Ottawa’s COVID-19 positivity rate hits 8.8%

Ottawa’s COVID-19 positivity rate is hitting troubling highs on Wednesday as the province prepares to introduce new restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ottawa Public Health reported an increase of 196 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, raising the total number of cases locally to 18,632 since the start of the pandemic.

One additional person has died in connection with COVID-19, raising the death toll of the pandemic to 470.

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The number of active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa stands at 1,926 as of Wednesday.

The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive in the past week has jumped to 8.8 per cent as of Wednesday, up from 7.8 per cent in the previous period. For comparison, when Ottawa entered Ontario’s red zone in mid-March, the city’s positivity rate stood at 2.7 per cent.

Since then, COVID-19 levels have soared in the nation’s capital, straining the city’s health-care system and Ottawa Public Health’s contact tracing capacities.

There are now 69 people in hospital with COVID-19 locally — 13 more than the day before — with 20 coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit.

OPH’s COVID-19 dashboard shows 97 per cent of acute care beds are currently occupied across all hospitals in the area, while 75 per cent of ICU beds are filled.

Public Health Ontario reports that 48.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Ottawa from March 26 to April 1 are likely variants of concern (VOC). OPH says there have been 612 VOC or mutated coronavirus cases identified in Ottawa to date.

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The Ontario government is expected to announce new COVID-19 restrictions including a possible stay-home order and the closure of non-essential retail, sources have told Global News.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, and Mayor Jim Watson have stated their support for further measures to control the spread of the virus.

Premier Doug Ford is holding a press conference to outline new procedures at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments are open to all Ottawa residents aged 60 and older as of Wednesday as part of Phase 2 of Ontario’s vaccine rollout.

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There have been 180,125 vaccine doses administered locally as of Wednesday, representing 77 per cent of the city’s total supply received to date.

Ottawa administered just over 7,000 vaccine doses on Tuesday, a new single-day high in the local vaccination campaign.

So far, 16 per cent of all residents aged 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with three per cent having gotten both doses.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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