COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for April 20, 2021

OTTAWA — Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.

Fast Facts:

  • Ontarians born in or before 1981 are now eligible for an AstraZeneca vaccine through pharmacies and primary care settings.
  • Ottawa’s police chief says checkpoints on bridges from Gatineau are putting incredible strain on the police service.
  • Ottawa police, bylaw, and public health say new police powers announced by the provincial government could set the fight against COVID-19 back.
  • The number of people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19 is now above 130.
  • An Ottawa woman, who is battling Stage 4 cancer, is sharing her wait in an Ottawa hospital garage to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare system. 

COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):

  • New COVID-19 cases: 203 new cases on Monday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 22,038
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 206.2
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 10.9 per cent (April 12 to 18)
  • Reproduction Number: 1.03 (seven day average)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says you can get a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, care clinic, or community testing site if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health;
  • You are a resident, a worker or a visitor to long-term care, retirement homes, homeless shelters or other congregate settings (for example: group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters);
  • You are a person who identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis;
  • You are a person travelling to work in a remote First Nations, Inuit or Métis community;
  • You received a preliminary positive result through rapid testing;
  • You require testing 72 hours before a scheduled (non-urgent or emergent) surgery (as recommended by your health care provider);
  • You are a patient and/or their 1 accompanying escort tra­velling out of country for medical treatment;
  • You are an international student that has passed their 14-day quarantine period;
  • You are a farm worker;
  • You are an educator who cannot access pharmacy-testing; or
  • You are in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:

There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx

  • The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre at 300 Coventry Road: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Open Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (testing only)
  • The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (testing only)
  • COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Howard Darwin Centennial Arena: Open daily 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Southwest Ottawa COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Richmond Memorial Community Centre: Open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Centretown Community Health Centre: Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 pm.
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday

Vaccine eligibility screening tool:

To check and see if you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Ottawa, click here

COVID-19 screening tool:

The COVID-19 screening tool for students heading back to in-person classes can be found here.

Symptoms:

Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath

Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion

Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered to Ontarians 40 years old and over in pharmacies and primary care settings starting today.

There have been growing calls for the provincial government to make the vaccine more widely available as Ontario continues to see record numbers in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations amid a third wave that is mainly driven by variants of concern.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) had recommended the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to people 55 and older due to concerns about rare blood clots.

Health Canada maintainsthat the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19. The agency approved the use of the vaccine for those 18 years old and over.

The Ontario government has a list of more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that are offering vaccines.

AstraZeneca vaccine

Ottawa’s police chief is suggesting that enforcing checkpoints on the interprovincial crossings between Quebec and Ontario is not sustainable for the local police service and there may come a time when those checkpoints are abandoned to serve the city’s daily policing needs.

Speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s “Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts”, Police Chief Peter Sloly said his members are stretched almost to their limit.

The Ontario government announced Friday that police would be required to bar anyone without a valid reason for travelling from entering Ontario. The Ontario Provincial Police are tasked with monitoring the bulk of crossings from Quebec and Manitoba into Ontario, but the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) has been deployed to the five bridges over the Ottawa River between Gatineau, Que. and Ottawa, Ont.

Sloly said the OPS is doing its best to meet all of its demands, but he may soon need to make tough decisions on what the service can and cannot do, and the final say is his alone.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told CTV News at Six he does not believe the checkpoints can be sustained until the end of the stay-at-home order on May 20.

Ottawa-Gatineau border checkpoint

Ottawa police, bylaw and public health officials say newly announced policing measures in Ontario, aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, could actually make things worse.

On Friday, the Ontario government announced broad new powers to enable police to enforce the provincial stay-at-home order, including the authority to stop anyone outdoors and ask them for their address and why they’re outside.

The new measures were met with swift and immediate backlash from people who feared the powers would harm people who are already most at risk, especially racialized community members and the homeless and were softened within 24 hours to only checking on suspected gatherings or social events.

A joint statement issued Monday by the Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services and Ottawa Public Health said they all met over the weekend and concluded that any additional enforcement measures would do more harm than good and may actually set the city back in its efforts to combat the latest wave of COVID-19.

“At this time, the current public health risk assessment shows that different enforcement or action by police authorities could create challenges with compliance to public health orders and may actually set COVID-19 control measures back,” the joint letter said. “Current medical literature and professional study reinforces the opinion that homeless populations and other disadvantaged communities, in particular, require support to be able to increase protection from COVID-19.”

Ottawa Police

Ottawa Public Health reported 203 more people in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19, but the number of people in hospital with the disease has jumped significantly.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the city’s hospitals reached a new pandemic high of 131 Ottawa residents on Monday, with 34 people in intensive care. 

It often takes several days after someone tests positive before they require hospital treatment. Health officials have also said many patients require several days of treatment before being released from the hospital. 

Of the people in hospital, one is under 10 years of age, one is 10 to 19 years old, two are in their 20s (one is in the ICU), 13 are in their 30s, 13 are in their 40s (three are in the ICU), 22 are in their 50s (eight are in the ICU), 29 are in their 60s (10 are in the ICU), 35 are in their 70s (10 are in the ICU), 12 are in their 80s (two are in the ICU), and three are 90 or older.

A social media post highlighting a waiting area at the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital is going viral.

Some say they find it daunting to see patients on stretchers waiting in what appears to be a garage, but it’s not the first time the hospital has done this.

Cancer patient Samantha Mitchell was taken to the General Campus on Thursday. She posted a picture and a video of her wait to get into the emergency department on Instagram.

She updated her Instagram post to say she was in a bed in the hospital in 20 minutes and received excellent care.

But Mitchell is still upset for other reasons.

“I had to go into the hospital on Thursday night, late at night, alone, without any support around me because people are choosing to have parties and not social distance.”

She also says she hasn’t been able to see family or friends for over a year because of her condition and she’s worried that if the pandemic doesn’t end soon, she might not ever get that chance.

“Please stay home so that we can get back to normal eventually. I would love the opportunity to be around my family and my husband in the hospital.”

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