Encouraging signs, but Ottawa COVID-19 levels higher than officials want

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa’s pandemic trends are stable or dropping.
  • Kingston’s coronavirus wastewater average is rising quickly.
  • Western Quebec has more reported COVID deaths this year than 2020 or 2021.

The latest Ottawa update

Ottawa Public Health said in its weekly snapshot Thursday there have been encouraging signs in pandemic trends, but COVID-19 levels are higher than it would like.

It says the level of coronavirus in the city’s wastewater is high and its COVID hospital admissions, outbreaks and test positivity percentage are moderate.

Its medical officer of health told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning Tuesday that COVID levels will be increasing.

waste water

The weekly average level of coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater has declined for a week as of the last update Aug. 30.

That average is at its lowest point since the first few days of summer. It remains about five times higher than at this point in 2021 and a little less than twice what it was two years ago.

A bar and line graph of coronavirus wastewater levels since June 2020.
Researchers measuring and sharing the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater found the weekly average most recently peaked July 10. The most recent data is from Aug. 30. (613covid.ca)

hospitals

Twenty-three Ottawa residents have been admitted to a city hospital with COVID-19, according to OPH’s latest update. That’s fewer than reported in the last update Tuesday, but generally stable for about two weeks.

Two 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.

The number that includes those kinds of patients has been dropping since mid-July.

A graphic breaking down Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalizations.
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. There were 82 as of July 10, spiking to 168 July 17 and now 72 about six weeks later. (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 remains around 10 per cent. It has been very slowly dropping for about a week.

There are currently 30 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa. That number has been dropped.

OPH reported 228 more cases and the deaths of four more people in their 70s and 80s who had COVID over the last three days.

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-five per cent of Ottawans age 12 and over had at least three doses, and 21 per cent had four.

across the region

Spread

Wastewater levels are increasing in Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls.

They’re rising quickly in Kingston — one of its two sites has its highest average of 2022 — and stable to its west.

A line graph of coronavirus wastewater levels since November 2021.
Researchers measuring and sharing the amount of novel coronavirus in Kingston’s wastewater found an increase in late August. The most recent data is from Aug. 29. (KFL&A Public Health)

Other data is out of date or unavailable.

Renfrew County doesn’t share wastewater data, but its test positivity percentage climbs to 17 per cent.

Hospitalizations

Western Quebec’s health authority CISSSO is reporting 91 COVID hospitalizations there, which has been slowly declining. Three of those patients are in intensive care.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting about 40 COVID hospitalizations, including five patients in intensive care.

That doesn’t include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method.

deaths

CISSSO reported its 118th COVID death of 2022 Thursday, surpassing the 117 it reported in 2020. It reported 106 COVID deaths in western Quebec in 2021.

Every local health authority except for those in Ottawa and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties has reported more COVID deaths this year than either 2020 or 2021.

Renfrew County’s health unit reported two more COVID deaths, as did officials in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties.

Vaccines

Across eastern Ontario, between 81 and 92 per cent of residents age five and up have received at least two vaccine doses and between 52 and 64 per cent of those residents have had at least three.

All children age five to 11 in Ontario qualified for a first booster dose as of Thursday.

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