Key COVID-19 numbers in the Ottawa area today
- Ottawa’s coronavirus wastewater average drops for the first time this month.
- Its hospitalizations and number of outbreaks rise.
Today’s Ottawa update
The average level of coronavirus detected in Ottawa’s wastewater dropped for the first time since March 20 with the most recent data from Tuesday (the bold red line in the graph below). It has risen 27 of the last 30 days.
The average is about 33 per cent higher than the previous record in April 2021 and roughly 13 times higher than in early March 2022 before this spike.
Those records don’t reflect the first wave of the pandemic when wastewater was not monitored for traces of the virus.
Wastewater is a key indicator of what Ottawa Public Health (OPH) calls a significant COVID-19 wave in the city. Health officials highly recommend people take steps to protect themselves and others.
WATCH | Holiday advice from Ottawa Public Health:
Eighteen Ottawa residents are in local hospitals for treatment of active COVID-19 according to Thursday’s OPH update. That number rises back to about what it was last week after dropping for four days.
Two of the patients are in intensive care.
Hospitalization figures don’t include patients admitted for other reasons who then tested positive for COVID-19. Nor do they include those admitted for lingering COVID-19 complications, nor patients transferred from other health units.
That number has stabilized.
Cases and outbreaks
Testing strategies have changed under the contagious Omicron variant, which means many new COVID-19 cases aren’t reflected in current counts. Public health only tracks and reports outbreaks that occur in health-care settings.
On Thursday, OPH reported 287 more COVID-19 cases and no more deaths.
The health unit also reported an increase to 48 health-care outbreaks, which had been at 29 one week ago. There are 14 outbreaks each in group homes and retirement homes.
The rolling weekly incidence rate of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, expressed per 100,000 residents, is around 120.
Tests and vaccines
At 18 per cent, the average positivity rate for those who received PCR tests outside long-term care homes is high and stable. The average in these homes is around eight per cent. This isn’t updated on Thursdays.
As of Monday’s weekly update, 92 per cent of eligible Ottawa residents have at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, 89 per cent have at least two, and 62 per cent of residents age 12 and up have at least three.
About 17,700 fourth vaccine doses had been given in Ottawa, not necessarily to residents.
Across the region
Eastern Ontario has the highest regional wastewater average, according to the province’s science table.
Western Quebec’s 55 local COVID hospitalizations by far lead the region. Three patients need intensive care.
Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting about 45 COVID-19 hospitalizations. About 10 of them are in intensive care.
Neither of those numbers includes Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, which has a different counting method.
Renfrew County’s weekly update has a slight rise to 15 hospitalizations, with three of these patients in intensive care. Its three COVID outbreaks are stable.
Health experts say hospitalizations may not get as high this wave because of immunity, both from vaccines and previous infection, and antiviral treatments. Vulnerable people, including children, are still at higher risk of serious health problems.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit said while its number of outbreaks has been rising, most cases have either mild or no symptoms. He credits fourth vaccine doses.
WATCH | The weekly EOHU update:
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