July 28 COVID-19 update: City sees slight incline, Province to separate stats based on vaccination, myth busting

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Both new COVID-19 cases and active cases are creeping up a bit, although numbers haven’t ventured too far off from recent statistics.

Ottawa Public Health recorded eight new cases of the virus today (July 28), up from Tuesday’s (July 27) three, and 49 active cases, up from yesterday’s 42.

This brings the total number of cases since the pandemic started to 27,793.

One person still remains in hospital, although intensive care units remain empty of COVID patients. There are no new deaths added to the tally, keeping the death toll count at 593. There continue to be no new or ongoing outbreaks.

The rate per 100,000 COVID cases reported in the last seven days is staying at 3.9 while the positivity rate in the community has crept up to 0.7 per cent from yesterday’s 0.6 per cent.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is reporting two new cases, which is up from yesterday’s one. However, no new cases have been recorded with the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District or the Renfrew County District health units.

Province-wide there are 158 new cases. This brings the total count since the pandemic started to 549,734. Four new deaths have been added to the tally, bringing the provincial death toll to 9,325.

And in the last 24 hours, 171 more cases have resolved.

Ontario to provide data on vaccination-non-vaccinated splits

ONTARIO – Ontario is planning to provide more regular updates on how new COVID-19 cases are divided between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, as the province’s top doctor says the risk of getting the disease is 6.4 times higher for unvaccinated people.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said yesterday (July 28)  it’s complicated work to tie individual cases to vaccination status, but it’s important information. There are about 1.8 million eligible Ontarians who still need a second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the Delta variant is expected to cause a rise in cases in the coming months.

“I think that’s essential information to be able to relay to Ontarians, the absolute benefit of the reduction in risk of getting COVID if you’re immunized versus not immunized,” Moore said. 

Ontario reports new case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths daily, but does not provide the vaccination status of those people.

Public Health Ontario releases biweekly reports with some of those numbers based on vaccination status, and the Ministry of Health said yesterday it is in the process of revising that report to include rates of cases in vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

But the totals in the report are cumulative back to December, when very few people had received shots, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of recent cases.

Family physician Dr. Jennifer Kwan said she looked at two recent reports and spent hours calculating percentages of vaccinated and unvaccinated people that have been hospitalized or died in the previous month. 

She found between June 12 and July 10, nearly 96 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in the province were in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people.

All but one of the 11 deaths during that time in fully vaccinated people were in individuals aged 80 and older.

In that same period, 99.5 per cent of all COVID-19 intensive care unit admissions were in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people. Just one fully vaccinated person during that month ended up in ICU due to COVID-19.

Kwan creates charts and graphs based on daily case numbers and posts them on her widely followed Twitter account. She said she is often asked to indicate how many of the cases were in vaccinated people, but that information is not readily available.

She said it would be great if Public Health Ontario would regularly publish something similar to show recent effects of vaccinations on cases, hospitalizations and deaths. She is just one person using a spreadsheet.

“The data is showing that people who are fully vaccinated have a much lower risk of severe outcomes, and that the vast majority of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths are occurring in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people,” she said. “This will help people to make an informed decision about vaccination to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday only half of one per cent of COVID-19 cases being recorded are in fully vaccinated people.

COVID-19 myth busting

CANADA – As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be more readily available to Canadians, an expert from McMaster University is addressing concerns still present among those hesitant to get the vaccination.

According to Dawn Bowdish, Canada Research Chair in Aging and Immunity at McMaster University, unlike the United States, Canada doesn’t have interim or emergency approval for vaccines.

She says the COVID-19 vaccine went through the same approval process at Health Canada as any other vaccine would.

“The differences were, it was expedited,” Bowdish said in an interview earlier this morning (July 28). “When the data came in, everybody dropped everything to review the data, as opposed to another less frantic time, when people would have had to schedule meetings and get all that together.”

Bowdish there was also a government act that allowed them to buy drugs or vaccines that looked promising in the fight against COVID-19. However, those were not allowed to be used without Health Canada approval.

Bowdish also feels the decision for some countries to not recognized mixed doses, primarily mixing of Astrazenca and mRNA vaccines, is politically motivated and not based in science.

She explains it has been proven that mixing Astrazenca with either Pfizer or Moderna leads to added protection against COVID-19.

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