Province numbers sky-high, Ottawa adds 64 new COVID-19 cases

OTTAWA – As the vaccines slowly rolls out, COVID-19 numbers rise in Ottawa and break records across the province.

The province recorded a new daily high of 2,923 cases today (Dec. 30), beating the previous high of 2,553 reported Tuesday. That jump comes out to about a 14.5 per cent increase since yesterday.

Ontario’s total number of cases since the pandemic started now stands at 178,831.

Ottawa recorded 64 new cases, according to provincial government numbers. Up from the 48 cases reported Tuesday. This brings the total number of cases in the city to 9,866.

OPH says there are 473 active cases in Ottawa with no new deaths. So far, 9,001 cases have resolved in Canada’s capital. There are 13 people in hospital, two of which are in intensive care. 

One new outbreak has been declared at a childcare and educational facility, bringing the total of ongoing outbreaks to five. One new community outbreak has also been declared, bringing that total of ongoing outbreaks to four. There are no new outbreaks in healthcare institutions.

The province is reporting 19 new deaths in Ontario, which is down from the 41 recorded on Tuesday.

The total death toll is now at 4,474.

However, 2,237 more cases have resolved, bringing the total of cleared cases to 153,799 (about 86 per cent of total case have cleared).

The number of people in hospital has shot up to 313 more patients, bringing the total number of patients in hospitals across Ontario to 1,177.

Among those, 323 people are in the ICU (19 more than yesterday), 204 of which are on a ventilator (three less than yesterday).

There are 109 new cases in Ontario among nine to 13-year-olds, bringing that total to 5,193.

There are also 63 new cases among children ages four to eight (bringing total to 3,708) and 96 new cases among teens 14 to 17 (bringing total to 5,076).

On Ottawa’s outskirts, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is reporting 16 new cases, bringing that total 1,336. Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has 12 new cases, bringing the area’s total to 667. Renfrew County comes in with four new cases, bringing Renfrew’s total to 232.

The province reports completing 39,210 tests since Tuesday —malmost a 15 per cent increase in one day.

Ottawa tracking UK variant

OTTAWA – Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) COVID-19 taskforce and its lab partners say they are closely monitoring the new variant of the novel coronavirus. 

The COVID-19 variant first located in the southern United Kingdom, and has now been reported in several areas in Canada, including Ottawa.

OPH says testing technology used by the Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA) will detect the new variant. However, their day-to-day testing by OPH only determines whether a person has COVID-19, not whether the sample contains the new variant. 

The EORLA is part of a provincial network of labs that conduct genetic surveillance to detect variants.

OPH says at this time, the overall consequences of this COVID-19 mutation are unknown, but residents should continue to follow the same public health practices.

New Moderna vaccine arriving in Ontario

ONTARIO – Some 50,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario Wednesday.

Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, who is leading the province’s COVID-19 vaccination program, says the drug will be distributed to long-term care and retirement homes.

He says immunizations are slated to start there within days of the delivery.

Hillier said yesterday (Dec. 29) more than half of Ontarians – about 8.5 million – should receive the vaccine by the end of July.

Another vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech is already being administered to health-care workers, but its storage requirements limit where that can be done.