Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.
- Ottawa sees highest one-day COVID-19 case count in a week
- City of Ottawa offers drop-in appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at city clinics this weekend
- Fans back at TD Place for Ottawa BlackJacks game as Ottawa enters Step 3
COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):
- New COVID-19 cases: Five new cases on Saturday
- Total COVID-19 cases: 27,734
- COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 0.7
- Positivity rate in Ottawa: 0.1 per cent (seven day average)
- Reproduction Number: 0.85 (seven day average)
Who should get a test?
Ottawa Public Health says you can get a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, care clinic, or community testing site if any of the following apply to you:
- You are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
- You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
- You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health;
- You are a resident, a worker or a visitor to long-term care, retirement homes, homeless shelters or other congregate settings (for example: group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters);
- You are a person who identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis;
- You are a person travelling to work in a remote First Nations, Inuit or Métis community;
- You received a preliminary positive result through rapid testing;
- You require testing 72 hours before a scheduled (non-urgent or emergent) surgery (as recommended by your health care provider);
- You are a patient and/or their 1 accompanying escort travelling out of country for medical treatment;
- You are an international student that has passed their 14-day quarantine period;
- You are a farm worker;
- You are an educator who cannot access pharmacy-testing; or
- You are in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:
There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx
- The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre at 300 Coventry Road: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Kemptville) – 15 Campus Drive: Open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Centretown Community Health Centre: Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sandy Hill Community Health Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 pm.
- Somerset West Community Health Centre: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday
COVID-19 screening tool:
The COVID-19 screening tool for summer camp children and staff. All campers and staff must complete the COVID-19 School and Childcare screening tool daily.
Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath
Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion
Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup
Ottawa Public Health reported five new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, the largest one-day increase in new cases in a week.
No new deaths linked to COVID-19 were reported on Saturday.
Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa on March 11, 2020, there have been 27,734 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 593 deaths.
The five new cases is the largest one-day increase in cases in Ottawa since five new cases were reported on July 9.
Ottawa residents don’t need an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine this weekend.
The city of Ottawa says you can drop in to select community clinics in Ottawa to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose without an appointment.
Every community clinic will accept walk-ins for a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Second doses will be available between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the following locations Saturday and Sunday:
- Canadian Tire Centre – 1000 Palladium Drive
- Eva James Community Centre – 65 Stonehaven Drive
- Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park – 1525 Princess Patricia Way
- Nepean Sportsplex (Halls A and B and Curling Rink) – 1701 Woodroffe Avenue
- Orleans YMCA – 265 Centrum Blvd.
- Ottawa City Hall – 110 Laurier Avenue West
- University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex – 801 King Edward Avenue
For the first time in 495 days, fans attended a live sporting event in Ottawa on Saturday.
With Ontario moving into Step 3 of the economic reopening plan, up to 1,000 fans were allowed inside The Arena at TD Place for the Ottawa BlackJacks game against Edmonton Saturday afternoon.
As part of increased safety measures, The Arena at TD Place has moved to electronic ticketing and paperless transactions, with no cash. Hand sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the building and face coverings will be required by all patrons.
The BlackJacks say Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group has set up a seating configuration in the arena in consultation with health authorities and the CEBL to ensure the comfort and safety of all patrons that enter The Arena at TD Place.
B.C. kicks off COVID campaign to boost vaccination – Powell River Peak
VANCOUVER — British Columbia has kicked off a new COVID-19 vaccination campaign to encourage as many people as possible over the next two weeks to get immunized at places that are convenient, like beaches and summer camps.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new strategy, called Vax for BC, gives residents who aren’t vaccinated, and those who’ve waited at least seven weeks since their first shot a chance to visit walk-in clinics.
A campaign on Aug. 4 dubbed Walk-in Wednesday will make 20,000 doses available at clinics before a push later in the month and in September to target young people returning to school.
“People in B.C. will be able to get vaccinated on your way to work, during your lunch break, or even when cooling off at the lake,” Henry said Tuesday.
The campaign aims to increase immunization by switching the focus from mass clinics to mobile clinics where advance booking is not required but is encouraged.
“These next two weeks are crucial to our immunization campaign and most importantly, protecting our province and putting the pandemic in our rear-view mirror,” she said, adding two doses of a vaccine provide the best protection against infection.
British Columbia’s seven-day average of COVID-19 cases dipped to 36 in early July, but recently climbed to 86 cases.
The province reported 150 new cases on Tuesday, with more than 60 per cent of them in the Interior Health region. There were 783 active infections in B.C., up from 695 on Monday, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Recent statistics show that most new cases of COVID-19 have been among unvaccinated people in the province, where 62.3 per cent of eligible residents are fully immunized and 80.7 per cent have received at least one dose.
Data from the BC Centre of Disease Control show that less than five per cent of COVID-19 cases from June 15 to July 15 were among fully vaccinated people. During the same time period, 78 per cent of people hospitalized in B.C. with COVID-19 were unvaccinated.
Henry said infections are spreading among clusters of people in communities where vaccination rates are lower so they will be a focus of the immunization plan, including in regions covered by Northern and Interior Health.
Between one and two per cent of people in B.C. are against being immunized, but that number could be as high as five per cent for COVID-19 vaccines among organized groups that are particularly vocal, especially on social media, she said.
People who are unvaccinated could be barred from establishments, Henry said, adding she supports that move by any business because outbreaks could sicken staff and shut down operations.
“We absolutely can say ‘To come in here you have to be immunized.’ And that gives people a level of comfort that they’re in a safer environment,” she said, adding outbreaks have occurred at crowded indoor events like weddings and funerals as well as at nightclubs where unvaccinated people introduced the virus.
While immunization is not mandatory, it’s particularly important for health-care workers, Henry said, noting unvaccinated staff at long-term care homes must wear masks and be regularly tested at work.
“I have very little patience for people who aren’t immunized in health care. We’ve had a vaccination policy for influenza. We will have a very similar policy that if people choose not to be immunized and you work in health care, then you will not be able to work in certain settings without taking additional measures. There will be consequences for that decision.”
The highest number of unvaccinated residents, at 32.5 per cent, are in the North Health region, while that percentage is at 18.1 per cent in Vancouver Coastal.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2021.
Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
The science didn't change, the virus did, Fauci says as U.S. CDC updates mask guidance – CTV News
The change in CDC guidance recommending all Americans wear a mask indoors in areas with high COVID-19 transmission is a sign of the change the Delta variant has carved into the pandemic landscape, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN.
“We’re not changing the science,” the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “The virus changed, and the science evolved with the changing virus.”
Before Tuesday, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention advised only unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors. But with the spread of the Delta variant — believed to be at least twice as transmissible as the Alpha variant, which was dominate in the U.S. in the spring — and vaccination rates remaining low while infection rates on the rise, the CDC updated its guidance to advise that everyone in high transmission areas wear a mask when indoors.
Currently, only 49.2% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Some experts point to unvaccinated Americans as an important factor in the mask guidance change, saying the measure had to be implemented to get them to mask up.
“Eighty million American adults have made a choice. They made a choice not to get the vaccine, and those same people are not masking and that is the force that is propagating this virus around this country,” CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner told CNN.
But others, including the CDC, said the decision had more to do with new data showing that, unlike with other strains, vaccinated people who are infected with the Delta variant can still get high viral loads, making it more likely they could spread the virus.
“Unlike the Alpha variant that we had back in May, where we didn’t believe that if you were vaccinated you could transmit further, this is different now with a Delta variant,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, citing information investigators found when looking at outbreak clusters.
With nearly all 50 states undergoing a surge of new cases averaging at least 10% more than the week before, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said the U.S. is seeing just how dangerous the variant is in real time.
“This is actually what you want to happen with science. You want science to be dynamic, you want recommendations to reflect the latest science, and that’s what you see in the recommendations that were issued today,” Murthy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday.
But one thing hasn’t changed, Murthy added, saying data is still showing current vaccines are highly protective against infection, severe illness and death from the Delta variant.
Vaccinations are still the ‘bedrock’ of ending the pandemic
While masking up will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., getting vaccinated is still “the bedrock” to ending the pandemic, Murthy said.
“Vaccines still work. They still save lives. They still prevent hospitalizations at a remarkably high rate,” he added.
Vaccination rates are still not where they need to be to get enough of the U.S. inoculated against the virus to slow or stop its spread, experts have said. Many experts have advocated for vaccine requirements as one way to increase vaccination rates in the U.S.
Los Angeles officials announced Tuesday that the city will require all of its employees to show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing.
“The fourth wave is here, and the choice for Angelenos couldn’t be clearer — get vaccinated or get COVID-19,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. “We’re committed to pursuing a full vaccine mandate. I urge employers across Los Angeles to follow this example,” he added.
The move comes after the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Los Angeles County nearly doubled in the past two weeks. There are currently 745 people hospitalized with the virus, compared to 372 people two weeks ago, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Such requirements by local entities are “very reasonable,” Murthy said Tuesday.
Some U.S. hospitals and federal agencies are mandating that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing. Murthy noted that many private institutions are considering following suit.
“Those are decisions the federal government is not going to make,” Murthy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It’s going to be institutions that make them, but I do think that they are very reasonable, because this is a time when we’ve got to take all steps possible to protect not just ourselves, but the people around us, from COVID-19.”
Officials call for more vaccinations as hospitals are overwhelmed
The impact of the Delta variant and increasing cases can be seen in the data and in the strain on hospitals.
After decreases over the past couple of months, cases of COVID-19 among children and teens are on the rise again, with more than 38,600 infected last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday.
More than 4.13 million kids have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Kids represent more than 14% of the weekly reported cases.
In Springfield-Greene County in Missouri, the CoxHealth hospital system is having to expand its morgue capacity due to an increase in COVID-19 related deaths, President and CEO Steve Edwards said Tuesday.
“Last year we did expand it and we are expanding it further. We’ve actually brought in a portable piece of technology that allows bodies to be cooled and placed outside the morgue. We have had to expand that because the mortality has gone up so much lately,” Edwards said during an update in the county on behalf of CoxHealth.
In explaining what he called the “severity of the disease”, Edwards said, “We’ve had over 4,000 admissions for COVID. And with 549 deaths that means thirteen and a half percent of our admissions have died. And when we look in our ICUs, about 40% of patients that are in the ICU don’t make it out of the ICU.”
In New Orleans, as cases have gone up, hospitals have become strapped for resources and started turning people away, Communications Director for the City of New Orleans Beau Tidwell said Tuesday.
“For God’s sake, get your vaccine,” he added.
The CDC called on doctors and public health officials to act urgently to get more Americans vaccinated.
“COVID-19 cases have increased over 300% nationally from June 19 to July 23, 2021, along with parallel increases in hospitalizations and deaths driven by the highly transmissible B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant,” the CDC said in Tuesday’s health alert.
Without more vaccinations, the U.S. could see increased morbidity and mortality related to COVID-19, which could continue to overwhelm healthcare facilities, the CDC said.
Vaccinated should wear masks indoors in US COVID hotspots: CDC – Al Jazeera English
People in parts of the United States where COVID-19 infections are surging should wear masks indoors even if they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the country’s public health agency has advised.
Citing new information about the ability of the Delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
“In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and help protect others,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters during an afternoon news briefing.
The US is averaging more than 57,000 coronavirus cases a day and 24,000 hospitalisations, and public health officials for weeks have warned that COVID-19 infections are increasing, especially in parts of the country with low vaccination rates.
Walensky said while vaccinated Americans represent “a very small amount of transmission” – and stressed that the vast majority of new infections, hospitalisations and deaths is occurring among unvaccinated individuals – vaccinated people still have the ability to pass the virus on to others.
“With the Delta variant, vaccinating more Americans now is more urgent than ever,” she added.
The recent rise in cases comes after mask-wearing and other public health restrictions were loosened, and restaurants, bars and other venues reopened in many parts of the country amid a sharp increase in national vaccination rates.
The new CDC recommendations are not binding and many Americans, especially in Republican-leaning states, may choose not to follow them.
“This is not a decision that we … have made lightly,” Walensky said about the new guidelines, acknowledging that many people are frustrated by the ongoing pandemic. “This new data weighs heavily on me, this new guidance weighs heavily on me.”
US President Joe Biden welcomed the agency’s recommendations on Tuesday as “another step on our journey to defeating this virus”.
“I hope all Americans who live in the areas covered by the CDC guidance will follow it,” Biden said in a statement, adding that masking students in schools “is inconvenient … but will allow them to learn and be with their classmates with the best available protection”.
“Most importantly, today’s announcement also makes clear that the most important protection we have against the Delta variant is to get vaccinated. Although most U.S. adults are vaccinated, too many are not. While we have seen an increase in vaccinations in recent days, we still need to do better,” Biden said.
The CDC had advised people to wear masks for much of the pandemic in settings where they could not maintain six feet (1.8 metres) of distance between themselves and others.
In April, as vaccination rates rose sharply, the agency eased its guidelines on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying that fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed to cover their faces unless they were in a big crowd of strangers. In May, the guidance was eased further for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
The guidance still called for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings, like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it cleared the way for reopening workplaces and other venues.
Subsequent CDC guidance said fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks at summer camps or at schools, either.
Coronavirus vaccines are widely available across the US, and 60 percent of adults are fully vaccinated while 69 percent have received at least one dose, according to CDC data. But millions of people remain unvaccinated – and the recent increase in cases is especially pronounced in US states with low vaccination rates, such as Florida.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, warned during the weekend that the US was moving “in the wrong direction” on the coronavirus – and he urged people to get jabs.
“If you look at the inflection of the curve of new infections,” Fauci said in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union programme on Sunday, stressing that most infections are among Americans who have not been vaccinated.
“It is among the unvaccinated and since we have 50 percent of the country is not fully vaccinated, that’s a problem – particularly when you have a variant like Delta which has this extraordinary characteristic of being able to spread very efficiently and very easily from person to person,” he said.
Some municipalities and states have re-imposed mask mandates amid the increase in cases.
In St Louis, Missouri, a county-wide mask mandate took effect on Monday, requiring most people, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear a mask indoors and on public transportation.
Los Angeles, California also recently reinstated its mask requirement, while the top public health official in King County, Washington, which includes the city of Seattle, last week asked everyone to wear masks in indoor public spaces – even if they are vaccinated.
Calls have also grown to require health workers, among others, to be vaccinated.
“Due to the recent COVID-19 surge and the availability of safe and effective vaccines, our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” a group of more than 50 healthcare organisations, including the American Medical Association, said on Monday.
That same day, the US Department of Veterans Affairs said it would require its doctors and other medical staff to get COVID-19 vaccines, becoming the first federal agency to impose such a mandate.
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