OTTAWA – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 23 new cases of COVID-19 in the city today (Jan. 26) and one new death related to the virus, bringing Ottawa’s death toll to 420.

There are 754 active cases of coronavirus in Ottawa. There are 33 people currently in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19, six of whom are in intensive care.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is reporting 18 new cases in the area, down from the 51 reported yesterday. Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is reporting two new cases, and no new cases are reported by the Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

The province also recorded a dip in the number of new cases.

The government says Ontario has 1,740 new cases — that’s 11 per cent less than reported than Monday (1,958). This is the third day in a row the province has recorded a decline, and the second day in a row Ontario has had new cases below 2,000.

Ontario, did add 63 new deaths —up from the 43 that reported on Monday (about a 46 per cent increase).

Since yesterday, 2,261 cases have cleared, bringing the total number of resolved cases to 229,755.

Sixty-eight more people are in hospital (bringing the total to 1,466). However, 14 fewer people are in the ICU, bringing the total down to 383.

The number of patients on a ventilator are up by 15, bringing the total to 298 using a breathing machine.

The province says it has completed 30,717 tests since yesterday (Jan. 25) — which is about a 15 per cent drop. This brings Ontario’s positivity rate to almost six per cent.

Wastewater data positive

OTTAWA – Wastewater data in Ottawa is indicating a step in the right direction in the city’s fight against COVID-19.

According to Dr. Tyson Graber, a research associate with CHEO, the COVID-19 viral loads in Ottawa’s wastewater are showing markers indicating levels have started to plateau since the start of the new year.

“Cases were quite high throughout most of the month of January and the wastewater indicated that we weren’t really going up like a rocket,” Graber said during a media conference yesterday (Jan. 25). “It was a steady burn, steady increase and then it kind of plateaued over the last of couple weeks.”

He adds the data from the past three or four days is demonstrating a slow but steady decrease. The wastewater levels have been monitored since April and have been fluctuating for months.

Graber explains the city was starting to see an increase around Christmas. Cases were high during January and wastewater showed Ottawa was on a “steady burn” upwards.

But in the past few weeks, the dip started.

“The lockdown is working, for sure,” Graber said. “That is consistent with wastewater data from other parts of the world where there’s been lockdowns. The thing with wastewater is you can certainly detect increases in disease really quickly, but on the other side as we come down from that peak during the lockdown, the wastewater is quite slow. That’s because people shed fragments of this virus for long periods of time, even after they haven’t been symptomatic anymore. So, it is a slow and steady decrease. I think we’re in a good place right now. Hopefully that trend continues but we’re still at a heightened level in the city.”

When researchers compare where Ottawa is today to what they’ve collected over that time period, Graber says the city is about in the mid-range right now.

To be more specific, Graber says the city is back to when it was in October, when there was heightened transition — so not quite where the city was in July, when cases were low.

In the meantime, the doctor says the wastewater levels are currently unable to detect variants of the novel coronavirus.

“If this trend continues,” he says, “we’re looking good going into next week.”

OPH wants kids back in school

OTTAWA – Ottawa medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches says it’s time for Ottawa students to head  back to school.

Etches says it’s going to be several months before we have any significant protection from COVID-19 vaccines, and there is no way we should wait for protection before sending students back to school.

“The level of community transmission right now in Ottawa is similar to, or lower now, than it was at our peak in October when schools were open, and we managed that level,” Etches said. “My goal is to ensure our schools are open as soon as possible.”

Etches adds keeping schools closed is causing harm within the community, saying children, youth and parents are not able to function as well when they don’t have the support of having children in school. 

Etches says, we can never completely prevent COVID-19 from entering schools, she is confident that we can manage the current levels, as we did in the fall. 

“My recommendation to open schools comes from seeing the decline in the percent of people testing positive, seeing the reproductive number coming down, seeing the rate of COVID-19 in our community coming down and knowing our team is committed to support teacher, parents, schools and students.”

Etches says, when schools do re-open, infection control measures will be enforced. All students will need to be screened for symptoms each morning before leaving the house and masks will be mandatory for students in Grades 1 through 3.

Etches is hoping to get an update from the province this week. 

Ottawa LCT facilities getting cash boost

OTTAWA – Ottawa is getting a cash boost from the Ontario government to help cover costs associated with COVID-19 and support the city’s long-term care facilities.

The province is investing an additional $11.8 million to increase prevention and containment efforts in 27 long-term care (LTC) homes in Ottawa during the second wave of the pandemic. 

The funding will cover expenses related to COVID-19 screening for those entering LTC homes and hiring new staff to help with added workload, or to replace workers who are sick or in isolation.

It will also go toward cleaning, equipment, and operating supplies, as well as implementing infection control measures based on clinical evidence, advice from physicians or other health practitioners with expertise in infection control.

Ottawa LTC homes receiving funding:

  • Granite Ridge Care Community is receiving an additional $258,900, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $808,700
  • Township of Osgoode Care Centre is receiving an additional $215,200, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $584,200
  • Forest Hill is receiving an additional $102,000, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $717,000
  • Garden Terrace is receiving an additional $102,000, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $875,000
  • Carleton Lodge is receiving an additional $448,300, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,124,200
  • Longfields Manor is receiving an additional $79,000, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $486,000
  • Madonna Care Community is receiving an additional $1,162,000, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,935,000
  • Residence Saint-Louis is receiving an additional $660,700, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,562,900
  • Glebe Centre is receiving an additional $149,000, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,094,600
  • Hillel Lodge is receiving an additional $264,400, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $731,700
  • Royal Ottawa Place is receiving an additional $162,000, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $162,000
  • The Salvation Army Ottawa Grace Manor is receiving an additional $55,100, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $393,300
  • Patrick’s Home is receiving an additional $370,300, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,578,500
  • The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre is receiving an additional $850,400, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,759,400
  • Carlingview Manor is receiving an additional $623,300, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,942,500
  • Extendicare Medex is receiving an additional $774,800, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,603,500
  • Extendicare New Orchard Lodge is receiving an additional $149,200, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $620,200
  • Extendicare Starwood is receiving an additional $383,400, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,325,200
  • Extendicare West End Villa is receiving an additional $608,200, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,661,600
  • Peter D. Clark Centre is receiving an additional $1,322,200, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $2,286,400
  • Villa Marconi is receiving an additional $86,000, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $750,200
  • Centre d’Accueil Champlain is receiving an additional $454,600, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,185,600
  • Élisabeth-Bruyère Residence is receiving an additional $152,000, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $727,400
  • Extendicare Laurier Manor is receiving an additional $1,462,600, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $2,574,400
  • Garry J. Armstrong Home is receiving an additional $496,500, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $1,337,500
  • Manoir Marochel is receiving an additional $139,100, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $585,700
  • Montfort is receiving an additional $299,400, bringing the total prevention and containment support since the start of the pandemic to $967,000