December 8, 2023

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COVID-19 in Ottawa

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(Reported Friday, last update Tuesday)

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2: New deaths

965: Total deaths

20: Ottawa residents in hospital due to active infections

2: In ICU because of active infections

102: Confirmed COVID-19 patients in Ottawa hospitals as of Wednesday (includes non-Ottawa residents), 45 in hospital because COVID-19 (6 in ICU) and 57 for other reasons (4 in ICU)

152: New COVID-19 cases (case numbers are considered underestimates with testing limited to certain groups)

86,290: Total cases

344: Active cases

23: Ongoing outbreaks in institutional settings

14.3: Per cent test positivity in the community (seven-day average as of Wednesday)

Source: Ottawa Public Health

The current public health situation in Ottawa

A fixture in the capital since the pandemic’s early days is closing its doors next Wednesday, the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce says.

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“The Brewer Park COVID-19 Testing Centre originally opened its doors in March 2020, just days after the pandemic was declared,” the task force said in an update Thursday. “For nearly three years, Brewer was a pillar in Ottawa’s COVID-19 response, seeing hundreds of Ottawa residents daily, and at its peak, testing over a thousand people a day.

But, with a recent decline in testing appointments made, “the decision was made to close Brewer and reallocate its resources and staff where they are needed most.”

The task force — which includes local hospitals, the City of Ottawa’s office of emergency management, Ottawa Public Health and local community health centres and laboratories — says it will keep monitoring demand for COVID-19 testing.

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“Like 2020, if testing demand rises again, The Ottawa Hospital is prepared to ramp up COVID-19 testing services in a matter of days.”

On Thursday, the seven-day trend for average daily PCR tests collected by assessment centres, care clinics, hospitals, and long-term care homes was 685 tests, the task force said, with a seven-day positivity rate of 13.6 per cent.

In a “snapshot” Thursday, Ottawa Public Health said COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory viruses continued to circulate in the city.

Levels of flu detected in Ottawa’s wastewater are “very high” with levels of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 deemed “moderate.” For COVID-19, the rate of lab tests coming back positive was high while new hospital admissions and outbreaks in institutional settings were moderate.

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The health unit again pointed to the “unprecedented volumes” of babies and children continuing to come to CHEO with respiratory symptoms.

“We can do things to help,” OPH said. “Wear a well-fitting mask when in indoor public and crowded outdoor spaces and stay home when feeling sick to help us reduce the burden of these viruses in our community.

“Staying up to date on our COVID-19 and flu immunizations also helps increase our protection. Many places in our community offer these vaccines, including drop-ins and family-oriented clinics.”

How to get vaccinated against COVID-19 (and flu) in Ottawa

OPH asked people to visit them online at ottawapublichealth.ca for their closest vaccination options.

People can book vaccination appointments through Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900, make appointments at participating pharmacies or visit a Neighbourhood Wellness Hub.

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Flu shots are available at more than 250 Ottawa pharmacies. OPH flu shot clinics serve children aged six months to five years and their household members and continued to serve people without OHIP who couldn’t get the vaccine through pharmacies or health-care providers.

How to get tested and treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa

The Ottawa Hospital Clinical Assessment Centre (1081 Carling Ave., Suite 601) has lowered its minimum age for appointments from 18 years to 14 aiming “to increase care options for Ottawa residents within the community and outside of hospital emergency departments.”

With lab testing in the province prioritized for people at increased risk and in high-risk settings, Ottawa residents can find out who’s eligible and how to book tests and seek treatment at one of four local care clinics on the health unit’s website.

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Families can also check out CHEO’s page on when to go to the emergency department and alternatives to the ED, including the local care clinics.

Antiviral treatments are available for people with symptoms — even if they’re mild — who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, but they must be taken within the first five days of symptoms starting.

People can use Ontario’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment screener to see if they’re at higher risk of severe illness and might benefit from the medication.

Where to get COVID-19 rapid tests in Ottawa

Ontario is distributing free rapid antigen test kits through participating pharmacy and grocery store locations.

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