Ottawa’s health worker, Dr. Vera Etches, says she is encouraged by the amount of COVID-19 vaccination agreements booked for children on the first day of eligibility for those aged five to 11, but on Wednesday expressed concern about the jump in new outbreaks affecting primary schools.
Etches said Wednesday that more than 27,000 first-dose appointments have already been booked for children in the city in the first 24 hours reservations were open.
She told reporters during a news conference that these reservations – including appointments she made for her own sons – are between this Friday and around December 6, with a further 33,000 seats open through December 23.
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There are about 77,000 children in this cohort in Ottawa.
“This means that about a third of children will have the protection that even a first dose provides before the holidays,” Etches said.
It is becoming increasingly important as COVID-19 outbreaks hit primary schools in the city hard.
As of Wednesday, 19 primary schools are now in an active outbreak, a number that had remained constant below 10 for a number of weeks.
While the average number of cases per outbreaks in schools remain relatively low, Etches said the trend is enough to cause concern.
“It seems like a significant increase,” Etches said. “This is the most unimmunized population, and this is where we see the largest number of outbreaks.”
Ottawa’s top doctor advised parents of multiple children to keep a watchful eye on symptoms and keep a complete set of siblings at home if a child shows signs of COVID-19 until a test result returns.
Siblings who transmit the virus at home affect multiple grades in a school and lead to outbreaks, she said.
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Meanwhile, Ottawa Public Health reported 32 new cases of the virus and one death related to COVID-19 on Wednesday.
The number of active cases in the city fell to 303.
There are now 14 people in the hospital locally with the virus, although no COVID-19 patients are currently in the intensive care unit.
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