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Ottawa's COVID trends are rising, some of them quickly –



Recent developments:

  • Ottawa’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and outbreaks have spiked.
  • Some numbers are back where they were at the start of 2023.
  • Quebec recommends an autumn booster dose for vulnerable people.
  • Six more local COVID deaths have been reported.

The latest

The city’s pandemic numbers to watch are all going up in the weekly Ottawa Public Health (OPH) update amid concerns over a new wave and COVID-19 mutations.

The last time OPH said it was concerned about high levels of COVID-19 for the general public was mid-January. Some of the indicators this Wednesday — including hospitalizations and the average test positivity — are back around that point.


OPH’s latest weekly assessment of whether levels are low, moderate, high or very high hasn’t yet been published.

Experts recommend that when people feel sick, they stay home and wear a mask if they have to go out in public. There’s more discussion about wearing a mask in or avoiding crowded indoor settings.

Staying up to date with COVID vaccines can also help protect vulnerable people. Updated booster doses are expected in early autumn.


Data from the research team shows, as of Aug. 20, the average coronavirus wastewater level has been slowly rising for about six weeks, breaking out of the range where it had stayed since the end of April.

Researchers measure and share the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater since June 2020. The most recent data is from Aug. 20, 2023. (


The average number of Ottawa residents in local hospitals for COVID-19 in the last week is 34, with one patient in an ICU. Two weeks ago it was six and a week ago it was 17.

OPH switched to a weekly hospitalization average at the start of July, meaning it isn’t a direct comparison to the previous hospitalization snapshots. The last time those snapshots were around this average was January and February 2023.

A separate count includes patients who tested positive for COVID after being admitted for other reasons, those admitted for lingering COVID complications and those transferred from other health units.

It has risen back to where it was in early spring 2023 and also when OPH expressed concern in mid-January. At the end of July there were six of these patients.

A chart showing the number of people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID.
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)

Tests, outbreaks, deaths and vaccines

The city’s weekly average test positivity rate is about 17 per cent. It has more than doubled in just over a week and is similar to where it was at the start of 2023.

OPH lists 18 active COVID outbreaks, up from four last week. About half of them are in hospitals.

The health unit reported 174 more COVID cases in the last week and two more COVID deaths. One victim was in their 70s and the other was age 90 or above.

The next Ottawa COVID vaccination update is expected in early September.

Across the region


Coronavirus wastewater averages are low, but at least a week old in KingstonCornwall and Hawkesbury and Brockville and Smiths Falls. They’re otherwise not shared.

The average COVID-19 test positivity is stable around 10 per cent in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) and the Kingston area.

Hospitalizations and deaths

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa report a stable seven COVID-19 hospitalizations, with none of these patients in intensive care.

That regional count doesn’t include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which shares a weekly average of its local hospitalization count. That number rose from one to six in the most recent update.

Western Quebec has a stable four hospital patients with COVID, with none in intensive care.

The health unit for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties reported another three COVID deaths. The Kingston area also had another of these deaths, according to its health unit.

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The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life




Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.

That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.

What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?

Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.

Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.


Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations

As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.

Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:

  1. Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
  2. Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
  3. Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.

Determining a Fair Payment Plan

Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.

Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.

Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers

When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:

  • Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
  • Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
  • Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
  • Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.


Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.

Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.

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Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home



THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.

The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.

No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.

Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.




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Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister



Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.

Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.

“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”


Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.

“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.

LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.

“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.

The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.

LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.

On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.

“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.

LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.

“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.

She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.

Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.

LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.

“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.

–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News



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