COVID-19: Hospitalizations remain low in Ottawa despite case increases

The Canadian Press file

A string of double-digit increases in Ottawa’s COVID-19 case count this week has not yet precipitated an increase in hospitalizations, according to the local public health unit.

Ottawa Public Health reported 19 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the city’s coronavirus positivity rate ticked up to 1.5 per cent over the past seven days.

The number of active COVID-19 cases fell to 124 in the past day.

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There are currently three people in hospital in Ottawa with COVID-19, one fewer than the day before, with one person still in the intensive care unit.

No new deaths or outbreaks related to COVID-19 were reported on Wednesday.

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Mid-week stats on Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign are showing slight movement in first-dose uptake among young adults.

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OPH’s vaccination dashboard shows 74 per cent of adults aged 18 to 29 have gotten at least an initial shot as of Wednesday, the first signs of increased uptake in the age group since it hit 73 per cent with first doses on Aug. 6.

Across all age groups, OPH says 84 per cent of eligible Ottawa residents have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 77 per cent have gotten two shots.

OPH is responding to a provincial move opening up vaccinations to any child turning 12 in 2021 by opening up online bookings and allowing drop-ins at any community clinic for youth still in need of a first dose.

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Mayor Jim Watson wrote to the city manager on Tuesday asking him to develop a COVID-19 vaccination policy for all municipal staff.

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Global News asked the city on Wednesday whether this would be a full mandate requiring vaccinations for all staff, or a measure that requires self-disclosure of vaccination status, as OPH has recommended in the past.

City manager Steven Kanellakos did not provide specifics in his response, only saying that Ottawa’s policy would align with legislation at the provincial and federal level.

“The policy will protect the health of our workforce and reduce transmission in the community and will be done in discussions with labour partners, city employees and Ottawa Public Health,” he said in a statement.

Watson had previously said the city does not have the legal jurisdiction to mandate vaccinations among staff, arguing such a directive would have to come from the province.

On Tuesday, the Ontario government said it would mandate employee vaccinations in certain “high-risk” settings such as hospitals and care homes.

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