Ottawa COVID trends stable or rising coming out of the holidays

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa’s coronavirus wastewater average, COVID-19 outbreaks rising.
  • Its COVID hospitalizations and test positivity are stable.
  • 35% of residents age 12 and up have had a booster vaccine in the last 6 months.

The latest guidance

Local officials are watching the city’s respiratory illness trends after the holidays. The health-care system, particularly for children, has been under a lot of pressure because of COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Experts strongly recommend people wear masks indoors and, in Ontario, in the days after having COVID symptoms.

Staying home when sick, keeping hands and surfaces clean and keeping up-to-date with COVID and flu vaccines are also recommended to help keep people safe, especially more vulnerable people including children.

CBC Ottawa takes a look at COVID trends on Tuesdays and Fridays. A broader look at respiratory illnesses comes on Wednesdays.

Wastewater

Data from the research team says the weekly average level of coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater, as of Dec. 28, had been rising since the last week of November.

It’s back to where it was around the start of August 2022.

A bar and line graph of coronavirus wastewater levels since November 2021.
Researchers measuring and sharing the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater found the weekly average rising again as of the last week of November 2022. The most recent data is from Dec. 28, 2022. (613covid.ca)

Hospitals

OPH’s count of active, local COVID-19 hospital patients is 25, according to Tuesday’s update, with two patients in intensive care. 

Both numbers are stable.

There is another count that includes other patients, such as people admitted for other reasons who then test positive for COVID, those admitted for lingering COVID complications, and those transferred from other health units.

That number has been dropping.

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. It was around 130 Dec. 11. (Ottawa Public Health)

Tests, outbreaks and deaths

Ottawa’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is stable around 17 per cent after a slow rise. Testing strategies changed at the end of 2021 and many cases aren’t reflected in counts.

There are 38 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa, three more than Friday. This count has been slowly rising.

OPH reported 165 more COVID cases over four days and the death of someone in their 80s who had COVID. In all, 986 Ottawa residents who had COVID have died since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccines

Ottawa residents received about 2,850 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the last week. That number is low compared to previous weeks, but it does cover major holidays.

Thirty-five per cent of Ottawans age 12 and older have had their most recent dose within the last six months, as is generally recommended, with older age groups having higher rates. This 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 how recently residents age 12 and up have had their most recent COVID-19 vaccine. (Ottawa Public Health)

As of the most recent weekly update, 93 per cent of Ottawa residents aged five and up had at least one COVID vaccine dose, 90 per cent had at least two and 62 per cent at least three.

Thirty-six per cent of Ottawans aged 12 and older had at least four doses.

About 9,450 residents younger than five have had a first dose, which is about 21 per cent of Ottawa’s population of that age group. About 4,900, or 11 per cent, have had two.

Across the region

Spread

Coronavirus wastewater data and COVID test positivity averages outside Ottawa are out of date or unavailable coming out of the holidays.

Hospitalizations and deaths

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa report about 40 COVID-19 hospitalizations, with three of these patients in intensive care. However, most haven’t reported yet in 2023.

That regional count doesn’t include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Its last update was Dec. 20.

Western Quebec’s health authority, CISSSO, reported 86 COVID hospitalizations as of Monday. None of the patients are in intensive care.

LGL reported its 144th overall COVID death Tuesday.

2022 was by far the deadliest year for reported COVID fatalities in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region, with nearly half of its more than 2,000 reported COVID deaths coming that year.

Vaccines

Across eastern Ontario, between 82 and 93 per cent of residents age five and up have received at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and between 53 and 65 per cent of those residents have had at least three.

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health said Dec. 28 that 33 per cent of its population age five and up have had a booster vaccine in the last six months. That number is 27 per cent in HPE.

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