Ottawa hits nearly 500 new COVID cases Dec. 23

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Powered by the highly contagious Omicron variant, Ottawa COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting a number of new COVID-19 outbreaks in the city as well as its highest ever single-day new case count of 466.

As of today (Dec. 23), there are COVID-19 outbreaks at 32 schools, seven childcare centres and eight healthcare institutions. OPH is also monitoring 12 community outbreaks, half of which are now stemming from restaurants or retail workplaces.

The latest potential community exposure being investigated by OPH happened at the Shenkman Art Centre’s Elvis Christmas Special on Dec. 16. The health unit continues to investigate other exposures linked to the Shenkman Arts Centre’s Le Group Swing event on Dec. 10: an Ottawa 67’s game on Dec. 11; the Ron Kolbus Centre on Dec. 11; the Glebe Winter Carnival on Dec. 12; and the Infinity Centre’s Winter Formal Dance on Dec. 16.

OPH says there have been 2,242 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ottawa over the last seven days. The health unit says it’s linked 383 cases to the Delta variant in the last 30 days, which makes up 24 per cent of all local variant-related cases. There have been 103 cases of Omicron, which makes up six per cent of all variant cases in the last 30 days. There are another five per cent of variant cases that are inconclusive.

The number of local hospitalizations due to COVID-19 is up to seven, but none of the patients are in intensive care. There hasn’t been a COVID-19 patient in an Ottawa ICU since Dec. 9.

No new COVID-related deaths in Ottawa leaves the local pandemic death toll at 620. 

OPH is tracking of 2,783 active cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Residents being tested for COVID-19 continue to see positive results 10.5 per cent of the time.

According to Ottawa’s vaccination dashboard, 78 per cent of the city’s entire population has had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. OPH says 64 per cent of residents over the age of 80 have had third doses, but the numbers go down from there: 56 per cent of residents in their 70s; 40 per cent of residents in their 60s; 28 per cent of residents in their 50s; 11 per cent of residents in their 40s; nine per cent of residents in their 30s; and six per cent of residents between the ages of 18 and 29 have received their boosters.

Ontario reported an all-time high 5,790 new cases of COVID-19 today, smashing through the previous record of 4,812 set in April. But one expert warned the numbers didn’t present a full picture of the situation in the province, as several public health units’ testing systems were swamped. 

“In all likelihood, you’d have to multiply these numbers at least three or four times to get a sense of what’s actually happening in the community,” Dr. Fahad Razak, a member of the province’s science table and internist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said.

Ottawa’s Dr. Vera Etches echoed similar thoughts on Wednesday. She said there’s “no doubt” there are far more COVID-19 cases in the community than what is being counted due to testing shortages and contact tracing challenges.

There have been 35,786 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa (32,383 resolved) since March of 2020.

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