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

Fast Facts:

  • Ottawa Public Health plans to issue an order putting a limit on the number of people who can gather at outdoor recreational facilities like skating rinks.
  • Residents of the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre were the first long-term care residents in Ottawa to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Ottawa Public Health reported another triple-digit rise in new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
  • The City of Ottawa says the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a rise in anti-Asian racism in the city.
  • The Ottawa Hospital says more than 9,300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ottawa to date.

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

  • New cases: 123 new cases on Tuesday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 10,595
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 71.1
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 4.2 per cent (Dec 28, 2020 - Jan. 3, 2021)
  • Reproduction Number: 1.31 (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

Gathering limits at skating rinks and other outdoor places coming

Ottawa Public Health plans to issue a class order to limit the number of people who can gather at outdoor recreational amenities.

The order, which is expected to come into effect today, would cap the number of people on skating rinks or in gathering sites such as parking lots, trailheads or the top and bottom of tobogganing hills at 25.

Dr. Etches and Emergency and Protective Services General Manager Anthony Di Monte said bylaw officers will be focused on educating residents about the new rules over handing out fines, but officers have the discretion to issue fines if necessary.

Perley Rideau residents receive COVID-19 vaccine

The City of Ottawa has begun a pilot project to move doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of the Ottawa Hospital and deliver them directly to long-term care homes.

Residents of the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre were the first in the region to receive the vaccine at their long-term care home. 93-year-old Arnold Roberts received the first dose of the vaccine at the 450-bed facility on Tuesday.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was previously only available at the Ottawa Hospital's clinic at its Civic Campus. Due to the nature of the vaccine requiring ultra-cold storage, only workers from long-term care homes and other priority settings who could travel to the hospital were able to be vaccinated. However, Pfizer recently lifted restrictions on the storage and transportation of the vaccine.

Another triple-digit COVID-19 case count in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health says 123 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa, marking another day of triple-digit case counts in the city.

Ottawa Public Health has recorded 10,595 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and 393 deaths.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said the people who are in hospital now are all from the broader community and are not residents of long-term care homes. She also cautioned that the number of hospitalizations has nearly doubled in the past week, and said that if the trend continues, it could put other care, such as surgeries, at risk.

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa
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Reports of anti-Asian racism spike in Ottawa in 2020

The City of Ottawa says the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a spike in anti-Asian racism in the nation's capital.

In a post on its website on Tuesday, the City reported a dramatic rise in the number of hate incidents targeting residents of East Asian descent.

"Ottawa prides itself on our multiculturalism," the City says. "But since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our city has seen increasing reports of hate incidents targeting Asian residents. Although anti-Asian racism previously existed in Ottawa, the pandemic has created a new form of anti-Asian racism that links China and the novel coronavirus."

The City says, in 2020, the Ottawa Police Service responded to 15 reports of hate incidents targeting people of East Asian descent, a dramatic rise from the two cases reported in 2019.