Aug. 6 COVID-19 update: City’s first ICU  patient in six weeks, Border to open to vaccinated Americans

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reports one resident is being treated in a local intensive care unit for COVID-19, the first in six weeks, as 18 new cases of the virus are being confirmed in the city.

Ottawa hospital ICUs had been free of COVID-19 patients since June 23. There are three people with COVID-19 in Ottawa hospitals as of today, (Aug. 6).

OPH is reporting 65 active COVID-19 cases in the city. There have been 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last seven days.

After adding seven new cases of the Delta variant to its tally yesterday (Aug. 5), the health unit says it isn’t seeing any new cases of the variant, despite today’s overall daily case count. There have been 59 cases of Delta in Ottawa over the course of the pandemic; 17 in the last 30 days.

There continues to be a COVID-19 outbreak at Grandir Ensemble Garderie La Maisonnee daycare, affecting two children.

Ottawa’s weekly COVID-19 incidence rate is up to 4.9 per 100,000 residents Friday, from 4.1 per 100,000 on Thursday.

The city’s positivity rate is also up slightly, to 0.7 per cent from 0.5 per cent.

No new COVID-19-related deaths keeps Ottawa’s pandemic death toll at 593. That number has not changed since July 8.

There have been 27,850 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa (27,192 resolved) since March 2020. 

The City of Ottawa has administered 87 per cent of the 1,387,790 COVID-19 vaccine doses it’s received. According to OPH’s vaccination dashboard, 770,131 residents have had at least one shot and 674,412 have had two. That means 83 per cent of residents over 12 have had one shot and 73 per cent have had both.

Ontario is reporting 340 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths from the virus today, which includes several deaths that occurred more than six weeks ago.

The province says 16 of the deaths, including one of a person under the age of 19, were reported for the first time on Friday due to data cleaning work. 

The case numbers are based on 23,448 tests. 

There were 110 patients in intensive care with COVID-related critical illness and 76 people on ventilators. 

Border to open to vaccinated Americans

CANADA – Starting next week, Canada’s borders will open up again to Americans — but only those who are fully vaccinated and meet certain government criteria.

Travel restrictions, will remain in place for visiting Canadians to the U.S.

According to an announcement by the Canada Border Services Agency yesterday (Aug. 5), fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be eligible to enter Canada for non-essential reasons like tourism, starting Aug. 9.

These individuals must be fully vaccinated, either by having two doses of the same type of vaccine, or a mix and match, at least 14 days before entering Canada. Accepted vaccinations include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen.

They also must be residing in and travelling from the U.S., as well as have a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result received in the U.S.

Entrants need to be asymptomatic; submit their mandatory information via ArriveCAN, including proof of vaccination in English or French; and take a test on arrival (if required).

This news comes as about 9,000 border workers are preparing to strike across the country today if a contract wasn’t reached by 6 a.m.

Long line-ups and lengthy delays are expected at border crossings, as well as airports.

On July 21, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally extended its travel restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border at least until Aug. 21.

Officials at DHS specifically cited the rampant spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 as part of their decision, which includes Mexico, and promised to keep talking with Canada.

Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents can already return; the rest of the world is to follow in September. 

AstraZeneca recpients expected to be allowed in U.S.

CANADA – Justin Trudeau’s government is optimistic Canadians who received the AstraZeneca vaccine will be allowed in to the United States.

President Joe Biden’s administration is moving ahead with vaccine passports and AstraZeneca is not approved in the U.S.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker’s second-quarter financial results showed the company and its sub-licensees delivered more than 700 million doses of the vaccine to over 170 countries in the first half of this year.

That includes 80 million doses that went to the COVAX initiative for low- and middle-income countries.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says Canada has worked with international researchers to get the best possible advice on immunization. LeBlanc admits every country can choose which vaccines are most effective.

Some of the businesses and attractions in the U.S. demanding vaccine passports are refusing to recognize the AstraZeneca shot. America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been clear people should not mix and match vaccines.

Quebec has offered third doses to people with the AstraZeneca shot so that if they want to travel they have two mRNA shots on their documents.

Alberta recently said it would be looking closely at doing the same however, experts have said there is no scientific or medical reason to get a third shot.

“In terms of protection, one dose of AstraZeneca followed by one dose of mRNA is extremely efficacious,” Toronto-based pharmacologist Sabina Vohra-Miller said in a previous interview. “In fact, there’s data showing that it’s just as efficacious as two doses of mRNA,”

Epidemiologist Dr. Craig Jenne says there’s no evidence pointing to the third dose providing any benefit right now.

“These guidelines are continually evolving,” Jenne said.

“We’re not seeing a signal yet that a third dose is needed, but as these studies continue, as we move further and further into the future, we may get that signal at some point recommending a booster.”

More than 260,000 Canadians have received the AstraZeneca shot.

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