COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for April 6, 2021

The Peace Tower is framed through an iron railing on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.

Fast Facts:

  • Ottawa's medical officer of health says schools in the capital will be open today.
  • A joint letter by the medical officers of health from Ottawa, Toronto, and Peel Region is calling for a province-wide stay-at-home order.
  • Ottawa's number of known active COVID-19 cases is at its highest level ever.
  • The saga of "Bruce" from Ottawa Public Health continues.

COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):

  • New COVID-19 cases: 237 new cases on Monday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 18,260
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 119.1
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 7.8 per cent (Mar. 29 to April 4)
  • Reproduction Number: 1.17 (seven day average)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says you can get a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, care clinic, or community testing site if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health;
  • You are a resident, a worker or a visitor to long-term care, retirement homes, homeless shelters or other congregate settings (for example: group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters);
  • You are a person who identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis;
  • You are a person travelling to work in a remote First Nations, Inuit or Métis community;
  • You received a preliminary positive result through rapid testing;
  • You require testing 72 hours before a scheduled (non-urgent or emergent) surgery (as recommended by your health care provider);
  • You are a patient and/or their 1 accompanying escort tra­velling out of country for medical treatment;
  • You are an international student that has passed their 14-day quarantine period;
  • You are a farm worker;
  • You are an educator who cannot access pharmacy-testing; or
  • You are in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:

There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx

  • The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre at National Arts Centre: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  
  • COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Howard Darwin Centennial Arena: Open daily 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Centretown Community Health Centre: Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 pm.
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday.
  • COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre at 300 Coventry Road: Reopens at 300 Coventry road on Wednesday, April 7.

Vaccine eligibility screening tool:

To check and see if you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Ottawa, click here

COVID-19 screening tool:

The COVID-19 screening tool for students heading back to in-person classes can be found here.

Symptoms:

Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath

Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion

Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup

Ottawa schools are open despite rising COVID-19 cases

Ottawa's medical officer of health says schools will be open on Tuesday.

Dr. Vera Etches made the comment while speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA's "Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron" Monday afternoon.

"I'm sending a message today that schools will be open tomorrow. It's something we're reviewing. We'll give you notice if they are needing to close," she said.

Etches said that the number of school outbreaks in Ottawa, where there is proven transmission of COVID-19 within the school, has been relatively stable but she and her staff are reviewing the data to advise on an approach for local schools.

Etches has been a strong proponent of keeping schools open as much as possible through the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that closing them is often more harmful to families and students. She stressed that the risk in schools is not transmission from student to student or from student to staff, but from staff bringing COVID-19 into the schools from the broader community, where cases are at an all-time high.

Joint letter from Ottawa, GTA docs calls for Ontario-wide stay-at-home order

A joint letter by the medical officers of health for three major public health units in Ontario, including Ottawa's, is calling on the Ford government to issue an immediate stay-at-home order for the province amid rising COVID-19 case counts and ICU admissions.

The joint letter is addressed to Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams. Dr. Eileen de Villa of Toronto, Dr. Lawrence C. Loh of Peel Region, and Dr. Vera Etches of Ottawa co-signed it. Etches tweeted a copy of the letter on Monday.

"Given the rapid deterioration in local indicators across our three public health units, we are writing today to make urgent comment on the decision to impose a province-wide emergency brake," the letter says. "While the implementation of additional province-wide public health measures is welcome, stronger measures will be required to reverse the surge our health units (among others) currently face."

The three public health leads also called on Williams to review and trim the essential businesses list, impose travel restrictions between other regions within Ontario, introduce emergency paid sick leave and move schools to online or hybrid learning in areas where school outbreaks are significant.

 Active cases of COVID-19 hit record high

Ottawa Public Health is reporting another 237 people in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19, pushing the city's number of active cases to 1,815, the highest ever seen in the capital.

OPH's COVID-19 dashboard shows that there have been 18,260 total laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the first case was confirmed on March 11, 2020.

One more person in Ottawa has died of COVID-19. The city's pandemic death toll now stands at 468 residents.

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa
Infogram

'Bruce's dad' issues public health message ahead of local comedy festival

It appears the saga of "Bruce", the fictitious Ottawa Public Health social media employee who forgot to fill in a Super Bowl tweet with the correct information, continues with Bruce's "dad" weighing in.

A tweet by the Crackup Comedy Festival includes a "special message from Ottawa Public Health" in which "Bruce's dad" addresses some online comments about his son.

In reality, "Bruce's dad" is Canadian comedian Colin Mochrie, who is hosting a Family Feud-style game show for the Crackup Comedy Festival on April 9, pitting staff from local non-profit Carefor against comedians John Wing, Patrick McKenna, David Brennan, Jessica Holmes, Jennifer Candy and Big Daddy Tazz.

Mochrie went on to say that you can make Bruce's life easier by washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying home, getting tested for COVID-19 when you're sick and "generally just stay[ing] away from people."