Library at Parliament Hill from above, overlooking the Ottawa River on winter's day. (Photo by SGC on Unsplash)

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

Fast Facts:

  • Ottawa's top doctor says Ottawa's COVID-19 infection rates are three times higher since Christmas
  • Quebec police step up patrols to enforce new overnight curfew
  • Ottawa sets a new one-day record for COVID-19 cases with 234 cases on Saturday
  • Kingston Health Sciences Centre prepares for hospital patients from COVID-19 hot spot regions

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

  • New cases: 234 new cases on Saturday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 11,194
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 82.6
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 4.7 per cent (Jan. 1, 2021 - Jan. 7, 2021)
  • Reproduction Number: 1.03 (seven day average)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says there are four 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.

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.

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at McNabb Community Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Symptoms:

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

Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallow, 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 approaching 'Grey' territory: Dr. Etches says COVID-19 levels 'dramatically higher' since Christmas

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches warns Ottawa's COVID-19 levels are "dramatically higher" since before the holiday season.

"Ottawa's COVID-19 levels are dramatically higher since before the holidays: three times the rate of infection, highest yet," said Dr. Etches on Twitter.

"We are deep into the 'Red' zone and approaching 'Grey' territory; three times the percent of tests coming back positive; 2.5 times the hospitalizations; wastewater levels increasing."

Ottawa's COVID-19 rate per 100,000 people is 82.6 over the previous seven days, and the positivity rate was 4.7 per cent for the week of Jan. 1 to 7.

On Dec. 24, Ottawa's COVID-19 cases per 100,000 was 29.2, while the positivity rate for the period of Dec. 14 to 20 was 1.2 per cent.

If we do not reduce the number of close contacts that enable COVID-19 transmission, our hospitals will not be able to maintain services, and the number of deaths will increase. This is a collective task, one where we need to support not blame each other through this darkest time.

— Dr. Vera Etches (@VeraEtches) January 9, 2021

Quebec curfew: What you need to know about the new rules in Gatineau and western Quebec

Gatineau and most of Quebec are now under a curfew for the next four weeks.

Residents must remain at home between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. People who violate the overnight curfew risk a fine of $1,000 to $6,000.

The MRC des Collines de l'Outaouais police says its officers will enforce the new curfew in its territory.

"Any citizen who is not at his/her residence between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. will be considered in violation, except for specific derogations," said the MRC des Collines police, noting essential workers and essential travel for medical reasons are exemptions.

"It will be up to each citizen to demonstrate that he or she is covered by one of the authorized derogations."

Ottawa breaks daily COVID-19 case count record for second day in a row

Two weeks after Christmas, Ottawa set a new one-day record for COVID-19 cases.

Ottawa Public Health reported 234 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the second straight day with over 200 cases of novel coronavirus in the capital.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 is 1,104, the first time the number of active cases has surpassed 1,000.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa on March 11, there have been 11,194 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 395 deaths.

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa
Infogram

Kingston Health Sciences Centre prepares for hospital patients from COVID regions

The Kingston Health Sciences Centre is preparing to accept patients from hospitals in regions hard hit by COVID-19.

On Thursday, Ontario Health instructed hospitals across the province to prepare to accept COVID-19 patients from different cities as case numbers spike and space in intensive care units reaches capacity.

Dr. David Pichora, president of Kingston Health Sciences Centre, says the region had a dozen of its 77 critical care beds available, as of Saturday afternoon.

"It very well could be COVID patients," Dr. Pichora tells CTV News Ottawa. "It’s medicine or surgery patients, ICU, non-ICU, COVID, non-COVID, it’s whatever will make a difference to the hospitals that are really overwhelmed."