Ottawa continues to report record-high coronavirus wastewater levels

  • Ottawa’s coronavirus wastewater is still in record-high territory.
  • Its hospitalizations and outbreaks are stable; a testing number rises.
  • An Ottawa resident in their 80s who had COVID-19 has died.
  • Nearly 3,500 Ottawans got a vaccinated dose in the last week.

Today’s Ottawa update

The average level of coronavirus detected in Ottawa’s wastewater has reached another record high with the latest update (the bold red line in the graph below). It ends March more than five times higher than the start of the month.

This is a key indicator of what Ottawa Public Health (OPH) calls a concerning resurgence of COVID-19 in the city.

March 31 also saw the fifth-highest one-day report of wastewater signal in Ottawa, while March 29 was third and March 30 was second.

Those records don’t reflect the first wave of the pandemic when wastewater was not monitored for traces of the virus.

Researchers measuring the levels of novel coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater, represented by the bold line, found the weekly average to be the highest on record as of March 31. (613covid.ca)

Eleven Ottawa residents are in local hospitals being treated for COVID-19, according to Monday’s OPH update, with none in intensive care. Hospitalizations have been generally stable since the start of March.

Experts say the current spread may not, for the most part, have made its way into older age groups, and say both vaccination and increasing immunity may be contributing to that relative stability.

Hospitalization figures don’t include patients admitted for other reasons who then tested positive for COVID-19. Nor do they include those admitted for lingering COVID-19 complications, nor patients transferred from other health units.

That number stabilized in its most recent update after rising for a week.

Ottawa Public Health has a COVID-19 hospital count that shows all hospital patients who tested positive for COVID, including those admitted for other reasons, and who live in other areas. There were 50 as of April 2. (Ottawa Public Health)

Testing strategies have changed under the contagious Omicron variant, which means many new COVID-19 cases aren’t reflected in current counts. Only outbreaks that occur in health-care settings are recorded.

On Monday, OPH reported 501 more COVID-19 cases over three days and the death of someone in their 80s who had COVID. The health unit also reported 22 health-care outbreaks, which is stable.

The rolling weekly incidence rate of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, expressed per 100,000 residents, rises to around 110.

At 19 per cent, the average positivity rate for those who received PCR tests outside long-term care homes is slowly rising. The average in these homes remains around five per cent.

Weekly vaccine update

914,850: The number of Ottawa residents age five and up with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 350 more than in last Monday’s weekly update. That’s still 92 per cent of the eligible population.

877,672: The number of Ottawa residents age five and up with a second dose, 721 in the last week. Eighty-eight per cent of the eligible population has at least two doses.

565,552: The number of Ottawans age 12 and up with a third dose, 2,370 more in the last week. That’s up to 62 per cent of these residents; younger children only qualify with certain health conditions.

Across the region

Quebec’s institute of public health and the head of the Ontario Science Advisory Table say their provinces are in the midst of another pandemic wave.

Communities outside Ottawa are reporting about 60 COVID-19 hospitalizations. About 10 of them remain in intensive care.

Neither of those numbers includes Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, which reported a rise to 20 local COVID hospitalizations Monday. It has a different method of counting.

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (LGL) counties report 16 hospitalizations, four of them in an ICU. This is high and stable.

Recent wastewater data from the Kingston area include some of the highest readings of 2022. The wastewater signal is also rising across LGL’s sites.

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