July 30

Update from Ottawa Public Health

Hello. Bonjour. Kwey. 

I want to thank every Ottawa resident who has taken the step to help protect themselves and those around them by getting vaccinated. To date, 83 per cent of people in Ottawa aged 12 and older have received at least one dose and 70 per cent of people aged 12 and older have received two doses. Thank you. Every day, we get a little bit closer to achieving our goal of fully vaccinating 90 per cent of the eligible population in Ottawa.  

Achieving 90 per cent is possible, and we will need to work together as a community. Based on early survey data, we know that the vast majority – about 82 per cent – of people were planning on getting the vaccine once it was available. Less than 10 per cent of people indicated they did not plan on getting the vaccine and about 10 per cent indicated they weren’t sure.  

It has been Ottawa Public Health’s job to ensure that everyone has access to the information they need to make an informed decision about getting a vaccine. This work will continue.  

To get to 90 per cent, OPH is working with partners to address barriers and provide more access to the vaccine to make it as easy as possible for everyone who wants a vaccine to get one. Community clinics continue, and we are now extending the use of mobile clinics, bringing the vaccine to where people work, live, play and pray. Workplaces, community organizations, places of worship and other groups can now request a mobile vaccination team to administer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on-site, at their own location. Visit ottawapublichealth.ca/COVD19vaccine for more information. 

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It’s hard to believe, but we are just six weeks away from the first day of school for most Ontario schools. Again, I’d like to thank the people of Ottawa for your amazing progress on vaccine uptake, including children and youth aged 12 to 17. If you or your child falls within this age group and has not yet received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time to do so in order to be fully vaccinated before the start of the school year. 

While we are waiting for more details from the Province on the school reopening plan, we anticipate the return of in-person learning. Keeping schools open has been one of OPH’s top priorities since the beginning of the pandemic. We know that students, their parents, caregivers and educators benefit mentally, socially and developmentally from in-person learning.  

Some families may be feeling uneasy about sending their children or youth back to school. We know that transmission of COVID-19 in schools during this past school year was very low. The public health measures in schools ensured schools were as safe as possible for students and education staff. We also know that rates of COVID-19 in the community are often reflected in schools, meaning the more COVID there is in the community, the greater the likelihood of it appearing in schools. This is why it is so important that we continue to work towards community immunity by getting vaccinated. Children under 12 are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine, so now is the time to rally and help protect our children by getting vaccinated ourselves. Les enfants de moins de 12 ans ne sont pas encore admissibles à recevoir un vaccin. Le moment est donc venu de nous mobiliser et d’aider à protéger nos enfants en nous faisant vacciner. 

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We are closely watching the situation in the UK, Israel and other countries who are currently experiencing a resurgence despite high vaccine uptake. Many people are wondering if another resurgence is inevitable here in Ottawa. We don’t have to follow this trend.  

In addition to ensuring we are fully vaccinated as soon as possible, there are other actions we can all take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including wearing a mask in closed spaces and crowds, maintaining physical distance from others and staying home when sick except to get tested – even if you have had two doses of the vaccine. These are public health measures that will continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and will likely remain in place for some time. 

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If you still have questions about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, or you simply aren’t sure what you should do, talk to someone: your family physician, a family member or friend who may have been in a similar situation, or an OPH nurse or team member – they are here to listen with compassion and empathy. 

If you were once hesitant and changed your mind about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, share your story with others.  

If you find yourself talking with a friend or loved one who isn’t sure about vaccines, there are ways to do so without judgement: 

· Engage the person and ask open-ended questions like “What can I clarify for you?” instead of simple “yes” or “no” questions. 

· Listen more than you speak. Most people just want a safe space to be heard. 

· Do not belittle, shame, dismiss or judge someone for being hesitant or having questions. 

· And don’t assume the person’s reasons for being hesitant. 

And of course, you can visit our website for more information. In addition to our vaccine page, we recently updated our Community Immunity page which now features even more helpful information on the importance of getting a vaccine, how to talk to others about vaccines, what to do as we continue the journey to community immunity, mental health resources and more.  

Ottawa Public Health is aware that the impacts of the pandemic on the well-being of our community continue to be felt. Our focus is also on plans to stand up and catch up on public health services that promote health (including and beyond vaccination) through partnerships with workplaces, educational institutions, Indigenous service providers, the City of Ottawa and health care providers. 

We’re getting there, Ottawa, and you should be proud. Let’s stay the course. 

Thank you. Merci. Meegwetch. 

Dr. Vera Etches 

Ottawa Public Health Updates: 

Colonel By Day Service Impacts 

With the long weekend approaching there will be some schedule changes for OPH services. Please note the changes below. For a full list of impacted City of Ottawa services please visit Ottawa.ca. 

· The Sexual Health Clinic and satellite clinics will be closed. 

·  The Site program office and supervised consumption services at 179 Clarence Street will be closed. The Site mobile van will operate from 5 pm to 11:30 pm. 

· The Ottawa Public Health Information Centre and COVID-19 Information line at 613-580-6744 will be closed on Monday, August 2. 

· The Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Booking line at 613-691-5505 will be open from 8:30 am to 4 pm on Monday, August 2. 

·  Dental clinics will be closed. 

· The Baby Help Line will be closed. 

Visit the OPH COVID-19 Testing Information page for hours of operation and to book appointments at assessment centres and care clinics in Ottawa. The following sites will be open on Monday, August 2 for testing in Ottawa: 

· COVID-19 CHEO Assessment Centre and Kids Come First Care Clinic at Brewer Park Arena (10:30 am to 5:30 pm) 

· COVID-19 Assessment Centre for Adults at Brewer Park Arena (10:30 am to 5:30 pm) 

· COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre on Coventry Road (10 am to 2 pm) 

· North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Kemptville) (9 am to 1 pm) 

Fighting health care barriers with the Ottawa Health Team 

The Ottawa Health Team – Équipe Santé Ottawa (OHT – ESO) is one of the Ontario Health Teams that are active in Ottawa. Their work during the pandemic has recently been highlighted by the City of Ottawa. Learn more about their emergency response to the pandemic, the changes made to better support communities, and working towards community immunity by reading and sharing their story on the City of Ottawa’s website

NEW Multilingual Video Content 

In an effort to build vaccine confidence and to decrease language barriers, OPH has asked nine (9) doctors to share their stories and to answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in 8 different languages. Please take a moment to view and share these stories – 9 stories and 8 Languages

Shareable links: 

·Punjabi Dr Ramandeep Chawla: ਕੋਵਿਦ-੧੯ ਵੈਕਸੀਨ ਦੇ ਬਾਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਕੁਛ ਸਵਾਲ ਜਵਾਬ ਤੁਹਾਡੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ ਦੇ ਵਿਚ ਦੇਣਗੇ ਅਸਲੀ ਡਾਕਟਰ – YouTube 

·Spanish – Dr Christina Romulus: Doctores de verdad responden a preguntas sobre vacunas contra COVID-19 en vuestro propio idioma. – YouTube 

Spanish – Dr Miguel Cortel-Leblanc: Doctores de verdad responden a preguntas sobre vacunas contra COVID-19 en vuestro propio idioma. – YouTube 

·Hindi – Dr Karan Sharma: Real Doctors Answer Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions – Hindi – YouTube 

Turkish – Dr Berna Akcakir: Real Doctors Answer Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions – Turkish – YouTube 

· Arabic – Dr Cherif Ibrahim: :أطباء حقيقيون يجيبون على أسئلتكم حول لقاح كوفيد-۱۹بلغتكم – YouTube 

· French – Dr Andree Michelle Cortel-Leblanc: Des médecins répondent à vos questions concernant les vaccins contre la COVID-19 dans votre langue – YouTube 

· Cantonese – Dr Tracy Wong: 您身邊的醫生用您的語言回答 COVID-19 疫苗問題 – YouTube 

Polish – Dr Andrzej Rochowski: Prawdziwi lekarze odpowiadają na pytania dotyczące szczepionki COVID-19 w Twoim języku – YouTube 

Links also available on the following pages: 

Multicultural page: Multilingual Resources for Diverse Communities – Ottawa Public Health 

Arabic portal: COVID-19 Arabic Portal – Ottawa Public Health 

Community Immunity page: Community Immunity – Ottawa Public Health

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