Rising hospitalizations, outbreaks disrupt Ottawa's COVID stability

After weeks of stability, some of Ottawa's COVID-19 trends have risen to levels last seen in January.

Levels now similar to what they were in January

Ottawa's skyline seen from across a partially-thawed river.
Ottawa's skyline seen over the Ottawa River from Bate Island in March 2022. (Ian Black/CBC)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa's COVID-19 hospitalizations and outbreaks rise.
  • Its average test positivity and wastewater reading are stable.
  • Seven more people with COVID have died in the region.

The latest 

After weeks of stability, some of Ottawa's COVID-19 trends have risen to levels last seen in January.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says COVID-19 indicators are generally stable at moderate to high levels, which has remained consistent for most of 2023.

Experts recommend people wear masks indoors and, in Ontario, in the days after having COVID symptoms. Staying home when sick and staying up to date with COVID vaccines can also help protect vulnerable people.

Non-COVID respiratory virus levels are generally low and/or seasonal.


Data from the research team shows the average coronavirus wastewater level is stable after a slow drop to start the month. 

The most recent data is from March 14. OPH considers this level to be high.

A chart of the level of coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater.
Researchers measure and share the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater. Here's the data for the last 12 months or so; the most recent data is from March 14, 2023. (


The number of patients with COVID-19 in local hospitals rises to 26, which is similar to numbers seen most of the second half of 2022 and start of 2023.

Three patients are in intensive care.

A separate count that includes patients who tested positive for COVID after being admitted for other reasons, those admitted for lingering COVID complications, and those transferred from other health units is now also similar to January numbers.

A chart showing the number of people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID.
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 deaths

Ottawa has 22 active COVID outbreaks, which increased this week after dropping earlier this month. The number is considered high by OPH.

The city's COVID-19 test positivity rate has remained between 11 and 13 per cent since the start of February, which OPH calls moderate.

OPH has reported 111 more COVID cases since Tuesday and the death of someone in their 80s with COVID.

So far, 1,028 Ottawa residents have died with COVID as a contributing or underlying factor. Thirty-six of those people have died this year.


Twenty-eight per cent of Ottawans age five and older have had a COVID vaccine dose within the last six months, as is generally recommended, with older age groups having higher rates.

That translates to about 750,000 people in that age range without the recommended vaccine protection. It does not factor in immunity from getting COVID.

An infographic of how recently Ottawa residents have had their last COVID-19 vaccine. It includes stacked bar graphs by age group.
Ottawa Public Health shares when residents age five and up last had a COVID-19 vaccine. The share that's had one in the last six months dropped one percentage point this week. (Ottawa Public Health)

As of the most recent weekly update, 85 per cent of Ottawa residents had at least one COVID vaccine dose, 82 per cent had at least two, 56 per cent at least three and 31 per cent at least four.

Across the region


Coronavirus wastewater averages are stable in Kingston. They're otherwise out of date or unavailable outside of Ottawa.

The average COVID-19 test positivity remains high around 16 per cent in Renfrew County.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU)'s COVID risk level remains moderate.

Hospitalizations and deaths

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa report 35 COVID-19 hospitalizations, with nine patients in intensive care.

That regional count doesn't include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Its local hospitalization count is stable.

Western Quebec has 59 COVID hospital patients, its lowest count since July 2022. Two of them are in intensive care.

The province reported five more COVID deaths in the region for a total of 407. Renfrew County report its 86th COVID death in its weekly update.


The Kingston area's health unit says 28 per cent of its population age five and up have had a COVID vaccine in the last six months. It's 26 per cent in HPE and unavailable elsewhere.

Across eastern Ontario, between 79 and 90 per cent of residents age five and up have received at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and between 52 and 65 per cent of those residents have had at least three, according to the province.

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