a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, care clinic, or community testing site if any of the following apply to you:
  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • 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;
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health;
  • You are a resident, a worker or a visitor to long-term care, retirement homes, homeless shelters or other congregate settings (for example: group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters);
  • You are a person who identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis;
  • You are a person travelling to work in a remote First Nations, Inuit or Métis community;
  • You received a preliminary positive result through rapid testing;
  • You are a patient and/or their 1 accompanying escort tra­velling out of country for medical treatment;
  • You are a farm worker;
  • You are an educator who cannot access pharmacy-testing; or
  • You are in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Long-term care staff, caregivers, volunteers and visitors who are fully immunized against COVID-19 are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering or visiting a long-term care home

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 Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre at 300 Coventry Road: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
  • The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Kemptville) – 15 Campus Drive: Open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Centretown Community Health Centre: Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 pm.
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday

COVID-19 screening tool:

The COVID-19 screening tool for summer camp children and staff. All campers and staff must complete the COVID-19 School and Childcare screening tool daily.

Symptoms:

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

Eight new cases, one new hospitalization in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health said Thursday that eight more people in the city have tested positive for COVID-19 and there is one more COVID-19 patient in the hospital.

To date, Ottawa has seen 27,801 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. No new deaths were reported Thursday, marking two straight weeks of zero COVID-19 deaths in capital. A total of 593 residents of Ottawa have died due to COVID-19.

The number of known active cases is above 50 again after reaching a low of 21 active cases earlier this month.

There are zero active COVID-19 outbreaks in the city.

 

Ontario hits first of four benchmarks to leave Step 3

Ontario has reached one of the benchmarks the provincial government set for moving beyond Step 3 of reopening, leading to a further shedding of public health restrictions.

According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, 80 per cent of the eligible population has now received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are three other main points to reach: 75 per cent of the population must have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, no public health unit can have less than 70 per cent of their eligible population vaccinated, and hospitalizations and case counts must be stable.

So far, just under 70 per cent of all adults in the province have had both doses.

The earliest Ontario can move out of Step 3, according to the provincial framework, is Aug. 6. 

Outdoor patio in Ottawa

Ottawa's top doctor wants to see provincial mask mandates remain in place this fall

Ottawa's medical officer of health says she wants to see mask mandates remain in effect across Ontario even after the province moves out of Step 3 of its reopening plan.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Dr. Vera Etches said she has spoken with Ontario's chief medical officer of health. Dr. Kieran Moore, about maintaining a province-wide mask mandate come fall.

"What I expect, going into the fall, is that (Ottawa) will continue to operate under provincial regulations and I'm speaking with our chief medical officer of health about continuing to include mask requirements for crowds," she said.

"My recommendation would be to have a province-wide approach," she added. "We're all connected and travel is increasing as people have that protection (from vaccines). It's one of those things that is under active conversation and consideration for the next step."

Ottawa has a local mandatory mask bylaw that covers mask use in public places, but city staff say it will expire on Aug. 26, as local authorities have been following the provincial guidelines. The temporary mandatory mask bylaw was first enacted when there were no provincial regulations regarding mask use as a public health measure.

People wearing masks during COVID-19 pandemic

Breaking down barriers needed to reach 90 per cent vaccine coverage

Despite the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the capital slowing down, Ottawa's medical officer of health says the goal of reaching 90 per cent of the eligible population is within reach, but there are barriers to overcome.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Dr. Vera Etches said Ottawa's COVID-19 vaccine uptake is strong, but there are still many people in the city who have yet to be vaccinated.

There are approximately 284,000 residents of Ottawa who have not had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. About 130,000 of them are children under 12.

Etches says the remaining individuals who have yet to be vaccinated include people who face barriers to vaccination, often the need to find adequate child care to allow for vaccination or a lack of transportation options to community and pop-up clinics.

COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Ottawa