COVID hospitalizations, wastewater average rising in Ottawa

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa’s average coronavirus wastewater level keeps climbing.
  • Hospitalizations, outbreaks and test positivity do as well.
  • Kemptville sees its highest wastewater average of 2022.

The region is in the seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic driven by the BA.5 coronavirus subvariant. Health officials say people should get all COVID-19 vaccines they’re eligible for, wear masks indoors and follow isolation guidelines.

In its most recent weekly update, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said coronavirus wastewater levels and the city’s test positivity percentage were high.

The latest Ottawa update

Wastewater

The average level of coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater has been rising for a month. It’s higher than the peaks of most previous waves, but below the heights reached in April 2021 and 2022.

This average is about four times higher than it was a month ago and 16 times higher than a year ago.

Researchers measuring and sharing the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater reported new pandemic records for daily readings and the weekly average in April 2022. The most recent data is from July 7. (613covid.ca)

Hospitals

Twenty-four Ottawa residents with COVID-19 are in local hospitals, according to OPH’s latest update. Three of those patients are in intensive care.

Both numbers rise to levels not seen since mid-May.

The hospitalization figures above don’t include all patients. For example, they leave out patients admitted for other reasons who then test positive for COVID-19, those admitted for lingering COVID-19 complications, and those transferred from other health units.

Including those categories, 82 COVID-19 patients were in hospital as of its most recent data. This is also back to mid-May levels.

A graphic breaking down Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Ottawa Public Health has a COVID-19 hospital count that shows all hospital patients who tested positive for COVID, including those admitted for other reasons, and who live in other areas. There were 82 as of July 10. (Ottawa Public Health)

Tests, outbreaks and cases

Testing strategies changed under the contagious Omicron variant, meaning many COVID-19 cases aren’t reflected in current counts. Public health officials now only track and report outbreaks in health-care settings.

Ottawa’s average test positivity rate for all residents goes up further to 18 per cent. It sat around 10 per cent for most of June before increasing around the start of summer.

There are currently 29 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa. That number has doubled since the start of July. About half of these outbreaks are in retirement homes.

OPH reported 278 more cases and no more deaths over four days.

Vaccines

As of the most recent weekly update, 93 per cent of Ottawa residents age five and up had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 89 per cent had at least two.

Sixty-four per cent of Ottawans age 12 and over had at least three doses, and 13 per cent had four. Eligibility is more limited for third and fourth doses than for the first two.

Across the region

Wastewater levels have mixed trends across Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, including the highest number of the year in Kemptville last week. These levels are slowly rising in Kingston.

Data from other parts of the region is either at least a week old or unavailable.

Western Quebec is reporting 66 COVID-19 hospitalizations, two of them in intensive care.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting a stable total of 21 COVID hospitalizations including two patients in intensive care.

That doesn’t include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Hospitalizations there are low and stable.

Across eastern Ontario, between 81 and 92 per cent of eligible residents have received at least two vaccine doses, and between 59 and 71 per cent of adults have had at least three.

Administrator