The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa continues to climb even as new case counts drop from last week’s highs.
Ottawa Public Health reported 203 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, following increases of 283 cases on Sunday and 241 cases on Saturday.
The number of Ottawa residents hospitalized with COVID-19 is up to 131 as of Monday — an all-time high in the pandemic — with 34 now in the intensive care unit.
Of Ottawa’s 22,038 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, OPH says 3,477 cases are confirmed as variants of concern (VOC) or otherwise mutated strains of the novel coronavirus. Eleven people have now died in connection with a VOC out of 482 total deaths related to COVID-19 locally in the pandemic.
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, and Anthony Di Monte, the head of the city’s COVID-19 vaccination task force, released a joint statement Monday outlining the local approach to vaccine distribution.
Despite pressures to expedite vaccinations to target essential workers, Di Monte and Etches wrote that the city is still making its way through residents of at-risk neighbourhoods and the oldest populations in Ottawa, an approach that aligns with the provincial vaccine sequencing plans and is targeted to reduce risks of hospitalization and death in the city’s most vulnerable populations.
They said in their statement that they expect all essential workers, regardless of age, to receive an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June at the latest.
The city expects to start vaccinating the second priority group under Ontario’s phase 2 plans by mid-May. This group will include education and child-care workers, people who work in food manufacturing and anyone who responds to “critical events.”
There are still populations in Ottawa listed under Ontario’s phase 1 plan who have not received their jab, Etches and Di Monte noted, and constrained vaccine supply continues to limit the rate at which residents can be offered doses.
The city expects all residents in their 60s will have been able to receive their first dose of the vaccine by the end of April, with most people in their 50s vaccinated by mid-May.
Currently, anyone in Ottawa aged 60 and older is eligible to book an appointment at a community clinic. Vaccination bookings will be opened via pharmacies across Ontario to anyone aged 40 and older as of Tuesday.
So far, 232,961 residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, representing 26 per cent of the eligible population. Ottawa has administered 89 per cent of the 279,390 vaccine doses it has received to date.
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