COVID-19: Third vaccine doses to be available to at-risk patients; 660 new cases in Ontario

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A third dose of COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to Ottawa residents who are at risk of serious illness or are severely immunocompromised, as well as long-term care residents and residents in highest-risk retirement homes, Ottawa Public Health announced on Wednesday.


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Qualifying patients include transplant recipients, including those who have received an organ transplant or hematopoietic stem cell transplants; patients with hematological cancers such as lymphoma, myeloma or leukemia who are receiving chemotherapy, targeted therapies or immunotherapy as well as recipients of an anti-CD20 agent such as rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab.

Patients who fit the criteria can speak to their specialist or hospital program to ask for a letter to receive a third dose, the agency said.

The third dose will be given at least two months after the second dose and will match the vaccine received as the second dose.

Drop-in vaccinations are available to eligible patients at community clinics, pop-up clinics, or neighbourhood vaccination hubs. Eligible patients must present a letter from their specialist or hospital program.


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Meanwhile, residents of long-term care homes and highest risk retirement homes will also be offered a third dose. This will come at least five months after the second dose. Ottawa Public Health is working with long-term care homes and highest risk retirement homes directly to offer a third dose to residents in those settings, said the city.

At a news conference, Ottawa’s Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brent Moloughney said that Ottawa Public Health supports any policy that increases immunization coverage in Ottawa, but remains unsure whether it makes sense for the city to have its own vaccine certificate program to match the systems in the Outaoauis.

He noted Ontario has a provincial vaccination database, and it makes sense for the province to the “policy lead” on the matter.


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“Our circumstance here in Ottawa is a bit unique compared to other parts of the province in that Quebec is just over the river, and we have seen over the course of the COVID pandemic that anytime there is an imbalance in policies between Ontario and Quebec, people move accordingly,” said Moloughney.

“Sometimes people from Ontario go to Quebec and vice versa. I think with Quebec introducing their passport system starting soon, my understanding is that Ontario residents can go to Quebec and show their vaccination status. That will have a net impact on our businesses where we will be potentially losing business.”

He is also concerned about unvaccinated people from Quebec coming to Ottawa.

“It would be helpful to have some kind of certification system here.”


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On Wednesday, Peel region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Lo, called on the province to implement a vaccine certificate program, and added that he and other health units were exploring what can be done locally if there is no provincial certification program.

Moloughney said Ottawa Public Health will be interested to hear more about what Peel has in mind.

The local business community sees the value in having a certification system, he said.

“We’re certainly here to work with the business community and look at local solutions that would be of assistance to them in the absence of, or until a province policy is active.”

Meanwhile, Carleton University will no longer allow unvaccinated staff, students and visitors on campus without a valid exemption.


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Earlier this month, the university said anyone visiting or attending this fall would be allowed on campus if they followed all public health measures and underwent rapid testing before entering the grounds.

In an updated statement on Tuesday, the university said only those who have a valid medical or human rights exemption would still be permitted on campus without a vaccination.

“Unvaccinated individuals without an approved permitted exemption will not be able to attend campus or any University activity in person.” Suzanne Blanchard, the university’s COVID-19 lead, said

Anyone on campus must attest to having had their first dose by Sept. 8 and their second no later than Oct. 15.

Reporting vaccination status is not required to access campus prior to Sept. 8, the university says.


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See the university’s COVID-19 plan here: https://carleton.ca/covid19/

Ottawa Public Health reported 19 new cases and no new deaths on Wednesday.

There are currently 156 active cases, with three people in hospital, none in ICU.

So far, there have been 28,175 confirmed cases in Ottawa and 593 deaths.

An outbreak at the St. Anthony Children’s Centre that had infected four children and a staffer was declared over Tuesday. There remain two outbreaks in community settings: one at a retail business and the other in a sports venue.

The rolling seven-day average of cases per 100,000 population is 13.2, while the percent positivity in testing is 1.6. The reproductive number, measuring the number of people who could be infected by a COVID-19 patient has dipped to 1.06. A number greater than 1 indicates the virus is spreading.


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Latest COVID-19 news in Ontario

There were 660 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death reported in Ontario Wednesday.

Of the new cases, 525 were not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status, and 135 are fully vaccinated, Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott tweeted on Wednesday morning.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 560,637 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,472 deaths.

As of Wednesday, 283 people were in hospital, not including those in ICU. Of these, 253 are not fully vaccinated, or have an unknown vaccinated status, while 30 are fully vaccinated.

Of the 161 people in ICU with COVID-related critical illness, 130 are currently testing positive for COVID, while 31 are no longer testing positive.


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There are 73 patients testing positive for COVID currently on ventilators in Ontario. A further 19 patients are on ventilators, but are no longer testing positive.

The effective reproduction number, or R(e), is 1.25. The R(e) number is an estimate of the average number of people one person with COVID-19 will infect. A number lower than 1 indicates the virus is receding.

In capital region health units: There was one new case in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark; two new cases in the Eastern Ontario public health unit and none in Renfrew County.

So far, 20,566,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Ontario residents, with 82.4 per cent of Ontario residents over the age of 12 having received one dose, and 75.3 per cent having received both doses, Elliott reported.


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Meanwhile, Ontario’s hospital association has renewed its calls for broader COVID-19 vaccination as hospitalizations and intensive care admissions due to the virus rise.

The number of people in intensive care as a result of COVID-19 has surpassed 150, a level at which the province last year said it would have to start cutting back on surgeries.

On Tuesday, Ontario’s top doctor, Dr. Kieran Moore, said the province currently has the capacity to care for those in intensive care, but will closely monitor what he considers a “key marker” of the pandemic situation.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the head of the Ontario Hospital Association said increasing the vaccination rate will help reduce the burden on hospitals and minimize any further disruption to non-COVID services.


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Anthony Dale noted more 90 per cent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care and more than 80 per cent of those hospitalized but not in an ICU are not fully vaccinated with two doses.
He notes uptake of vaccinations has also “slowed significantly” recently even as case counts increase.

Latest COVID-19 news in Quebec

The Quebec government is recommending that companies delay plans to return employees to offices until the COVID-19 situation in the province improves.

The Health Department said Wednesday in a news release it would be more prudent to wait before asking employees to stop working from home because of the heavy presence of the Delta variant in Quebec and because the province is in a fourth wave of the virus.


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It says a large proportion of outbreaks across the province during preceding waves occurred in workplaces.

Quebec has recorded 550 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

In addition, one new death was reported. It occurred before Aug. 18.

Hospitalizations and intensive-care admissions jumped and are now at levels not seen in almost two months.

There were eight new hospitalizations for a total, while 33 patients are in ICU, a rise of four.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Quebec has reported 386,015 cases and 11,284 deaths linked to COVID-19.

Other COVID-19 news nationally

Canadian imams are urging members of the Muslim community to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.


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Twenty-five religious leaders have issued a joint statement pointing to “overwhelming, undeniable scientific evidence” of vaccine protection as a fourth wave targets mostly unvaccinated people.

The group says delaying or avoiding vaccination — unless under the advice of a medical expert — puts lives in danger, which goes against the teachings of Islam.

It says COVID-19 and its more contagious variants are contributing to a rise in cases and deaths, so getting inoculated is more crucial than ever.

The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada is holding its own lottery to encourage vaccination.

Any Canadian Muslim who receives both doses between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31 will be eligible to enter a draw for two pilgrimage tickets to the holy city of Mecca.

“We strongly urge unvaccinated Canadian Muslims (if there is anyone left) to get vaccinated,” the imams say in the statement. “This will certainly help in saving lives.”

  1. A test scan of a vaccine passport is shown at an Econofitness gym in Laval, Quebec, Canada August 17, 2021.

    Quebec’s vaccine passport starts Sept. 1, here’s what out-of-province visitors must show to gain access to non-essential businesses

  2. The Ottawa Hospital is now mandating vaccinations for staff.

    ‘The right thing to do’: Ottawa’s hospitals make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory



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