July 21 COVID-19 update: Zeros across city’s board, Arnprior walk-in clinic, Ottawa clinics consolidate, Top doctor concerned about kids in school

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Everything is coming up zeros for the City of Ottawa and as far as COVID-19 is concerned, that’s a good thing.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) cleared an outbreak at a local shelter, which had been affecting three people, today (July 20). That was the last remaining outbreak in the city.

OPH, is confirming seven new cases of COVID-19, and adding six cases of the delta variant to its overall tally. There have been 39 delta variant cases in Ottawa during the pandemic. According to its dashboard, OPH says nine of those cases have come in the last 30 days.

There have been 20 new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa over the last seven days. The health unit is tracking  25 active cases of COVID-19 in the city.

It’s been a week since anyone was treated at an Ottawa hospital for COVID-19. No new novel coronavirus-related deaths in the city keeps the local pandemic death toll at 593.

Ottawa’s weekly COVID-19 incidence rate is up slightly, to 2.3 per 100,000 residents.

The positivity rate is also up to 0.2 per cent from 0.1 per cent.

There have been 27,752 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa (27,134 resolved) since March of 2020.

The City of Ottawa has administered 94 per cent of the 1,229,842 COVID-19 vaccine doses it’s received.

OPH says 763,261 residents have had at least one dose, which equals 83 per cent of the population over the age of 12. Meanwhile, 613,224 residents have had two shots, equalling 66 per cent of residents over 12 and 68 per cent of those older than 18.

City to cut vaccination clinics

OTTAWA – The City of Ottawa is cutting the number of local COVID-19 vaccination clinics by more than half now that the majority of residents are immunized and thousands more set to receive their shots in the coming weeks.

The city believes it can continue to administer the necessary number of vaccines much more efficiently at a total of five community clinics, rather than having to staff and operate the current compliment of 11.

Starting today (July 21), vaccine clinics will be operating at the following five locations:

  • Eva James Memorial Community Centre – 65 Stonehaven Dr.
  • Nepean Sportsplex – 1701 Woodroffe Ave.
  • Ottawa City Hall – 110 Laurier Ave. West
  • Queensway Carleton Hospital – 3045 Baseline Rd.
  • Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA – 265 Centrum Blvd.

Anyone with a future appointment at a previously available community clinic is encouraged to re-book now for an earlier date at the most convenient location. The city says efforts are also underway to reach out directly to these individuals.

Transportation support services are available to assist in getting to and from your appointment.

City officials say there are many appointments available for anyone who still needs a vaccine. Residents are encouraged to visit the provincial booking system or use this tool to find a convenient time and date, or drop-in at select clinics without an appointment. The drop-in locations are updated daily on ottawapublichealth.ca.

Arnprior walk-in vaccination clinic

ARNPRIOR – There’s a walk-in vaccination clinic being offered in Arnprior Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. at Arnprior District High School at 90 Ottawa St.

All residents ages 12 and up can attend for either their first or second shots. Vaccines will be administered subject to availability.

Regularly check the Arnprior Life Facebook page for vaccine availability.

Province’s doctor says immunity level might not be high enough for schools

ONTARIO – There may not be high enough levels of immunity to COVID-19 across the province by September for kids to return to school unmasked, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said yesterday (July 20).

His comments came a day after the government’s science advisory table released recommendations for COVID-19 protocols in schools when they resume, including loosening rules on masking in low-risk scenarios.

Dr. Kieran Moore said he would define low risk in that context as a community that is seeing fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 people per week.

“It may be that we have a very cautious start in September and then monitor the situation because I don’t know that we’ll achieve that high community immunity that we need in September,” he said.

Roughly 80 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but Moore is hoping for 90 per cent to better protect the people of the province from the highly transmissible delta variant. He said he would support a regional approach to masking rules in schools, though that may be difficult to implement.

“We’ve seen across Ontario the rates of illness can be quite variable and that delta can suddenly surge, as it has in Grey Bruce and Waterloo or Porcupine and North Bay and then percolate in those communities,” he said. “So, in those communities I would probably be, if I was the (local) medical officer of health, advising masks be worn if school was to return and delta persists in those communities because it can spread so, so quickly from one person to six to 36, etc.”

The best thing people can do to ensure schools can return safely is for as many eligible Ontarians as possible to get vaccinated, Moore said.

The science table recommended masking continue in moderate and high-risk scenarios. Schools should not close for in-person learning except in the most “catastrophic” situations.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, one of the contributors to the report, said they want to minimize disruption to kids’ education, and tools such as testing and tracing, and masking are important ways to achieve that.

She emphasized the report does not recommend ditching masks in September – rather, the low-risk part of the framework is forward-looking to a time when rates and disease burden are very low and community immunity is very high.

“The masking should align with public health guidance for the low-risk scenario,” said Thampi, a pediatric infectious diseases physician. “Some public health units may choose to take a more cautious approach, because at the end of the day masks are one of the easiest measures to adjust throughout the year. But we wanted to acknowledge that this is not an indefinite measure.”

Ontario’s back-to-school plan is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

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