By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
While Barrhaven continues to report more COVID-19 cases than any other area of the city, trends seem to be leveling off.
According to data released on Ottawa Public Health’s website on Jan. 31, Barrhaven recorded 694 confirmed COVID-19 cases during the month of January. During that same time period, the neighbouring ward of Gloucester-South Nepean recorded 762 cases.
Out of the 23 municipal wards, 12 reported more than 500 new cases of the novel coronavirus during that 30 day period. PCR testing in Ontario however still remains hard to come by, resulting in many infections not being reported. Positive rapid test results are also not part of the numbers.
Last week the Ontario government announced more than 5.5 million tests will be distributed each week at more than 2,300 retailers across the province. Participating locations in Barrhaven include:
- Barrhaven Medical Pharmacy at 10-2900 Woodroffe Avenue
- Costco Pharmacy at 4315 Strandherd Drive
- Longfields Pharmacy at 613 Longfields Drive
- McDonoughs Independent Grocer at 3777 Strandherd Drive
- Metro at 3201 Strandherd Drive
- Pharma Plus at 900 Greenbank Road
- Rexall at 350 Cresthaven Drive
- Shoppers Drug Mart at 3151 Strandherd Drive
- Shoppers Drug Mart at 3781 Strandherd Drive
- Strandherd Pharmacy at 3091 Strandherd Drive
Stores in Barrhaven say they expect to receive countless supplies of the tests, meaning long lines won’t be reported like we saw in December and January when kits were handed out at the Walter Baker and Minto Recreation Centres.
It’s expected that COVID-19 has reached its peak in Ottawa and case counts are expected to decline in the coming weeks. Testing in wastewater is showing positive results and hospitalizations remain stable.
The Ontario government says they are reviewing COVID-19 restrictions which could loosen earlier than anticipated. The highly contagious Omicron peak is behind us, says the province’s top doctor, and we are in a “good position” to reconsider timelines.
“We will be reviewing the evidence … and the evidence is showing we’re making remarkable improvement in all the key metrics in Ontario,” Dr. Kieran Moore said.
In Ottawa COVID-19 related hospitalizations have reached their lowest point this year. As of Feb, 8, the city’s test positivity rate still remained high at 12.4 per cent, but the rate of COVID-19 infections per 100,000 dropped from 131.8 to 126.0.
When COVID-19 restrictions do continue to loosen, it’s still unclear by how much. The Ontario government is expected to increase capacity limits in most settings, yet masks will most likely remain in place for some time. It’s also unclear when vaccine passports will end, but some of Ontario’s top doctors are calling for it to be reviewed, saying it’s ineffective at only two doses.