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Almost half of eligible Ottawans fully vaccinated a week ahead of Ontario’s Step 3 reopening

Ottawa Public Health said Friday that 49 per cent of eligible residents have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Ottawa Public Health says 49 per cent of eligible residents have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as the province announced plans to further lift restrictions on July 16.

Ottawa Public Health says 455,212 people in Ottawa aged 12 and older are double-vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday.

That includes 52 per cent of those aged 18-plus — this group officially passed the halfway mark on Thursday.

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Some 81 per cent of eligible residents aged 12 and older have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Continuing to lag in first-dose uptake are those aged 18 to 39. This demographic reports single-dose vaccination rates of 68 to 70 per cent, while most other age groups are nearing or have surpassed the 80 per cent threshold.

Continuing to make progress on the vaccination front will be integral to an eventual full reopening of Ontario’s economy.

The province announced plans to enter Step 3 of reopening on July 16, days ahead of schedule, due to high uptake for vaccinations in Ontario.

Read more: Here are the new rules in Step 3 of Ontario's reopening plan

The move would remove most capacity limits on indoor dining and retail while allowing gyms and other previously shuttered businesses like cinemas to reopen with some restrictions.

An eventual move beyond Step 3 will require at least 21 days under the new regime as well as first-dose vaccination rates of 80 per cent and second doses for 75 per cent of eligible Ontario residents.

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Meanwhile, OPH reported five new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

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The number of active cases dropped to 38 as well, the first time this figure has fallen below 40 since the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020.

No new deaths were reported in the pandemic on Friday, but the city’s weekly coronavirus positivity rate ticked back up to 1.1 per cent compared with 0.6 per cent in the previous period.

Read more: Public Health Ontario COVID-19 data showing vaccines provide ‘high degree’ of protection

OPH’s dashboard shows there are currently two people in hospital locally with COVID-19.

On Thursday, multiple hospitals in the city cheered that their beds were empty of COVID-19 patients, marking a substantial decline from the more than 100 people hospitalized with the virus during the peak of the latest wave in May.

But the Queensway Carleton Hospital noted that the situation remains dynamic on Friday, confirming that a patient exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms was admitted to the local facility on Thursday evening.

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The hospital said on Twitter that the new patient serves as a reminder that “we also need to stay cautious” as vaccination rates continue to rise in the city.

One new outbreak was also added to OPH’s dashboard in the latest update, this one affecting a group home where two people have tested positive for the virus. There are now two ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in the city.

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