Update from OPH and City of Ottawa partners regarding COVID-19 in the community
Our community has worked hard to get to where we are and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has rolled up their sleeve to get vaccinated. Your efforts are making a difference in our community.
While we are making significant progress, we need to stay ahead of the virus as we go into the fall. We will continue to monitor the impact of each step we take, which might give COVID-19 more opportunity to spread. We know the Delta variant is more transmissible and is giving rise to substantial resurgences in other countries despite high levels of immunization. OPH will keep an eye on hospitalizations as a key measure of whether the virus is reaching more vulnerable populations.
Our city has made significant progress on COVID-19 vaccination efforts. To date, over 1,360,000 total doses have been administered in Ottawa. Eighty-three (83) percent of all eligible individuals have at least one dose, and the rate of those fully vaccinated with two doses has been accelerating quickly and stands at 66 percent. We know many people have appointments for their second doses over the upcoming months. We strongly encourage them to rebook their appointment to get their second doses as soon as possible.
The actions people continue to take (wearing masks indoors and in crowded spaces, physical distancing, limiting close contacts and getting two doses of COVID-19 vaccine) are enabling us to keep COVID-19 levels at a minimum. Please see below an update from OPH and City of Ottawa partners regarding COVID-19 in the community.
Dr. Brent Moloughney
The City of Ottawa will be consolidating the number of community clinics to meet demand. Specifically, the following community vaccination clinics will continue to operate as of Wednesday, July 21, 2021:
· Eva James Memorial Community Centre
· Nepean Sportsplex (Halls A and B)
· Ottawa City Hall
· Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA
· Queensway Carleton Hospital (which will cease operations on July 30, 2021)
Community clinics provide the resources and scale for mass vaccination. As we proceed with the vaccine roll-out other, more targeted, vaccine delivery channels will be prioritized to reach the remainder of the population. In addition to community clinics, pharmacies and primary care teams, pop-ups and other approaches serving those in priority neighbourhoods will continue to reduce barriers to access. This is in addition to new outreach and delivery approaches, such as the Escapade Music Festival that will have a pop-up clinic, which aims to reach priority age groups.
Consolidating the number of community clinics now makes sense from a demand perspective and will allow staff and our partners to focus on other service delivery priorities. We will, however, remain vigilant and retain our ability to quickly adjust the number of community clinics, as required.
Vaccines in Ottawa
The first and second dose waitlist tool has been updated to reset weekly (not daily), which makes life much easier for those using it! The waitlist lets you sign up for last-minute doses that are available at our community clinics. Sign up here: COVID-19 Vaccine Wait List
Anyone who has not yet had a first or second dose can now drop in to any City-run community clinic between 10 am and 7 pm or pop-up clinic (while supplies last). No appointment needed. Residents can also drop in at the Queensway Carleton Hospital between 9 am and 3 pm daily. You can find a clinic near you by using the vaccine clinic location tool on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVID19vaccine.
OPH continues to work to improve vaccine confidence in Ottawa by highlighting personal experiences from members of the community. A few of our most recent posts are included below for you to share on various social media platforms.
Dr Dartey’s vaccine story in Ashante Twi: Vaccine Ambassador Stories – Dr. Ralph Dartey (Ashante Twi) – YouTube
Felicite’s vaccines story in Kinyarwanda: Abakangurambaga b’urukingo rwa COVID-19 – Félicité – YouTube
Kids 12 and older pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic
For four days next week, CHEO and other partners of the Kids Come First Health Team – including Roger Neilson House, community pediatricians and numerous family physicians – will provide COVID-19 vaccines to all youth aged 12 to 17 and their families at the Minto Sports Complex on the University of Ottawa campus. CHEO and Kids Come First partners are calling on community members and media to help spread the word.
This is a dedicated pop-up clinic for youth in the Ottawa and valley region. Any adults who accompany youth to the clinic can also receive a vaccine, but those from ages 12 to 17 years old are the focus.
No appointment is necessary. Just show up! People will be offered appointment cards onsite on a first-come first-served basis.
When? July 26-29, 8 am – 8 pm
Where? University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex, 801 King Edward, Arena # 2 (free parking and accessible via OC Transpo)
Who? Children and youth 12 to 17 years old, and adults who accompany them. The current provincially allowed interval between doses is 28 days.
Please, if you know a youth or teen who needs a COVID-19 vaccine, tell them about this pop-up clinic.
There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently about mixing of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), as well as mixing AstraZeneca and an mRNA vaccine to complete the COVID-19 immunization series. The mRNA vaccines are interchangeable and using different brands to complete a series is not new in the world of vaccines, where this is done when vaccine availability shifts, such as with hepatitis and meningitis vaccines.
The use of different vaccines to complete the series is based on science, real-world studies, is safe, effective and enables more people to receive their second dose sooner. Receiving a second dose as soon as available is important for improved protection against the delta variant that is now making up the majority of COVID-19 in Ontario.
COVID Testing at Day Camps
In an effort to reduce barriers to testing for those who develop symptoms and/or are identified as high-risk contacts, in collaboration with CHEO, OPH is offering take-home COVID-19 tests at City of Ottawa day camps. The test kits are being offered to staff and campers who develop symptoms or are identified as high-risk contacts. Kits can be completed on-site (e.g. in the parking lot) or at home, and can be returned to the camp or to the Brewer Assessment Centre.
For those with symptoms and who are unable to attend a testing centre, completing a take-home test kit may allow the child to return to camp sooner if the result is negative.
Kits will be available at approximately 17 day camps, with additional day camps to be added. The first round of day camps were selected based on their size and anticipated barriers to testing among participants.
COVID Testing in Ottawa
After a careful review of case counts and demand for COVID-19 testing, the COVID-19 Pop-Up Testing Site at the Vanier Community Service Centre closed its doors at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 22. Vanier residents will continue to have access to local COVID-19 testing through Ottawa’s Community Health Centres (CHCs).
The Centretown, Somerset West and Sandy Hill CHCs are all located in the downtown core and provide social supports and COVID-19 testing to local residents. Residents can call 613-288-5353 or visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/CovidTesting to find a testing location best suited to their needs.
For some communities and families, mental health is never talked about and it can feel embarrassing to bring up. It’s important to know that 1 in 5 Canadians live with a mental health issue and that these are not caused by weakness or poor will-power. When we break an arm or have diabetes, we see a health professional. Mental health also needs attention, care, patience and time. The sooner someone gets help (through diagnosing and treating mental health problems), the sooner they can start getting better and lead a full and positive life.
Please see below the resources available to Ottawa residents to support mental health and substance use.
· If you are in crisis, please immediately contact the Mental Health Crisis Line at 613-722-6914. They are available to speak to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
· Counselling Connect provides quick access to a free phone or video counselling session. This service is for everyone: children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. Please visit their website if you would like to book and appointment.
· AccessMHA is for anyone who is 16 years of age or older, living in eastern Ontario, and looking for mental health and/or substance use/addiction services. If you need help and support, and are not sure where to go, reach out and they will connect you to the service you need.
· 1call1click.ca is a simple way for persons 16 year of age or younger and families to access the right mental health and addiction care, at the right time. 1Call1Click.ca also helps navigate the system for children, youth and families struggling with complex mental health and addiction needs – guiding, problem-solving and managing ongoing care.
With the Province of Ontario having moved into the third step of its reopening plan on Friday, July 16, the City is gradually expanding many of its in-person services – especially indoor recreation and cultural activities and programs. More information on City programs and services impacted by Stage 3 can be found here.