Dec. 29 COVID-19 update: Ontario hits record high, Nurses rep expecting post-holiday surge, Queensway Carleton Hospital, LTC homes restrict visiting
Special to WC Online
OTTAWA – Ottawa is reporting another spike of daily COVID-19 cases in the city with over 650, driving up active cases as Ontario reports its single highest daily case count ever.
According to Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) report for Wednesday, December 29, there are 653 new cases in the city, up from Tuesday’s 424.
This means Ottawa represents about 6.3 per cent of all cases reported in the province on Wednesday.
Ottawa’s total case count since the pandemic started now stands at 39,823.
This is the third highest daily count for Ottawa. The day that saw the highest daily count was on December 23 with 724 cases; followed by December 22 with 667 cases.
To address the ballooning numbers, OPH said it has added 8,000 more COVID-19 vaccination appointments to city-run clinics.
Meanwhile, three people have been able to leave hospitals in Ottawa, bringing the total number of patients in hospital with an infection to eight.
One person remains in the ICU.
While two outbreaks at childcare centres and schools have cleared, two new ones have been declared. This brings the total number of ongoing outbreaks to 40.
The new outbreaks have been reported at Beacon Learning Centre with one staff case and Forest Valley Program with two staff cases.
Three new outbreaks are reported at healthcare institutions. There are now 23 ongoing outbreaks in such settings.
And with one new outbreak in the community, there are now five ongoing outbreaks in the city.
The rate of COVID per 100,000 residents remains frozen at 377.2, as does the positivity rate in the community at 19.2 per cent.
There are no new deaths to report in Ottawa, keeping the local death toll at 621.
Ontario, on the other hand, set a new daily record with 10,436 new cases of COVID reported on Wednesday.
This beats the previous record of 10,412 that was reported on Saturday, December 25.
Of the new cases, 124 involve the Omicron variant on Wednesday, up from Tuesday’s 63.
However, 374 of the newly reported cases involved the Delta variant, up from yesterday’s 26.
Most of the new daily cases are reported among the 20-39 age group with 4,525. This is followed by the 40-59 age group with 2,698 and the 12-19 age group with 1,126.
The total number of cases in Ontario since the pandemic started is now at 725,841.
In the last seven days alone, Ontario recorded 68,661 cases of the virus across the province.
Three more deaths have also been added to the provincial death toll, bringing the total number of deaths since the pandemic started to 10,171.
However, in the last 24 hours, 3,832 more cases have resolved.
Public Health Ontario (PHO) has the Eastern Ontario Health Unit reporting 78 new cases in the region, up from Tuesday’s 71.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has 95 new cases on Wednesday, up from the previous day’s 54.
And the Renfrew County and District Health Unit doubled in cases in a day, reporting 44 new cases on Wednesday, up from Tuesday’s 28.
There are 726 people in hospital with an infection in the province — that’s 235 more than the day before.
Three additional people have entered ICUs, bringing the total up to 190, while three people that were in ICUs on a ventilator were able to leave (dropping the current total to 104).
Of those in hospital but not in the ICU, 150 patients are unvaccinated; 186 are fully vaccinated and nine are partially vaccinated.
Of the patients in ICUs, 70 are unvaccinated; 35 are fully vaccinated and two are partially vaccinated.
Queensway Carleton Hospital to restrict visits
NEPEAN – Following news from the Ontario government pausing general visitations at long-term care homes due to rising COVID cases (See story below), the Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) in Ottawa announced it will be doing the same.
In an announcement on its website and social media yesterday (Dec. 28), the hospital said it will be tightening its visitor restrictions given the spread of the Omicron variant in the community.
The restrictions go into effect today (Dec. 29).
The hospital isn’t scheduling visits in advance however, one designated visitor or essential care partner can still visit a patient once per day for an hour.
Visitors will be required to pass a screening and should not enter the hospital if they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. They will also need to show proof of vaccination beforehand.
For more information, visit the QCH’s website.
The Ottawa Hospital also announced it’s tightening of visitor restrictions on Dec. 20.
In their announcement, the hospital said its restrictions are now at the intermediate level.
For more information, visit The Ottawa Hospital website.
Nurse rep expecting surge of COVID cases in New Year
CANADA – With Canada recording more than two million total COVID-19 cases, there are mounting concerns over how provincial health systems will cope with an expected surge of infections early in the New Year.
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNUP President Linda Silas said her members are bracing themselves for the “big bump” usually seen two weeks after exposure to the virus.
She added there are worries hospitals could become overwhelmed with new cases as a result of holiday gatherings and the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Several provinces reported record high daily case counts over the Christmas weekend.
British Columbia broke a fifth record in a row on Saturday, with 2,552 new cases. Over a three-day period, the province saw more than 6,200 additional infections.
Quebec reported 8,231 cases, and Health Minister Christian Dube urged people to reduce contacts after hospitalizations climbed by more than 140 over a four-day period. Dube tweeted that 320 people were admitted to hospital while 179 were released between Dec. 22 and 26.
On Monday (Dec. 27), Montreal’s executive committee renewed the local state of emergency was declared on Dec. 21 for another five days.
Manitoba announced new public health restrictions on Monday after recording eight new COVID-19 related deaths and 2,154 cases over a three-day period. As of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, indoor and outdoor gatherings are now capped at 50 per cent of the venue’s capacity or 250 people, whichever is fewer.
New restrictions are also now in effect in New Brunswick, where the province announced it would impose a 50 per cent capacity limit on restaurants, stores, bars, gyms and other establishments after officials reported 639 new cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period.
In Ontario, more than 10,000 cases were recorded on Saturday (Dec. 25), setting a record.
Elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador reported a record 357 infections in the last three days, while Prince Edward Island reported 156 cases over the same period. Nova Scotia recorded 581 COVID-19 cases, including an outbreak at the Halifax Infirmary site of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.
Also on Monday, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19 after taking a rapid test. He tweeted he will remain in isolation and continue to follow public health guidelines, but did not share any details about the state of his health or where he may have contracted the virus.
Province’s LTC homes to restrict visiting
ONTARIO – The Ontario government has introduced new temporary restrictions regarding long-term care homes.
As of tomorrow (Dec. 30) at 12:01 a.m., general visits will not be permitted however caregivers will still be allowed to enter homes.
Residents will also not be permitted to take day absences for social purposes. This announcement comes as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 sweeps through southern Ontario, with more than 8,000 new infections reported Tuesday (Dec. 28).
Ontario’s Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips says community spread is the biggest single factor affecting outbreaks in care homes.
“Today, there are 41 long-term care homes in an outbreak, up from 37 yesterday,” he said during a media availability. “Ninety-three residents and 161 staff tested positive for COVID-19. As of today, there are no long-term care residents in hospital as a result of COVID-19. We’re implementing new measures to protect our most vulnerable. All general visits to long-term care homes will be paused unless you are visiting a relative in a palliative situation.”
As of Dec. 22, over 84 per cent of long-term care residents and 43 per cent of staff have received their booster.
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