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COVID-19: What you need to know Saturday, May 7


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Ontario

(Reported Saturday)

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24: New deaths

12,962: Total deaths

1,563: People in hospital and testing positive

204: In ICU

92: On ventilators (subset of previous number)

2,164: New confirmed cases (case numbers are considered underestimates with testing limited to certain groups)

1,272,972: Total cases

Ottawa

(Does not report on weekends)

Current public health measures

COVID-19 levels in the capital “remain high,” Ottawa Public Health said in a “snapshot” Wednesday which warned this wave isn’t over.

While levels of the virus detected in wastewater and the per cent of lab tests coming back positive “seem to be slowly decreasing, they remain high (and could climb again if we let down our guard).”

With warmer weather here, the health unit suggested gathering with friends and family outdoors to boost connections and mental health while reducing the risk of infection.

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Staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations lowers the risk, OPH said. Boosters strengthen protection even for people who’ve had the virus with drop-in doses available.

“We still strongly recommend that you wear a mask when in public and/or crowded indoor settings,” OPH said. “It’ll lower the risks to those around you.

“So, in short: this wave isn’t over, gather outdoors if you can, get boosted (and) wear masks. And stay home when sick.”

Ontario has extended mask mandates in hospitals, long-term care homes, on transit and other high-risk settings until June 11.

How to get vaccinated

Ontario public health officials should concentrate on increasing third-dose uptake rather than following Quebec’s lead and making fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses available to all adults, health experts say.

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In Ottawa, third-dose vaccination rates are slightly higher than the provincial average, with 55 per cent of Ottawa residents having received three doses.

Ottawa Public Health has made a concerted effort in recent weeks to increase the number of residents over 50 who have had at least three doses. In a statement, OPH said staff members had phoned or emailed more than 34,000 residents between the ages of 50 and 70 who had not yet received third doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines 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.

Book vaccinations through the province’s 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.

Ottawa Public Health community clinics and after-school clinics are open for drop-in shots for people eligible for a first dose, second dose or booster dose.

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Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa

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 in Ontario.

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

Ottawans can find out more about eligibility and how to book a test 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

Ontario is distributing free rapid antigen tests through pharmacy and grocery store locations across the province until at least July 31.

-with files from Elizabeth Payne

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