More than 500 people in Ottawa have died in relation to COVID-19, according to the local public health unit’s latest report Wednesday.
Ottawa Public Health said five people died in connection with the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll of the pandemic locally to 503 since March 2020.
OPH also added 217 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, though the number of active infections in the city continued to fall to 2,363.
The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases also dropped to 196.6 on Wednesday, down from just under 200 the day before.
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said in a press conference after city council’s Wednesday meeting that COVID-19 rates continue to drop in the city and hospitalizations are “fairly stable,” but virus levels remain as high as they were during the pandemic’s last peak locally in January.
Etches thanked Ottawa residents for doing their part in limiting the spread of the virus, but said it’s “a bit too early to be talking about any lifting of restrictions.”
Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign has now seen more than 300,000 residents receive their first shot of the vaccine.
The latest update shows that 35 per cent of Ottawa residents aged 16 and older have now received at least one shot, representing 306,035 people.
Canada is expecting to receive an initial shipment of 300,000 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines this week, but Anthony Di Monte, the head of Ottawa’s distribution task force, said Wednesday that he hasn’t been told when or if the nation’s capital will receive a portion of the one-shot vaccines.
He is “assuming” the city will get the J&J shots at some point, however, and said the task force is working with Etches to determine where those doses could best be used.
The City of Ottawa opened up vaccination appointments for the month of May on Tuesday after putting a pause on new bookings earlier in April while it confirmed future vaccine deliveries.
Mayor Jim Watson also spoke after council on Wednesday to urge residents to avoid putting their name on too many vaccination wait-lists at local pharmacies.
He said people who are signing up for more than a dozen wait-lists are disrupting pharmacies’ efforts to distribute doses.
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