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Elizabeth Payne File: Canada Border Services Agency personnel watch as a shipment of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Canada Photo by Canada Border Services Agency /via REUTERS Article content

Almost one year into the pandemic, Ottawa has hit a somber milestone — marking more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19 since testing began.

Four hundred and forty two of those cases were fatal.

On Saturday, Ottawa Public Health reported 49 new cases and no new deaths, bringing total cases in the city since the pandemic began to 15,054.

Of those cases, 487 remain active.

There have been 442 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in the city.

Thirty people are currently in hospital in Ottawa and five are in intensive care.

Ottawa has been in the Orange restrictions zone since coming out of lockdown last month, but its numbers are now nearing the top measures and trending up, which could put the city into the more restrictive Red zone.

Ottawa’s current case rate per 100,000 population is 38.9. If the weekly rate moves above 39.9, it would move Ottawa into Red category.

Other key indicators are also near the top of the Orange zone. Ottawa’s seven-day average Rt number (which measures how quickly cases reproduce) is at 1.05. Between 1 and 1.1 is in the Orange zone. The city’s positivity rate is 2.1 per cent. A rolling seven-day average above 2.4 is in the Red category.

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There are 22 ongoing outbreaks in healthcare institutions in the city, seven in schools and five in the community. Those include one new outbreak at Gloucester High School where one student and one staff member are infected.

The unfortunate case milestone comes as new vaccine approvals, changes in dosing requirements and increased supply mean the immunization rollout is expected to ramp up quickly in the coming days and weeks. Some public health officials are predicting that every eligible Canadian who wants a vaccine should be able to receive a first dose by the end of June.

That vaccination rollout will be in a race against a potential third wave, though.

Numbers of cases and the percentage of cases that are variants of concern have also been increasing. Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches warned that a third wave of COVID-19 seems to be on the way and vaccines will not be able to halt the spread.

Ottawa’s wastewater surveillance has shown a steady climb in amount of COVID-19 in the community in recent days and, for the first time, the more contagious variant B117, first identified in the UK, has been identified in the wastewater through tracking. There are believed to be at least 83 cases of variants in the city, although wastewater surveillance suggests there could be more.

Ontario news

Ontario reported 990 new cases of COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon and six additional deaths, a drop from a day earlier.

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The numbers come as some parts of the province — including nearby Renfrew and Lanark counties — have increased restrictions and Ottawa remains on the verge of moving back in to the Red zone from the current, less restrictive, Orange zone.

In health units in the area, Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District reported 19 new cases, the Eastern Ontario Unit, which includes Cornwall, had 12 new cases, Kingston area had two additions, and Renfrew District and County, had one new case. There were no new cases reported in the Hastings Prince Edward unit.

As of Monday, Renfrew County will move from the relatively open Green zone to the Yellow category, which includes restrictions on numbers of people who can gather.

Region

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paula Stewart tightened pandemic restrictions in Eastern Lanark County Friday after a series of outbreaks and rising case counts.. Those areas include Carleton Place, Almonte and Pakenham.

The order means all sports facilities, such as curling rinks, private arenas and indoor sports venues such as indoor soccer and tennis, must close. Facilities operated by clubs and organizations must stop rentals for private social gathering, restaurants must begin collecting customer information and must only seat members of the same household together. Additional restrictions were also added to places of worship and banquet halls and wedding venues.

Those who contravene the order are liable for fines up to $5,000.

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The health unit has reported a rapid increase in cases related to a social gathering and then spread through sports facilities and other contacts.

Arnprior’s COVID-19 vaccination team immunized 112 high-priority frontline workers last week in the area’s first drive-thru vaccination clinic at Arnprior District High School parking lot.

Drive-thru clinics are part of the regional vaccination plan from the Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

Among those vaccinated were family physicians, dentists, pharmacists, paramedics and some area OPP members.

Quebec news

Quebec reported another 749 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 291,924.

About 274,245 people have recovered from the virus and there are 7,214 active cases.

Another 10 deaths were reported, including four from the past 24 hours, bringing Quebec’s death toll to 10,465.

There were 20 new cases reported in the Outaouais, bringing the total to 6,445. The death toll remains unchanged at 163.

Hospitalizations continued to decrease. There are 601 people in hospital, a drop of 16. There are 109 people in ICU, down two ffrom Friday.

Another 19,865 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Friday, bringing the total to 532,012 since the campaign began in December. Quebec has received 638,445 doses.

National

As of Friday at 7 p.m., there were 30,146 active COVID-19 cases across Canada. There has been a total of 22,192 deaths nationwide.

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Like cheese or Pierce Brosnan, many things keep getting better with age. Our COVID testing is like that, too.

Gone are the days of waiting in line for hours or anxiously hitting refresh 74x to book a test. Today the process is simple, quick & easy. Info: https://t.co/FikiFu6Ril pic.twitter.com/47iWNtAOw8

— Ottawa Public Health (@OttawaHealth) March 6, 2021

-With files from Postmedia and The Canadian Press

Relief, relief, relief’: Vaccination begins for seniors in high-risk Ottawa neighbourhoods, as infections rise locally Trudeau sticks to September timeline despite new COVID vaccine and new doses Share this article in your social network Ottawa Citizen Headline News

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