Low ICU admissions and high vaccination rate put Ottawa in good stead

Although Ottawa has yet to peak in the current wave of COVID-19 fueled by Omicron, this city is faring better than other areas of the province with a low number of ICU admissions in Ottawa hospitals, according to a local expert.

The capital started this wave with fewer known active cases and higher vaccination rates than many other parts of Ontario, which “is making a big difference now,” said Dr. Doug Manuel, senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital tracking local data on COVID-19. .

According to Thursday’s report from Ottawa Public Health (OPH), there were only three people with COVID-19 in intensive care in hospitals in the Ottawa area.

Public Health Ontario has reported 319 people with COVID-19 in intensive care units across the province, up from 288 the day before and 200 a week earlier. Areas like Toronto and Hamilton have also seen increases in COVID patients in their intensive care units.

PHO also reported a total of 35 local residents in Ottawa hospitals on Thursday due to COVID-19, including the three intensive care patients, which is relatively low compared to other health units in Ontario. .

The hospitals themselves have reported dozens of additional patients with COVID-19 – The Ottawa Hospital reported 71 at its three hospitals on Wednesday, for example – because they also count those who have been admitted with d ‘other diseases and contracted COVID-19 as a secondary condition, as well as patients transferred from other regions.

WATCH: Why hospital and public health numbers often don’t match up when it comes to COVID-19 patients:

Why Hospital Numbers and Public Health Numbers Often Do Not Match When It Comes To COVID-19 Patients

Queen’s University infectious disease specialist Dr Gerald Evans says hospitals can count all patients in the facility who test positive for the disease, regardless of where they live, while the public health only include their own residents. 0:54

Upcoming change in reporting of COVID-19 cases in hospital

The Ontario Ministry of Health has announced that it will soon begin publishing data that differentiates patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 from those who test positive for the virus in hospital for unrelated reasons.

“[Hospitals] can count people who test positive [after being admitted], but we, on our dashboard, want to show how serious the disease is, so that’s how we present the information, ”said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa Medical Officer of Health.

No matter how you break down the number of hospitalizations, Manuel says the vaccine has helped limit the effect on hospitals in Ottawa to the point where, according to Wednesday’s report, 83 percent of the population of five years and over has received two doses of a COVID-. 19 vaccine. That number jumps to 90% if you only include residents 12 and older.

Omicron has hit hospitals hard, however, due to understaffing.

“The good news is that vaccines work against serious infections. Bad news: It still takes away a lot of our staff and the ability to work,” Manuel said.

“The efficacy of the vaccine for intensive care and hospitalization is really holding up. So it could be worse. But we have new twists. We have new challenges. And staffing is major, major.”

Dr. Doug Manuel, physician and senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, says hospital staff have been the main cause of concern during this wave of COVID-19. (Submitted by Doug Manuel)

Ottawa could turn to Kingston

In Kingston, the Omicron wave caused number of cases to explode in December, but officials in that city are now optimistic infections could level off.

“The good news is that the number of our intensive care units is not really increasing at all,” said Dr. Gerald Evans, physician and infectious disease specialist at Queen’s University.

Dr Piotr Oglaza, medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, also says he hopes “the impact of Omicron will be mitigated by the protection against serious illness from vaccination.”

This could present a sign of optimism as Ottawa looks to see when the city reaches its peak in hospitalizations for COVID-19, as well as monitor increasing levels of the virus in its wastewater.

Leave a Comment