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Ottawa pandemic trends keep rising, notably outbreaks and its hospital load


Recent developments:

  • Most of Ottawa’s pandemic trends rise further, others remain high.
  • A main COVID-19 test site won’t close Wednesday as planned.
  • 15,000 vaccine doses for Ottawans last week is an increase from previous weeks.
  • There’s a new patient limit at a Kingston urgent care clinic.
  • Hospitalizations jump in the Belleville area.

The region is in the seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic driven by the BA.5 coronavirus subvariant. It’s the first early-summer wave.

In its most recent weekly update, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said the city’s test positivity percentage was very high and its coronavirus wastewater levels were high.

OPH specifically called on more than 250,000 residents with just two vaccine doses to get a third, saying the protection offered by two doses alone is no longer enough.

WATCH | What’s driving the rise in COVID-19 cases in Ottawa

What’s driving the rise in COVID-19 cases in Ottawa

Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, says an increase in social gatherings and a lack of long-term immunity is leading to a rise in infections stemming from the more transmissible BA.5 coronavirus subvariant.

The latest Ottawa update


The average level of coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater has been generally rising since early June. It’s higher than the peaks of all waves since the first, when this data wasn’t shared, except for the heights reached in April 2022.

That average is about four times higher than it was a month ago and about 23 times higher than a year ago.

A bar and line graph of coronavirus wastewater levels since June 2020.
Researchers measuring and sharing the amount of novel coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater reported new pandemic records for daily readings and the weekly average in April 2022. The most recent data is from July 14. (613covid.ca)


Thirty-two Ottawa residents have been admitted to a city hospital with COVID-19, according to OPH’s latest update. That number has been rising all month.

Three of those patients are in intensive care, down from five in Friday’s update.

One year ago, there was one of these hospital patients and two years ago, there were six.

The hospitalization figures above don’t include all patients. For example, they leave out patients admitted for other reasons who then test positive for COVID-19, those admitted for lingering COVID-19 complications, and those transferred from other health units.

Including those categories, 168 COVID-19 patients were in hospital as of its most recent data. That number has more than doubled in the last week.

A graphic breaking down Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalizations.
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. There were 82 as of July 10 and now 168 a week later. (Ottawa Public Health)

Tests, outbreaks and cases

Testing strategies changed under the Omicron variant, meaning many COVID-19 cases aren’t reflected in current counts. Public health officials now only track and report outbreaks in health-care settings.

Ottawa’s test positivity rate sits around 17 per cent. That’s generally stable at a very high level over the last week. It was about 11 per cent a month ago.

There are currently 63 active COVID outbreaks in Ottawa. This number has more than quadrupled since the start of July. Thirty-four, or just over half, are in long-term care and retirement homes.

OPH reported 336 more cases and three more deaths over the last four days. The victims were all age 80 or older. Ottawa has had 832 residents with COVID-19 die.

While active cases are a flawed measure when testing is this limited, the city is back above 1,000 known active cases for the first time since May.

The surge in spread and demand for testing led Ottawa’s testing task force to cancel plans to close the Brewer Arena COVID test site Wednesday.


As of the most recent weekly update, 93 per cent of Ottawa residents age five and up had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 89 per cent had at least two.

Sixty-four per cent of Ottawans age 12 and over had at least three doses, and 14 per cent had four.

OPH reported an increase to about 15,000 vaccine doses being given to Ottawa residents in the last week. About 11,000 doses were given the previous two weeks combined,

It came as fourth dose eligibility expanded to all adults in Ontario. More than 12,000 of those doses last week were fourth doses.

Across the region

Wastewater levels are stable or dropping in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties and stable in east Kingston. Data from other areas is either at least a week old or not publicly available.

Western Quebec is reporting 60 COVID hospitalizations. That number has been around the 60s this month.

Eastern Ontario communities outside Ottawa are reporting a total of 28 COVID hospitalizations, including three patients in intensive care. Sixteen of those patients are in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) east of Ottawa.

Because of pandemic staff shortages and demand, the Kingston Health Sciences Centre is limiting the number of people who can access its urgent care centre at the Hotel Dieu Hospital starting Wednesday to focus resources on the general hospital’s emergency room.

That regional total doesn’t include Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health, which has a different counting method. Its nine hospitalizations, with three in an ICU, are a jump back to levels last seen in early June.

Across eastern Ontario, between 81 and 92 per cent of eligible residents have received at least two vaccine doses, and between 59 and 71 per cent of adults have had at least three.


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