Hospitalization numbers improved slightly in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark on Friday despite a continued spike in known COVID-19 cases.
The local health unit reported five residents in hospital with the virus on Friday, which was the same as on Wednesday, but their conditions were improving.
There were two patients requiring intensive care, one fewer than Wednesday, and one person on a ventilator, also one fewer.
The hospital rates were also stable in most of the neighbouring health units in Eastern Ontario.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit reported five residents in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday, which was a one-day increase of one but the number in intensive care remained the same, at one.
Likewise in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health, where there was one more patient in hospital over the last two days, but intensive-care numbers remained the same at three.
Ottawa Public Health reported 19 of its residents with COVID on Friday, three fewer than on the previous day. There were none requiring intensive care. It also recorded 43 other COVID patients from outside of the health unit in addition to Ottawa residents.
Across Ontario, hospitalization numbers increased by nine to 1,135 and there were 166 patients in intensive care, which was seven more.
But while hospitalization numbers remained relatively stable, COVID cases were on the rise throughout the province.
Ontario reported 4,295 new known COVID cases on Friday, of which 52 were in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.
But the Ministry of Health says the real spread of the virus is many times higher than the known cases because of limits on testing.
In the absence of laboratory PCR testing, a key indicator of COVID infection rates is sampling of sewage from municipal treatment plants.
Those samplings indicate rapid increases in COVID, including in the local health unit, which tests wastewater from Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls.
The high COVID indicated in Ottawa wastewater prompted the Champlain health region, which includes the city and surrounding areas, to issue an appeal that residents voluntarily wear masks in public places, stay home if sick, get vaccinated and limit close contact with others.
Dr. Paula Stewart, local medical officer of health for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, signed the appeal along with other regional health officials.
Meanwhile, the Brockville Clinical Assessment Centre, which decides whether residents should get a PCR test for COVID, is moving from the Memorial Centre to the Brockville Shopping Centre at 125 Stewart Blvd., Unit 6 on April 14.
The centre was set up in January after the provincial government stopped offering widespread PCR testing because of high demand caused by the Omicron variant.
When the government limited PCR testing, people swamped the Brockville General Hospital emergency department seeking a test. In response, BGH and the Upper Canada Family Health Team opened the assessment centre to decide whether people qualified for a rare PCR test and to take the load off the hospital.
The moving of the centre is a bit like a game of musical chairs. The centre’s new home is where the COVID vaccination clinic was located until it moved to the YMCA last month. The vaccination clinic itself used to be at the Memorial Centre.