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High COVID levels persist as other illnesses dip

Commuters walk along the platform at Ottawa's Rideau station in January 2023.  (Matthew Kupfer/CBC - image credit)
Commuters walk along the platform at Ottawa's Rideau station in January 2023. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC - image credit)

Recent developments:

  • Ottawa's COVID-19 numbers are generally high and stable.

  • Flu signals, while still high, are dropping again.

  • RSV trends drop to more moderate levels.

  • Nineteen more COVID deaths have been reported locally.

The latest

Flu numbers dropped again over the last week, according to the latest data from Ottawa Public Health (OPH), and RSV trends did the same. Flu levels remain high and RSV's are more moderate.

The COVID-19 picture remains generally high and stable.

Meanwhile, both the number of respiratory-related and overall emergency room visits in the city have dropped for three straight weeks.

Experts recommend people cover coughs, wear masks, keep hands and often-touched surfaces clean; stay home when sick and keep up with COVID and flu vaccines to help protect themselves and other vulnerable people.

OPH says the city's health-care institutions remain at high risk from respiratory illnesses, as they have been since the end of August. This is expected to be the case until at least March.

In Ottawa

Spread

There was a major adjustment to Ottawa's recent coronavirus wastewater average in the past week.

The capital hit its highest average of 2023 on New Year's Eve, then seemed to drop significantly based on last week's snapshot.

That data now suggests Ottawa hit its second-highest average and highest daily reading on record on Jan. 12.

As of Jan. 22, it had fallen slightly from that peak. It's been generally rising for more than six months.

Researchers have measured and shared the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater since June 2020. This is the data for 2023 and 2024 up to Monday.
Researchers have measured and shared the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater since June 2020. This is the data for 2023 and 2024 up to Monday.

Researchers have measured and shared the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater since June 2020. This is the data for 2023 and 2024 up to Monday. (613covid.ca)

OPH says the wastewater signal is very high.

The weekly average test positivity rate in the city is a stable 15 per cent, which OPH still sees as high.

Hospitalizations, outbreaks and deaths

In the past week, the average number of Ottawa residents in local hospitals for COVID-19 is a stable 49.

separate, wider count — which includes patients who tested positive for COVID after being admitted for other reasons, were admitted for lingering COVID complications or were transferred from other health units — has fallen to its lowest level since October.

Ottawa Public Health has a COVID-19 hospital count that shows all hospital patients who tested positive for COVID, including those admitted for other reasons and who live in other areas.
Ottawa Public Health has a COVID-19 hospital count that shows all hospital patients who tested positive for COVID, including those admitted for other reasons and who live in other areas.

Ottawa Public Health has a COVID-19 hospital count that shows all hospital patients who tested positive for COVID, including those admitted for other reasons and who live in other areas. (Ottawa Public Health)

OPH considers the number of new COVID-related hospitalizations in the city — 43 — as high.

The active COVID outbreak count is stable at 25, mostly in long-term care or retirement homes. There is a high number of new outbreaks.

The health unit reported 264 more COVID cases and five more COVID deaths in the last week. All victims were people age 80 or above.

OPH's next vaccination update is expected Monday.

After nearly four years, OPH said it is also ending its COVID-specific dashboard next month. Its respiratory updates will continue.

Across the region

The Kingston area's health unit says it's also in the midst of a high-risk time for respiratory illness. Its COVID-19, flu and RSV pictures are all stable: COVID and flu are at higher levels and RSV is looking lower.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU)'s big-picture assessment rates the overall respiratory risk as moderate and stable.

Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, like Ottawa, gives a weekly COVID case hospital average. That has fallen again to 18. Flu activity there is seen as low.

Western Quebec has a stable 51 hospital patients who have tested positive for COVID. The province reports one more COVID death there.

HPE reported five more COVID deaths in its weekly update. The EOHU and Kingston area each reported three more and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (LGL) counties reported two more.

LGL data goes up to Jan. 14, when its trends were generally high and dropping. Renfrew County's next update is expected later Thursday.