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COVID-19: First death of child from virus reported by Ottawa Public Health

“This is the first pediatric death reported in Ottawa in which COVID-19 has been identified as an underlying or contributory cause of death.”

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COVID-19 in Ottawa

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(Reported Friday, last updated December 23)

3: New deaths

985: total number of deaths

25: Ottawa resident hospitalized with active infections

3: In intensive care due to active infections

83: Confirmed COVID-19 patients in Ottawa hospitals as of Wednesday (including residents outside of Ottawa), 51 hospitalized for COVID-19 (5 in ICU) and 32 for other reasons (1 in ICU)

264: New COVID-19 cases (case numbers are considered underestimated as testing is limited to certain groups)

87,788: total cases

35: Ongoing outbreaks in institutional settings

2:44 p.m.: percent test positivity (seven-day average as of Wednesday)

Source: Ottawa Public Health

First pediatric death from COVID-19 reported in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health recorded the city’s first death of a child from COVID-19 in December.

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It is the only death in the 0-9 year old age group, which has claimed a total of 985 lives in the city since the pandemic began nearly three years ago.

“This is the first pediatric death reported in Ottawa in which COVID-19 has been identified as an underlying or contributory cause of death. We can no longer disclose about the person or the circumstances,” Ottawa Public Health said in an email response to inquiries from the newspaper.

The death was recorded in the December 16 OPH report.

Only five of Ottawa’s COVID-19 deaths involved people under the age of 39, according to OPH reports. Two were between 20 and 29 and two between 30 and 39 years old. There were no deaths of people aged 10 to 19 years.

By far the most deaths have occurred among the elderly, with 64 percent or 634 victims aged 80 or older. Almost 94 percent of COVID-19 deaths were in people aged 60 and older.

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However, young people make up the majority of COVID-19 infections, with the 20- to 29-year-old age group accounting for more than 17,000 of nearly 88,000 cases registered by OPH. Almost 15,000 cases have been confirmed in children aged 0 to 19 years. The total number of cases is only a rough indicator, as Ontario ended widespread testing and mandatory reporting of COVID-19 infections in December 2021.

Health Canada approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for infants and preschoolers last July.

Ottawa Public Health reports that 21 percent of children ages six months to five years and 65 percent of those ages 5 to 11 have at least one COVID-19 vaccination, while only 10 percent are in the younger category and 53 percent of those children age 5-11 have two doses.

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The current public health situation in Ottawa

Don’t go to gatherings like this weekend’s New Year’s Eve celebrations if you’re sick, Ottawa Public Health warned alongside an update suggesting “high levels” of influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus.

“We know you’re looking forward to these events (and) canceling friends (and) family can be difficult,” the health unit said Thursday with its weekly “snapshot” of respiratory virus activity.

“But if you’re sick, attending a gathering puts everyone at risk.”

People should wear a mask and examine themselves for symptoms when visiting an elderly person or visiting a nursing or retirement home, OPH said. The health department also recommends wearing a well-fitting mask in crowded indoor places like malls and theaters, getting vaccinated against the flu and staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.

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Overall, flu activity was down in Thursday’s update based on sewage monitoring, the percentage of lab tests that came back positive, and public health outbreaks, while activity for COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses was similar to the week before, OPH said.

In the week beginning Dec. 18, there were 1,174 respiratory visits to hospital emergency departments among the 6,516 total visits, OPH reported. The respiratory disease visits included 391 from children aged three years and under and 205 from children aged four to eleven years.

How to get vaccinated against COVID-19 (and flu) in Ottawa

Wondering if you’re due for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot? The Ontario Department of Health now has a new booster dose eligibility checker online.

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People can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments through Ontario’s online portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Center at 1-833-943-3900, make appointments at participating pharmacies, or visit a neighborhood wellness hub.

Flu shots are available at more than 250 pharmacies in Ottawa. OPH flu vaccination clinics serve children ages six months to five years and their household members and non-OHIP people who could not obtain the vaccine through pharmacies or healthcare providers.

How to get tested and treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa

Pharmacists in Ontario can now prescribe Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to reduce severe consequences of COVID-19, free of charge to eligible individuals, both in person and virtually.

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The antiviral drug is taken by mouth within five days of symptom onset and is recommended for people at higher risk of COVID-19 complications, including those over 60 and those with compromised immune systems.

People can use Ontario’s online COVID-19 antiviral treatments screener to determine if they are at higher risk of serious illness and could benefit from the drugs.

Because lab testing is being prioritized in the province for those at increased risk and in high-risk environments, Ottawa residents can visit the health unit’s website to find out who is eligible and how to book testing and get treatment at a local nursing clinic or assessment center.

Families can also visit the CHEO site for information on when to go to the ER and alternatives to the ER, including local assessment centers and nursing clinics.

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Where to get rapid COVID-19 tests

Ontario is extending a program to provide free rapid antigen test kits for COVID-19 through the end of June 2023.

Users can use their zip code to find participating pharmacies and grocery stores.

Latest statistics from Ottawa Public Health
Latest statistics from Ottawa Public Health Photo by OPH

This article is available for free – outside of our paywall – because we believe this is a matter of vital public concern. If you would like to support us as we continue to provide journalism that matters to all Ottawans, please subscribe to: https://ottawacitizen.com/subscribe/

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