Ontario opposition, Councillors question K2V included on list of COVID-19 postal code hot spots
OTTAWA -- Ontario's opposition parties are demanding answers about a west Ottawa neighbourhood given high priority for COVID-19 vaccines.
Health minister Christine Elliott says it's justified, but even people who live in the postal code have no idea why they're on the list.
"I was surprised but right away I thought I better book in and get my vaccination,” said Donna Adameck, who was a little lucky when it came to booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
She lives in the K2V postal code, identified on a provincial list as being a COVID-19 hot spot. But why it's on the list is a mystery to some.
Speaking at Queen's Park, Elliott responded to NDP questioning the list of designated hot spots in the province – specifically addressing the K2V postal code in Kanata.
“Unbelievable that you should make any sort of suggestion when we are dealing with people across this province,” said Elliott who explained the K2V area was identified based on COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality.
“The postal code was also high in factors associated with greater vulnerability and negative impacts of COVID-19."
In an emailed statement Wednesday, the Officer of the Premier adds that the decision was based on demographics and a higher prevalence of COVID-19.But it's caught many off guard, even to local councillors.
"What’s concerning is the lack of information we’ve been getting from the Ministry of Health to why that postal code was chosen,” said Glen Gower, Stittsville Councillor.
Since the pandemic began, Ottawa Public Health has identified different neighbourhoods with higher rates of transmission.
So far, Stittsville and Kanata had not been on that list.
“A little strange they get designated a hot spot when they are not," said Chris Inns. “Other people who are really needing that designation have been left off the list."
Inns lives in a neighbourhood closer to downtown, with a similar sounding postal code K2B, which is considered by public health as a high risk community.
The Bay Ward area has lots of seniors and many people living in subsidized housing and many essential workers.
“Get the vaccines into the people who are going to be out there everyday,” he said.
“We do know this area is a priority,” said Theresa Kavanagh, Bay Ward Councillor. “People are puzzled because they know we have higher numbers.”
This week, NDP leader Andrea Horwath wrote a letter to Ontario’s Auditor General to look into why the hot spot postal code system left out apparent hotspots, but included areas that don’t seem to be hotspots like K2V.
Regardless of postal code, most just want their shot and to eventually return to some sort of normal. That includes Adameck.
She’s scheduled for her appointment on Friday.
“I hope everyone gets vaccinated,” she said.