May 6 COVID-19 update: New numbers, Provinicial vaccination update

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 106 new COVID-19 cases in the city and two new deaths related to the coronavirus, but says many key indicators of community spread are still trending in the right direction.

According to the health unit, the latest novel coronavirus deaths included one person in their 70s and one in their 80s. There have been 519 COVID-19-related deaths in Ottawa since March of 2020: one in their 30s; four in their 40s; 15 in their 50s; 57 in their 60s; 94 in their 70s; 186 in their 80s; and 162 in their 90s.

OPH reports the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Ottawa remains unchanged at 95, today (May 6). There are 26 local COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

Ottawa’s weekly COVID-19 incidence rate is down to 98.1 per 100,000 residents. The provincial ‘red zone’ threshold is 40 per 100,000.

Residents being tested for the novel coronavirus are seeing positive results 6.7 per cent of the time.

OPH says there are now 22 COVID-19 outbreaks in local healthcare institutions, most of which are hospitals, group homes and shelters. Nine childcare facilities and one school are also reporting ongoing outbreaks. The health unit says it continues to monitor seven community outbreaks, the majority of which are linked to workplaces.

The City of Ottawa has administered 94 per cent of the 362,780 COVID-19 vaccine doses it’s received.

OPH says it is aware of 1,620 active cases of novel coronavirus in the city.

There have been 24,998 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa (22,859 resolved) since the beginning of the pandemic.

Ontario is reporting 3,424 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 23 in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, 10 in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark district and seven in Renfrew County and district.

Moderna vaccine heading to Ontario pharmacies

ONTARIO – Ontario will begin offering the Moderna vaccine in select pharmacies across the province as it continues to focus its attention on COVID-19 hotspot communities for the next two weeks.

In an update provided yesterday (May 5), provincial officials say the option to get the Moderna vaccine will be available in up to 60 per cent of pharmacies in hotspot postal codes in Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex, and York. An exact number was not provided by the province, however the locations will be updated on the province’s website.

By the end of the week, more than 2,500 pharmacies will be ready to administer vaccines.

Ontario expects to receive more than 786,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week and expects to have more than four million doses delivered by the end of the month. An additional 3.7 million doses are scheduled to arrive in June. Provincial officials say they don’t have any plans yet to offer the vaccine to kids aged 12-15 despite Health Canada’s approval announced Wednesday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott added the announcement could see children aged 12 and older offered their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in schools, with a second dose given before the new school year begins in September.

She added the province was also working to ensure education workers are able to get a second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine before September.

“We want to make sure that our young people are protected from COVID as well,” Elliott said. “We’ve already been in conversations, discussions with the Minister of Education, to make sure that we can start as soon as possible.”

All schools are currently teaching classes online as the province remains under a stay-at-home order imposed due to high COVID-19 rates.

Moderna is scheduled to deliver 388,100 doses this week but no further projections were issued. The province is scheduled to receive 116,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, no delivery date has been confirmed. Ontario is currently reviewing the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation that it be offered to anyone 30 plus.

There was no additional information on AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries.

Health officials say they will continue to focus on hotspot communities for the next two weeks with 50 per cent of allocated doses going to those areas for the weeks of May 3 and May 10. As of this week, anyone 18 plus in hotspot communities is eligible to book an appointment through the provincial booking system.

Ontario is also expanding efforts to vaccinate employees at workplaces in Toronto and Peel. Employees at the Ontario Food Terminal will start receiving vaccines the week of May 10 while employer-led workplace vaccination clinics are already underway at Maple Lodge Farms, Maple Leaf Foods, and Amazon Canada in Peel. There are plans to hold additional workplace clinics in Peel at Walmart Canada, Loblaws companies, Air Canada, Purolator, Magna, and HelloFresh sometime in the middle of the month

Mobile clinics are also planned in Peel, Toronto, and York to vaccinate workers at small to medium-sized workplaces who cannot work from home starting May 7

The province says it is also on track to offer a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 65 per cent of Ontarians 18-years and older by the end of May.

“The light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter with every vaccine administered, and together we can stop the spread of COVID-19,” Elliott said.

Provincial officials say they are carefully monitoring research underway in England regarding the mixing of different vaccines between the first and second doses, meaning people could get a second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna if they have received the first dose of AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.

Officials continue to say that the best vaccine “is the first vaccine you can get,” noting that the risk of getting COVID-19 and the serious complications from it are greater than any potential risk from vaccines such as AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.

More than 5.5 million COVID-19 doses have been administered across Ontario with over 381,000 people having been fully vaccinated with two doses.

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