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Coronavirus: Ottawa reports 56 new COVID-19 cases, record low for January

Ottawa Public Health is reporting 56 new cases of the novel coronavirus and two deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Ottawa Public Health is reporting 56 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, a sizeable drop-off amid a general decline in the city’s day-to-day COVID-19 case count.

The local public health unit says there have now been 12,427 cases of the virus locally since the start of the pandemic, with 1,137 cases currently considered active.

Ottawa has seen a general decline in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases since OPH reported 148 cases on Friday. Tuesday’s figures mark the lowest daily increase of the pandemic in Ottawa since the start of 2021.

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The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa is now down to 123 cases per day.

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Early week case reports tend to be lower than figures released later in the week due to a drop in coronavirus testing over the weekend in Ottawa; 575 people were swabbed locally on Sunday, according to the city’s testing task force.

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Two additional people have died in connection with COVID-19 in Ottawa, however, raising the city’s death toll of the pandemic to 407.

There are now 39 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, eight of whom are in the intensive care unit. OPH’s COVID-19 dashboard shows 95 per cent of acute care beds are currently occupied locally, as are 79 per cent of ICU beds.

There are 44 ongoing coronavirus outbreaks in Ottawa as OPH added five new outbreaks to its dashboard on Tuesday.

Not included in the latest OPH figures is the city-run Dr. E Couture Child Care Centre where one child has tested positive for the virus, according to a city memo sent Monday evening. While no direct transmission has been detected at the daycare, the positive test has prompted a 14-day shutdown of the preschool program at the site.

A number of local long-term care homes reported new coronavirus outbreaks on Tuesday even as the city completes the first rounds of vaccinations in the high-risk sites.

Among the three care homes facing new outbreaks is the Perley Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, which was the first to make the vaccine available to its residents locally. One staff member at the home has tested positive for the virus.

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All 28 long-term care homes have now received initial doses of coronavirus vaccine, with 92 per cent of residents opting for the jab, the City of Ottawa confirmed in a memo sent Monday afternoon. In addition, one high-risk retirement home and one congregate care setting for older adults received a first round of vaccinations.

Clinical data from Pfizer, which develops the vaccine distributed through Ottawa’s long-term care homes, shows the vaccine can provide partial protection against the virus 12 days after the first dose and up to 95 per cent protection a week after receiving a second dose.

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Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, has said she expects vaccination efforts to affect the city’s hospitalization and death rates related to COVID-19 in February.

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Ottawa has distributed 21,938 doses of the vaccine according to Monday’s latest update on the city’s inoculation campaign.