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Ottawa surpasses 2K active COVID-19 cases, 50 outbreaks

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Still unclear if vaccines need tweaking to address Omicron variant, EMA says' COVID-19: Still unclear if vaccines need tweaking to address Omicron variant, EMA says
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is prepared for the possibility that COVID-19 vaccines may need to be tweaked to fight the new Omicron variant, although 'there is no answer yet' that it will be necessary, executive director Emer Cooke said on Tuesday. She said the agency first needs more data on vaccine efficiency, the variant's transmissibility and the severity of disease it causes – Dec 21, 2021

Ottawa Public Health reported more than 300 COVID-19 cases for the third day in a row on Tuesday as active cases return to levels not seen since May.

Ottawa added 325 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, raising the number of active cases in the city to 2,147.

Four new COVID-19 outbreaks were added to OPH’s COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday. There are now 52 active outbreaks across the city, 31 of which affect local schools.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ottawa mayor advises keeping holiday gatherings to immediate family amid Omicron spread' COVID-19: Ottawa mayor advises keeping holiday gatherings to immediate family amid Omicron spread
COVID-19: Ottawa mayor advises keeping holiday gatherings to immediate family amid Omicron spread – Dec 16, 2021

One of the new outbreaks affects a long-term home. One staff member at the Extendicare Starwood home has tested positive for the virus, according to OPH, but the outbreak has not yet spread to residents.

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The Granite Ridge and the St. Patrick’s long-term care homes in Ottawa also remain in outbreak.

There are six people in hospital with COVID-19 locally, none of whom are 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.

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

Access to COVID-19 testing, both PCR and rapid antigen, has been limited in Ottawa this week as the Omicron variant of concern drives up demand.

The Ottawa COVID Testing Taskforce said in a statement late Monday that while its partners are “working overtime” to increase capacity in the city, it anticipates a change in testing guidance in the coming days to focus instead on essential workers and vulnerable populations.

On the COVID-19 vaccine front, OPH added 56,000 appointments for booster shots in the city shortly after 8 a.m., but they were all snapped up four hours later.

As of Monday morning, OPH had administered more than 150,000 third doses of the vaccine across the city. Roughly two-thirds of those doses have been given to residents aged 60 and older.

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So far, 57 per cent of kids aged five to 11 have a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Across the city, 89 per cent of all residents aged five and older have a first dose, while 82 per cent have two.

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Long lines as Ontario residents try to get COVID-19 booster shots – Dec 21, 2021

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