Barrhaven COVID-19 spike in April

By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent

As the province of Ontario released updated provincial framework for re-opening, new data shows Barrhaven’s COVID-19 case counts for April were higher than ever.

In new data released by the Ottawa Neighborhood Study, Old Barrhaven East reported 218 new COVID-19 infections in April 2021, with another 87 in Old Barrhaven West. Rideau Crest Davidson Heights also reported a high number at 1,130 new cases in that same month. Both Stonebridge/Half Moon Bay/Hearts Desire and Chapman Mills each reported 97 new COVID-19 cases. The neighbouring community of Riverside South-Leitrim reported 133.

In comparison to March, Old Barrhaven East reported 75 confirmed COVID-19 infections and Old Barrhaven West only reported 20. Half Moon Bay/Stonebridge/ Hearts Desire reported 54 cases that month; Rideau Crest Davidson Heights reported 23, and Chapman Mills reported 21. Riverside South-Leitrim reported 45.

Old Barrhaven East is the fifth worst community in Ottawa for COVID-19 infections, sitting at 611 since the pandemic first began in March 2020. The Huron Gate Ridgemont community has reported the most cases at 5,981 infections. Numbers for May are expected to be lower as daily case counts in the city start to decrease, however data won’t be released for another few weeks.

On Thursday, May 20, Ontario Premier Doug Ford alongside Health Minister Christine Elliott announced new three-step framework for the provinces reopening plan.

Phase one, which isn’t expected to begin until June 14, would allow all non-essential retail stores to re-open their doors at 15 per cent capacity. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed, and outdoor dining, with up to four people per table, will also be allowed to resume. Campgrounds, provincial parks, and outdoor pools would also be able to open. Ontario will need to have at least 60 per cent of the eligible population to be vaccinated with at least one dose for this to come into effect.

Phase two and three, which would allow larger gatherings and more people in businesses, won’t come into effect for at least another three weeks, meaning the full plan won’t be rolled out until mid August at the earliest.

As of Saturday, May 22, outdoor gatherings of up to five people will be allowed, and all outdoor amenities including driving ranges, soccer and other sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, and skate parks, can open, alongside golf courses. No outdoor sports or recreational classes are permitted.

The water at Barrhaven splash pads was turned on last week, but the city had to quickly shut them down and delay reopening until Phase 1 of the province’s reopening plan begins. Many parents in the community were disappointed by this news with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius with the humidex.

It’s also still unclear if schools in Ontario will reopen before the summer break. Premier Doug Ford said during his press conference that even top health officials are divided on the issue. Some feel we are in a safe enough spot for a return to in-person classes, whereas others feel it’s not worth the risk with only a few weeks of school left on the calendar. Recent modelling has shown that if students returned to in-person learning now, cases in the province would most likely rise by 11 per cent — a risk the premier does not want to take.