Ottawa

Wastewater levels, outbreaks down in latest COVID update

The number of COVID hospitalizations and outbreaks dropped and no new deaths were recorded in Ottawa since the last public health update.

Two new COVID-19 deaths in Ottawa

Paddlers and kite surfers are seen at Britannia Beach in Ottawa on Sunday, July 24, 2022. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa recorded two new COVID-19 deaths over the past four days. 
  • Its number of outbreaks in health-care settings dropped to 53.

While many key indicators — like COVID-19 levels in Ottawa's wastewater — are dropping, overall levels of the virus remain high in the community. 

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

This wave of the COVID-19 pandemic driven by the BA.5 coronavirus subvariant in the region. The local health-care system is again being strained by the combination of the pandemic load and staff shortages.

Two Ottawa-area hospitals had to close their emergency departments last weekend and have not ruled out the possibility there could be other closures in the future.

Ottawa Public Health specifically wants people to limit contacts, consider masking in crowded outdoor areas as well as inside and asks businesses to consider bringing back policies such as mandatory masks.

The latest Ottawa update

Wastewater

The average level of coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater is very 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

Thirty-nine 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.

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, 122 COVID-19 patients were in hospital as of its most recent data. That number is going down.

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 53 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa, while those numbers are trending down three new outbreaks were recorded in the past four days. 

OPH reported 438 more cases and two new deaths over the last four days.

Ottawa has had a total of 854 residents with COVID-19 die. Its 244 victims in 2022 have surpassed the 229 in 2021. It had 381 COVID deaths in 2020.

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 a rise to 93 COVID hospitalizations. Two of those patients are in intensive care. And two more people have died in that region in the past week due to COVID-19.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting 34 COVID hospitalizations, including four 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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