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Ottawa Hospital moves to restrict visitors as COVID-19 test positivity hits 8.7%

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The Ottawa Hospital is restricting visitor access to its facilities starting Tuesday as COVID-19 levels in the city continue to surge.

The hospital said in a statement Monday that patients will be allowed to have only one fully vaccinated visitor — someone with a minimum of two COVID-19 vaccine doses — for up to one hour each day.

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Each patient can have a maximum of two permitted visitors but only one can visit per day.

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Visitors will be allowed to be at the patient’s bedside but physical distancing must be maintained.

Essential caregivers remain permitted under the policy.

The Ottawa Hospital said in a statement that the new rules are an attempt to strike a balance between the importance of having visitors and protecting immunocompromised patients amid the Omicron variant’s spread locally.

Omicron’s arrival in Ottawa has pushed the weekly positivity rate for COVID-19 tests up to 8.7 per cent in the past week, with some recent single days reporting rates higher than 10 per cent.

The high positivity rates in the community come as testing capacity is stretched in Ottawa and other parts of the province.

Read more: Ontario health units dealing with high COVID testing demand due to Omicron

Ottawa Public Health said over the weekend that timely testing isn’t available given the high demand, and that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should assume they have contracted the virus and self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.

OPH meanwhile reported 312 new COVID-19 cases on Monday as the number of active cases hit 1,941.

No new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported on Monday.

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The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 locally stands at four to start the week with none in the intensive care unit.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, has warned that deaths and hospitalizations are lagging indicators in the COVID-19 pandemic that will rise as case counts continue to climb in the city.

There are currently 48 ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in the city, 30 of which affect local schools.

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