COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for Nov. 2, 2021

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

Fast Facts:

  • The Ottawa Hospital has placed nearly 200 employees on unpaid leave for failing to be vaccinated by Nov. 1.
  • Active COVID-19 cases held steady in Ottawa on Monday.
  • Health experts say drug overdoses have increased during the pandemic.

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

  • New COVID-19 cases: 29 cases on Monday.
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 30,883
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 15.1
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.5 per cent (seven-day average)
  • Reproduction Number: 0.98 (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 are a patient and/or their 1 accompanying escort tra­velling out of country for medical treatment;
  • 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.

Long-term care staff, caregivers, volunteers and visitors who are fully immunized against COVID-19 are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering or visiting a long-term care home.

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

  • COVID-19 Assessment Centre at McNabb Arena at 180 Percy St.: Open Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
  • The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
  • The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Kemptville) – 15 Campus Drive: Open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 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, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday

COVID-19 screening tool:

The COVID-19 screening tool for schools in Ottawa and eastern Ontario. All students, teachers and school staff must complete the COVID-19 School screening tool daily.

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 Hospital places 186 employees on unpaid leave for violating vaccination policy

The Ottawa Hospital has placed 186 employees on unpaid leave who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The deadline for hospital employees to be fully vaccinated was Sunday at midnight, unless they had an approved medical or human rights exemption.

A hospital spokesperson said Monday that 186 employees were deemed non-compliant with the policy. The employees are full-time, part-time and casual, from a variety of roles throughout the hospital.

“Hospitals have a moral obligation to lead by setting the highest vaccination standard possible,” spokesperson Michaela Schreiter said. “Those who become fully vaccinated will be welcomed back.”

The hospital notes that more than 99 per cent of its staff, physicians and residents are fully vaccinated. 

Active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa hold steady

Ottawa Public Health says 29 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa, but the number of active cases remains stable.

To date, OPH has reported 30,883 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. No new deaths were reported on Monday. The city's pandemic death toll stands at 603 residents.

The number of known active cases is holding steady below 200, but the number of people in local hospitals with active COVID-19 ticked up slightly again on Monday. The case count remains relatively low, but has doubled in the past four days.

The seven-day average in Ottawa is 23.6 cases per day, down from 27.9 one week ago and down from 49.4 four weeks ago.

A COVID-19 outbreak at the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital has grown to 10 patients and two staff members since it began on Oct. 26. Outbreaks are also in effect at nine local elementary schools, two daycares, a restaurant and a shelter.

  COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa
Infogram

Ottawa's toxic street drug problem is getting much worse

For five years health experts say Ottawa’s toxic drug supply has been leading to worse overdoses, and more deaths.

In the first quarter of 2018 there were 14 opioid overdose related deaths in the city; three years later, that number has doubled.

“Particularly since COVID started, we started to see some of the worst overdoses we’ve ever seen,” said Anne Marie Hopkins, a manager at Ottawa Inner City Health working primarily in their consumption and treatment service centre.

Making matters worse is that benzodiazepines, a class of near-debilitating sedatives, are being cut into fentanyl - a dangerous opioid responsible for 87 per cent of all opioid overdose related pandemic deaths - with more frequency.

A study from Public Health Ontario found that benzodiazepines werepresent in one in 20 opioid related overdose deaths prior to the pandemic. In 2020, that number skyrocketed to one in four.

Adding to the complication, overdose-reversing medicines like naloxone won’t reverse the extreme sedation caused by benzodiazepines.

Health care experts say the solutions in place aren’t equipped to handle the effects of the increasingly toxic drug supply. They say a safe drug supply, more injection sites, and increased housing supports are all essential aspects of a viable long-term solution.