June 7 COVID-19 update: Three new deaths, re-opening starts Friday, Beach gatherings concern councillor

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting three new deaths due to COVID-19 today (June 7) while reporting 19 more people have contracted the coronavirus.

Eight people have died due to novel coronavirus in Ottawa since Friday, June 4 – three people in their 60s; two in their 70s; one in their 80s; and two in their 90s. 

The city’s pandemic death toll as of Monday, June 7, is up to 582, including: one person in their 20s; one in their 30s; eight in their 40s; 23 in their 50s; 69 in their 60s; 110 in their 70s; 202 in their 80s; and 168 in their 90s.

Indicators of community spread continue to trend downward.

Local hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are down to 25 with four patients in intensive care.

The number of healthcare institutions dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks is down to 13 from 18 last week. There are still three childcare centres also on outbreak status, and OPH says it continues to monitor one community outbreak linked to a local distribution centre.

Ottawa’s weekly COVID-19 incidence rate is down to 29.1 per 100,000 residents.

Residents being tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa are seeing positive results 3.3 per cent of the time.

OPH says the number of active cases it is tracking is down to 491. That number was higher than 3,800 about seven weeks ago.

The number of Ottawa residents with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is up to 599,570 today, which equals 68 per cent of adults and 57 per cent of the city’s total population. According OPH, 70,208 residents have received two doses, which equals eight per cent of adults and seven per cent of all residents.

The city has received 604,790 vaccine doses to date.

There have been 27,320 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa (26,247 resolved) since March of 2020.

Re-opening of Ontario starts Friday

ONTARIO – Ontario will start its economic re-opening a few days ahead of schedule, loosening restrictions on outdoor activities and businesses starting Friday (June 11).

The province announced the move today (June 7), saying health indicators have improved enough to begin lifting some pandemic restrictions.

Limited outdoor dining, outdoor fitness classes, outdoor religious services and camping can resume under the first step of the plan. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are also permitted and more retail businesses can open for in-person sales with capacity restrictions.

Premier Doug Ford thanked residents for their “enormous sacrifices” and credited the ongoing vaccine rollout for making the early move possible.

“As we begin to enjoy the benefits of the first step in our roadmap, like meeting friends on a patio or visiting your favourite local store, please do so safely by continuing to follow all public health guidelines,” Ford released in a statement today.

The changes will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.

The province originally planned to move to the first step of its re-opening next week.

It said 72 per cent of adults in Ontario had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday (June 6)  night, placing the province ahead of its 60 per cent target set for the reopening date.

Daily COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations had also declined, the province said, with those trends expected to continue “in the coming days.”

Ontario reported 525 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths from the virus today, with 547 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

The province will follow a three-step reopening plan throughout the summer as it climbs out of a harsh third wave of the pandemic.

Restrictions are expected to lift further after at least 21 days, based on vaccination rates and other health indicators.

Ford suggested last week the reopening might come ahead of schedule, though top officials warned a new, more infectious variant that first appeared in India will have to be monitored.

Large beach gatherings causing concern

OTTAWA – Ottawa Board of Health Chair, Coun. Keith Egli is feeling uneasy about what he’s seeing at local beaches lately.

With daily high temperatures more than 30 degrees Celsius last weekend, and continuing in to this week, Egli understands residents are tying to beat the heat by hitting local beaches, but he’s urging them to also keep COVID-19 public health guidelines in mind.

“To be honest, it makes me a little queasy in the stomach any time we have a mass gathering of any sort,” Egli said during a media availability. “And I understand why people want to be by the water, want to get the breezes, want to cool off. But people still have to exercise caution, even when outside, because we still have a lot of vaccines to get into a lot of arms.”

Elgi says the beach isn’t the only place for residents to cool off, as the city has opened temporary cooling centres and splash pads.

On Friday (June 4), chief medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches tweeted Ottawa has made “incredible progress” in its fight against COVID-19, but added “we’re not out of the woods yet.”

“For instance, in early June 2020, our cases per week were 2.1/100,000,” Etches released on social media. “Right now, we’re at 35.7/100,000. That’s 15 times higher.”

Etches said our COVID-19 case numbers were around this level when the city reopened after the second pandemic wave and we saw exponential growth that led to a third wave.

“Plus, the variants are much more prominent now,” Etches said.

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