Aug. 31 COVID-19 update: Many numbers holding steady, Runny noses removed from school screening symptoms

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting no new hospital admissions due to COVID-19 and no new cases of the Delta variant, but states there are 14 new COVID-19 cases.

As of today (Aug. 31), there are 10 people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19, but none in intensive care.

There have been 203 cases of the virus confirmed in the city over the last seven days, bringing the local active case count to 227.

No new cases of the Delta variant are being reported on Tuesday, which leaves Ottawa’s Delta pandemic tally at 303, and 181 in the last 30 days.

There are no ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa.

Ontario is reporting 525 new cases of COVID-19 today. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 434 of the new infections are in people who are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.

OPH says 79 per cent of Ottawa residents over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 86 per cent have had at least one shot. Local vaccination figures are updated by the health unit every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

OPH continues to report Ottawa’s rate of infection per 100,000 residents for those vaccinated against the virus is 2.4, whereas the rate for those unvaccinated is 51.9. The rate per 100,000 residents for those who are still waiting for their second shot is 26. Overall, the health unit says the risk of COVID-19 infection among the unvaccinated vaccine-eligible population is 22 times higher than it is for the fully vaccinated population.

Ottawa residents being tested for COVID-19 are seeing positive results 1.9 per cent of the time.

There have been 28,353 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa (27,533 resolved) since the spring of 2020.

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

Province trims symptoms for school COVID screeners

ONTARIO – Ontario has dropped runny noses and headaches from the COVID-19 symptoms list that would require children to stay home from school or daycare.

The province’s updated online screening tool lists five categories of symptoms “most commonly associated with COVID-19.”

Those are fever and chills, cough or barking cough, shortness of breath, losing taste or smell and nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Children reporting any of those symptoms are to stay home, isolate and seek COVID-19 testing. 

A spokeswoman for the health minister confirmed that a runny nose, sore throat or difficulty swallowing, congested nose, headache, and extreme tiredness or muscle aches were removed from the screening tool.

Some symptoms were also removed for people over age 18 taking the questionnaire. Removed symptoms for that age group include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, runny nose, sore throat, congestion, headache, stomach pain, pink eye and falling down often. 

Spokewoman Alexandra Hilkene said health units can give further advice on isolation requirements based on things like the local COVID-19 situation and whether an individual was in contact with a confirmed case.

People can also attend school if an individual or someone in the household started experiencing mild virus symptoms like a headache, fatigue, muscle aches or joint pain within 48 hours of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province’s chief medical officer of health indicated earlier this month the screening list for schools and daycares was to be narrowed after hearing from parents about disruption created by associated testing and finding fewer cases in those with mild symptoms. 

“We did a lot of testing for very mild symptoms like runny nose, and we found we didn’t get a lot of positives at our population level,” Dr. Kieran Moore said during an Aug. 3 news conference.  “The symptom list is smaller, so the requirement for testing should be fewer, and hopefully a percentage of tests that are positive would be higher, so less impact on families, less need to go get tested.” 

Screening guidelines for Ontario schools have been revised several times during the pandemic. 

Virus testing sites reported long lines when schools opened last fall with strict screening requirements as the province saw a rise in cases. 

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