Aug. 3 COVID-19 update: One new case, School news, New doses, Fourth wave, Feds return to work

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – The long weekend is over and the first work week of August (Aug. 3) begins with one new confirmed case of COVID-19.

There have been 42 confirmed cases of the virus locally over the last seven days. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says that’s the same number of active cases that it knows about in Ottawa as of Tuesday, Aug. 3.

No one was admitted to an Ottawa hospital with COVID-19 and OPH says it’s not monitoring any ongoing outbreaks within any institutions or in the community at large.

There hasn’t been a COVID-19-related death reported in Ottawa since July 8. The city’s pandemic death toll remains at 593.

The local weekly COVID-19 incidence rate is at 4 per 100,000 residents.

Ottawa’s positivity rate remains at 0.5 per cent.

The city administered 89 per cent of the 1,333,790 COVID-19 vaccine doses it’s received. OPH updates local vaccination numbers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and its figures do not include what has been administered at local pharmacies.

So far, 767,352 residents over the age of 12 have received at least one shot of the vaccine, which equals 83 per cent of that population. OPH says 661,965 have had both shots, which makes up 72 per cent of all residents over 12.

There have been 27,828 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa (27,193 resolved) since March 2020.

Ontario is reporting 164 cases of COVID-19 today and 168 new cases for the holiday Monday. There were about 11,500 tests completed in the province on Aug. 2 and nearly 11,700 tests on Aug. 1.

uOttawa hosting post-secondary community clinic

OTTAWA – The University of Ottawa is hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for any Ottawa-area post-secondary students, as well as their friends and family members, can get the shot before the next school year begins.

The clinic started today, and runs from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., daily, until Sept. 6, at the Minto Sports Complex (810 King Edward Ave.). 

No appointments are needed, and the clinic is ready to administer first or second doses of the vaccine.

Adult high-school students, staff, and their friends and family aged 12 and over are also welcome to attend the clinic.

In a memo from Algonquin College, the school explains there will be a nurse on site to help international students determine if or what vaccination they require.

Renfrew County doctor pushing for vaccinations

RENFREW COUNTY – With back-to-school just over a month away, Renfrew County and District Health Unit’s (RCDHU) chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Cushman is issuing a summer school project.

Cushman wants all students, parents, and school staff of Renfrew County’s schools to ensure they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the start of the new school year.

“The homework is getting a vaccine or getting your vaccination status – getting a first dose, getting a second dose, and getting two weeks beyond your second dose,” Cushman said in a recent interview. “We’re now into August and we don’t have that many weeks left to do that.”

The doctor adds, in order to have a sense of normalcy within schools this fall, very high vaccination rates paired with continued public health measures will be necessary.

There are currently 17,000 eligible residents across the Renfrew region health unit eligible for a COVID-19 that have yet to receive a single dose.

RCDHU is set to continue offering more pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics as a way to further reduce barriers and make accessing the vaccine easier. 

Dr. Cushman is also hopeful businesses and services requiring ‘vaccine passports’ will motivate those still hesitant to get vaccinated.

2.3 million Pfizer doses expected this week

CANADA – The federal government is expecting to receive more than 2.3 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week, as public health officials brace for a potential fourth wave of infections.

The federal government has already received more than 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, enough to fully immunize all eligible Canadians.

As of Tuesday, the federal government had 6.7 million COVID-19 vaccines in its national reserve, an amount provinces and territories can draw from if they need more doses.

The new COVID-19 vaccine shipments come as Canada’s chief medical officer of health warns the country could be headed towards a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases if public health restrictions are lifted before vaccination rates pick up.

Speaking to reporters last Friday (July 30), Dr. Theresa Tam said an updated national modelling for the pandemic trajectory suggests the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 could drive a fourth wave of infections.

“The trajectory will depend on ongoing increase in fully vaccinated coverage and the timing, pace and extent of reopening,” Tam said. “While some resurgence is expected as measures are eased, this updated model shows if we maintain current levels of community-wide contacts, we would expect to see a modest increase in cases.”

Tam said the country could see a high increase of COVID-19 infections if reopening continues quickly before enough people are fully immunized.

“We could expect to see a sharp resurgence by the end of the summer,” she said.

She said the new forecast “reaffirms the need to take a cautious approach to relaxing public health measures to remain vigilant and responsive to signs of resurgence and to continue to increase first and second dose vaccine coverage.”

Canada reported an average of 640 new cases over the past seven days, she said, which is still 93 per cent lower than the peak of the third wave.

As of Friday (July 30), 80.3 per cent of those eligible had received a first dose, while 63.7 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

Tam said the country has made “great progress” on vaccinating those who are eligible over the last month, but there is a need to increase numbers of vaccinated even more.

“This means increasing fully vaccinated coverage above 80 per cent across all age groups and particularly in younger age groups where most of the transmission is occurring.”

Some feds head back to capital city office

OTTAWA – A small number of federal workers will return to the office for the first time in nearly a year and a half through a voluntary back-to-work pilot project called Pathfinder Project.

The project is open to all Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) employees across the National Capital Region and more than 200 workers have registered to return to the office on today (Aug. 3).

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, only employees who needed to be on-site due to the nature of their work or the need to use specific equipment were allowed into the workplace.

Those returning to their office will need to wear a mask and practice physical distancing, while enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols have been put in place.

According to PSPC, the directive remains to prioritize work from home for employees whenever possible and any participation in the Pathfinder Project is voluntary and flexible.

The back- to-work trial comes as approximately 225 staff within the Pacific, Ontario and Quebec regions have already made the return to the office.

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