COVID-19 Epidemiology Update – available here

April 01, 2020 – Special joint statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health and Dr. Brent Moloughney, Associate Medical Officer of Health

As we start a new month, we recognize that our new norms of physical distancing, school closures, and changes to employment settings and situations will remain in place this month.  Please be sure to check out the resources available from Ottawa Public Health, provincial and federal government, and other partners to support you during this time.  There are many resources to: support your physical and mental health; supplement finances; provide childcare for essential workers; help student learn at home; and much more.

Despite the situation continually changing each day, a few things continue to remain the same. Our goal remains the same – we want to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.  And at this time, our guidance remains the same: stay home and only go out for the essentials.  If you have returned from travel or have respiratory symptoms, you must self-isolate.

We want to reiterate a statement from Dr. Theresa Tam yesterday, that COVID-19 does not discriminate.  All residents are susceptible to COVID-19.  Young people are getting it and are being hospitalized in Ottawa.  People of all ages need to stay home, limit contact to those people in your own household as much as possible, and only go out for essential work or supplies.

OPH makes taking care of our employees a top priority, so we can take care of the public. We have a policy for “forced rest” for people to take breaks on a regular basis.   This will ensure sustainability of response during this pandemic.

Number of cases

As of 4 pm yesterday, OPH is investigating 194 confirmed cases in Ottawa and five outbreaks – in three retirement homes and one long-term care home that we shared yesterday, plus a new outbreak with 1 confirmed case at a group home – Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities. That’s 50 new cases since our last report.  This increase in cases is in large part due to the processing of the “backlog” of tests with the majority of specimens taken on or before March 19. The epidemic curve on our website provides the picture of the increase over time.

The number of people hospitalized and in intensive care also changes daily. There are currently 25 people in hospital – 5 more than yesterday, 7 of them are in ICU, which is 1 more than yesterday.  Looking at the overall data for the outbreak, seniors aged 65 years and older were the most frequent age group ever hospitalized (49%) or ever in the ICU (67%).  So this means, the majority of hospitalizations (51%) and 33% of ICU admissions are people under 65 years of age.

Case and contact management

On the topic of case and contact management, we continue to receive guidance from the provincial Ministry of Health.  Currently OPH case managers are in touch with all positive cases and close contacts and provide education on self-isolation requirements.

Based on the latest guidance, we are strengthening case and contact measures to ensure that individuals with COVID-19 and their close contacts remain on strict self-isolation. These efforts will help us flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community in addition to the social distancing measures currently being encouraged.

Sincerely,

Dr. Vera Etches

Medical Officer of Health

Ottawa Public Health