Ottawa

Key COVID indicators drop, but levels remain high in community: OPH

Many key indictors in the Ottawa region are on the decline, but health officials say COVID-19 levels in the community remain high. Five new deaths have been recorded in Ottawa since the last public health update.

5 new COVID-19 deaths in Ottawa, 12 new outbreaks

People enjoy Britannia Beach in Ottawa on Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa recorded five new COVID-19 deaths over the past three days. 
  • Outbreaks in health-care settings dropped to 51, but 12 new outbreaks have emerged.

While many of the key indicators of COVID-19 levels in Ottawa have dropped, public health officials say levels remain high in the community.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says the local vaccination rate of children under five is among the highest in the province. 

Provincewide, health officials reported 96 more deaths linked to COVID-19 over the past seven days, the deadliest week of the seventh wave so far.

Last Friday, the province's chief medical officer of health said the seventh wave of COVID-19 in Ontario had peaked.

Health officials say the current wave is driven by the BA.5 coronavirus subvariant, and is again straining a health-care system already stretched thin by staff shortages.

Two Ottawa-area hospitals had to close their emergency departments earlier this month. 

OPH is asking residents to limit contacts and consider masking in crowded outdoor areas as well as inside, and is asking businesses to consider bringing back policies such as mandatory masks.

The latest Ottawa update

Wastewater

The average level of coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater remains high. It rose for more than a month starting in early June, but has been dropping since the start of August. 

A graph of coronavirus wastewater levels since June 2020. (613covid.ca)

Hospitals

Twenty-six Ottawa residents have been admitted to a city hospital with COVID-19, according to OPH's latest update. Two of those patients are in intensive care.

According to OPH, hospitalizations are at a moderate level and decreasing, but aren't the only factor straining health-care resources.

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.

Including those categories, 138 COVID-19 patients were in hospital as of its most recent data. That number has increased since the previous OPH update. 

Ottawa Public Health has a COVID-19 hospital count that shows all hospital patients who tested positive for COVID, including those admitted for other reasons, and who live in other areas. (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 sits around 15 per cent.

There are currently 51 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa. Those include 12 new outbreaks recorded in the past three days. 

OPH reported 335 more cases and five new deaths over the last three days.

A total of 859 Ottawa residents with COVID-19 have died: 381 in 2020, 229 in 2021 and 249 so far this year.

Vaccines

As of the most recent weekly update, 93 per cent of Ottawa residents age five and up had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 89 per cent had at least two.

Sixty-four per cent of Ottawans age 12 and over had at least three doses, and 19 per cent had four.

Across the region

In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (LGL) counties, wastewater levels rose in Brockville and Kemptville for most of July, but have begun to drop somewhat. They're stable in Smiths Falls and across the Kingston area.

Western Quebec is reporting 89 COVID hospitalizations. Two of those patients are in intensive care, and one more person has died in that region in the past week due to COVID-19.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting 30 COVID hospitalizations, including two patients in intensive care.

That regional total doesn't include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Its 14 hospitalizations are a slight rise and one patient is in intensive care.

Of the seven local health authorities, three have had more deaths this year than in either 2020 or 2021 — HPE, the Kingston area and Renfrew County. All six in eastern Ontario have more in 2022 than 2021.

Across eastern Ontario, between 81 and 92 per cent of residents age five and up have received at least two vaccine doses, and between 59 and 71 per cent of adults have had at least three.

The total number of vaccine doses given to local residents has passed 5.6 million.

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