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COVID-19 in Ottawa

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(Reported Friday, last update Tuesday)

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2: New deaths

1,017: Total deaths

32: Ottawa residents in hospital due to active infections

3: In ICU because of active infections

71: Confirmed COVID-19 patients in Ottawa hospitals as of Wednesday (including non-Ottawa residents), 34 in hospital because of COVID-19 (five in ICU) and 37 for other reasons (four in ICU)

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

89,513: Total cases

14: Ongoing outbreaks in institutional settings

11.38: Per cent test positivity (seven-day average as of Wednesday)

Source: Ottawa Public Health

Ottawa Public Health’s weekly respiratory report as of Feb. 8, 2023.
Ottawa Public Health’s weekly respiratory report as of Feb. 8, 2023. Photo by Ottawa Public Health

The current situation in Ottawa

Ottawa is at the start of a new COVID-19 wave fuelled by the so-called Kraken subvariant, according to one of the city’s leading wastewater researchers.

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Tyson Graber, associate scientist at the CHEO Research Institute and co-lead investigator on Ottawa’s coronavirus wastewater monitoring program, says the highly contagious XBB.1.5 subvariant, nicknamed Kraken, is spreading “exponentially” across Ontario.

In Ottawa, it already represents between 30 and 50 per cent of the wastewater signal, which measures the amount of virus in the community through wastewater. Graber said the subvariant should make up the majority of COVID-19 infections within the city in the next week or so.

When an emerging variant reaches more than 50 per cent of the wastewater signal, cases typically begin to increase in the community, he said.

“I think it is a foregone conclusion that we will see an increase in cases in the next few weeks.”

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In a weekly update Wednesday, Ottawa Public Health said that levels of influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory virus levels were all similar to the previous week based on wastewater monitoring, the per cent of lab tests coming back positive and new outbreaks in health-care institutions.

“The downwards trends we’ve seen over the past few weeks continue to move in the right direction,” OPH said. “It doesn’t mean we can let our guard down, but it is encouraging.

“It’s still important to use your layers of protection, especially as we move through the winter months. Masks, COVID-19 vaccines (and) boosters, flu vaccines, staying home when sick, they all work.”

OPH said people can find information about who’s eligible and at what interval for flu and COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 treatment options on its website, along with details on reducing the risk.

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Ottawans can also drop in at any of the Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs to get a COVID-19 booster, flu shot or information about treatment options, OPH said.

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

Find out more about getting a COVID-19 booster at Ottawa Public Health’s community clinics. Book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through Ontario’s online portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 or make an appointment at a participating pharmacy.

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

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How to get tested and treated in Ottawa

Pharmacists can prescribe Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 to eligible people at no cost, both in person and virtually. People can use Ontario’s COVID-19 online antiviral treatment screener to see if they’re at higher risk of severe illness and might benefit from the medication.

Ottawa residents can find out who’s eligible for testing and how to book tests and seek treatment at a local care clinic or assessment centre on the health unit’s website.

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

Where to get COVID-19 rapid tests

Ontario has extended a program providing free rapid antigen test kits for COVID-19 to the end of June .

People can use their postal code to find participating pharmacy and grocery store locations.

This article is available for free — outside of our paywall — because we believe this is a matter of crucial public interest. If you’d like to support us as we continue to provide journalism that matters for all Ottawans, please subscribe:

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