People practice physical distancing as they skate on the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, on the first weekend of Winterlude, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. The winter festival, which usually features artistic performances, an ice carving competition and a park transformed into a winter playground, is being held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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

Fast Facts:

  • Nine students test positive for COVID-19 during Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 rapid testing clinics at 47 schools
  • Ottawa Public Health reports 34 of 65 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday involve residents under the age of 30
  • The Ontario government says residents over the age of 80 will soon be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
  • The NCC urges people to visit the Rideau Canal and Gatineau Park during off-peak hours this weekend

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

  • New COVID-19 cases: 65 new cases on Friday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 14,216
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 33.7
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.8 per cent (Feb. 10 – Feb. 16)
  • Reproduction Number: 1.08 (seven day average)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says there are five reasons to seek testing for COVID-19:

  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms. OR
  • 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. OR
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health. OR
  • You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care. OR
  • You have traveled to the U.K., or have come into contact with someone who recently traveled to the U.K., please go get tested immediately (even if you have no symptoms).

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 Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 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 Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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

COVID-19 rapid testing clinics identify nine students with COVID-19 at Ottawa schools

Ottawa Public Health and its health partners are holding a COVID-19 rapid testing clinic this weekend for thousands of students, staff and their families.

The clinic at St. Patrick's High School is for students, staff and their families in the area.

During the weekends of Jan. 29-30, Feb. 6 and 7 and Feb. 13, 14 and 15, Ottawa Public Health, CHEO and local health partners ran school-based COVID-19 rapid testing clinics. Students, staff and their families from a total of 47 Ottawa schools were invited to the testing clinics over the three weekends.

Over the past three weekends, 2,336 individuals were tested for COVID-19, including 994 students.  They included asymptomatic and symptomatic students, along with students with high-risk exposures.  

Ottawa Public Health says nine students tested positive over the course of the three weekends. Eleven other people tested positive for COVID-19.

More than half of Ottawa’s 65 new COVID-19 cases involve residents under 30

Ottawa Public Health reported 65 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, the 29th straight day with fewer than 100 cases of COVID-19.

No new deaths linked to novel coronavirus were reported on Friday.

Thirty-four of the 65 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday involved residents under the age of 30.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa on March 11, there have been 14,216 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 435 deaths.

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa
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Seniors may be notified by doctors, advertisements on when they could get the COVID-19 vaccine

The Ontario government says it will be up to each local public health unit to determine how people over the age of 80 will be notified of their turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Adults over the age of 80 will be included in Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution plan. Other priority groups include residents, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes.

On Friday, Ontario outlined its on track to transition to Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan by April.

The government expects to receive about 186,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and then a little more than 173,000 doses the following two weeks.

Only visit Rideau Canal and Gatineau Park during off-peak hours, NCC urges

With mild temperatures in the forecast this weekend, the National Capital Commission is encouraging people to wait until off-peak periods if they plan to visit the Rideau Canal Skateway and popular trails.

"Weekends from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. are the busiest and, if possible, should be avoided in order to prevent crowding and help ensure safe physical distancing," said the NCC in a statement.

"Dispersing use throughout the NCC's vast winter activity network and at all times of the day is the best way to ensure that all of our recreational assets can be used safely and remain open."