Wednesday, May 31, 2023
HomePolitics newsCOVID-19: 4 new deaths in twice-weekly update; COVID, RSV levels rising

COVID-19: 4 new deaths in twice-weekly update; COVID, RSV levels rising

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(Reported Friday, last update Tuesday)

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4: New deaths

990: Total deaths

35: Ottawa residents in hospital due to an active infection

1: In ICU because of an active infection

84: Confirmed COVID-19 patients in Ottawa hospitals as of Wednesday (includes non-Ottawa residents), 52 in hospital because of COVID-19 (9 in ICU) and 32 for other reasons (4 in ICU)

213: New COVID-19 cases (case numbers are considered underestimates with testing limited to certain groups)

88,166: Total cases

36: Ongoing outbreaks in institutional settings

18.54: Per cent test positivity in the community (seven-day average as of Wednesday)

Source: Ottawa Public Health

The current public health situation in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health said its indicators show COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus levels in the capital are increasing while it continues to see high levels of influenza circulating in its latest respiratory virus snapshot issued Wednesday.

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Ottawa is experiencing the start of another pandemic wave that likely includes some cases of the highly contagious XBB.1.5 subvariant, according to one of the city’s leading wastewater researchers.

The subvariant that is driving a spike in cases in the United States is not playing a significant role in the current Ottawa surge, say researchers, but they are expecting to see more of it. Meanwhile, the virus that causes COVID-19 is rising sharply in the city’s wastewater as cases, outbreaks and test positivity increase across the city.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches had predicted in December that levels of viral illnesses would likely increase after the holidays.

“After a busy holiday season, you can help keep others well by screening yourself for symptoms and staying home if you’re feeling sick,” the health unit said Wednesday. “Please keep wearing a well-fitting mask in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor spaces.”

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Screen for symptoms and “make a habit of wearing a mask” if visiting a loved one who is at higher risk, OPH said.

“What may be a sore throat for you could lead to severe illness for someone else. Respiratory viruses can be especially difficult for those with complex medical needs, those who are immunocompromised and older adults.”

How to get vaccinated against COVID-19 (and flu) in Ottawa

Not sure if you’re due for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose? Ontario’s Ministry of Health has a new booster dose eligibility checker now online.

People can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments through Ontario’s online portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900, making appointments at participating pharmacies or visiting a Neighbourhood Wellness Hub.

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Flu shots are available at pharmacies and OPH flu shot clinics serve children aged six months to five years and their household members and people without OHIP who couldn’t get the vaccine through pharmacies or health-care providers.

How to get tested and treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa

Ontario pharmacists can now prescribe Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 to eligible people at no cost, both in person and virtually.

The antiviral medication is taken orally within five days of symptom onset and is recommended for people at higher risk of COVID-19 complications, including people over 60 and people who are immunocompromised.

People can use Ontario’s COVID-19 online antiviral treatment screener to see if they’re at higher risk of severe illness and might benefit from the medication.

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With lab testing in the province prioritized for people at increased risk and in high-risk settings, Ottawa residents can find out who’s eligible and how to book tests and seek treatment at a local care clinic or assessment centre on the health unit’s website.

Families can also check out CHEO’s page on when to go to the emergency department and alternatives to the ED, including local assessment centres and care clinics.

Where to get COVID-19 rapid tests

Ontario is extending a program providing free rapid antigen test kits for COVID-19 to the end of June 2023.

People can use their postal code to find participating pharmacy and grocery store locations.

-with files from Elizabeth Payne

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