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COVID-19 in Ottawa: What you need to know on Wednesday, April 13


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Ontario

(Reported Wednesday)

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13: New deaths (12 in the last month, one added in a data cleanup)

12,583: Total deaths

1,332: People in hospital and testing positive

182: In ICU

85: On ventilators (subset of previous number)

3,833: New confirmed cases (case numbers are considered underestimates with testing limited to certain groups)

1,204,452: Total cases

Ottawa

(Reported Wednesday)

1: New death

767: Total deaths

15: People in hospital due to an active infection

1: In ICU because of active infection

193: New COVID-19 cases (case numbers are considered underestimates with testing limited to certain groups)

68,452: Total cases

1,735: Active cases

46: Ongoing outbreaks in institutional settings

18.28: Per cent test positivity in the community (seven-day average through Tuesday)

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Current public health measures

Masks will once again be required for students and staff at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board after trustees voted Tuesday night to enforce their own mandate temporarily, but it’s unclear when mandatory masking will begin as staff are now working out the details.

In a sometimes emotional debate, most trustees said that with high rates of COVID-19 in Ottawa and increasing absenteeism, mandatory masking will make schools safer and reduce transmission of the virus.

Some trustees said it may be hard to enforce mask use after the province ended the requirement to wear a mask in most indoor public spaces last month.

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On Monday, Ontario expanded eligibility for COVID-19 PCR testing and antiviral treatments amid a sixth wave that the province’s top doctor said won’t peak for several more weeks, though he declined to reinstate mask mandates.

Public health indicators have been worsening recently, including the percentage of tests that are positive, the level of hospitalizations and COVID-19 activity in wastewater surveillance, chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said at a press conference.

Moore said he strongly recommends people continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces and urged people to get their booster doses because they are helping to keep people out of hospital when infected.

Mask mandates were lifted in most public settings and schools on March 21. The province had set April 27 as the date it plans to eliminate masking requirements in remaining places, including long-term care homes, hospitals and public transit.

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How to get vaccinated

Fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available to Ontario residents aged 60 and over as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis people and household members aged 18 and up.

Eligible people can book through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling 1-833-943-3900, through public health units that use their own booking systems and at participating pharmacies. Some family doctors are also giving boosters.

In Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health community clinics and after-school clinics are open for drop-in shots for everyone eligible for a first dose, second dose and booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa

According to the provincial government announcement Monday, anyone 70 and older, people 60 and older with fewer than three vaccine doses, and those 18 and older with fewer than three doses and at least one risk factor such as a chronic medical condition can now be tested and assessed for treatment.

Molecular testing in Ontario has been prioritized for people at increased risk and those living or working in high-risk settings.

Ottawans can find out more on the Ottawa Public Health website along with what to do if they have symptoms, test positive or are high-risk contacts.

Where to get rapid tests in Ottawa

Ontario is distributing free rapid antigen tests through pharmacy and grocery locations across the province, with Health Minister Christine Elliott saying last week that they’d be handed out until at least July 31.

With files from Jacquie Miller and The Canadian Press

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