Ottawa top doctors calls for all students to get vaccinated

ABOVE: Dr. Vera Etches appears at a January 12, 2022 virtual press conference.

Jim Watson and Ottawa Public health officials held a Covid-19 pandemic update following several policy updates from the provincial government.

Mayor Watson stated that teachers and students will become a priority in getting third doses as schools return to in-person learning on Monday, January 17th, a move that has been advocated for by Ottawa’s top doctor Vera Etches.

Dr. Etches explained that the most important thing students can do is get vaccinated and head back to class but she added they should stay at home when sick. School-based immunization clinics will also open for those who are having a more challenging time getting to a vaccination centre. Daily updates and specific clinic availability of vaccines will also be provided by Ottawa Public Health.

With an optimistic yet realistic assessment of the virus, Dr. Etches stated that most residents will likely be exposed and will be able to weather the virus at home, but she stated that stocking up on essential supplies is a good decision in order to be prepared. 

The Mayor said that Ottawa residents are doing their part “remarkably well”, with over 84 per cent of citizens having their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and nearly half of the double-vaccinated having a booster shot. He also stated, For those who haven’t gotten their booster, now is the time to do so; it’s never been easier.

As a result of the pressure on homeless shelters due to the physical distancing requirements and the fast spread of the Omicron variant, the Tom Brown Arena has been turned into an overflow shelter. This measure will help ensure that Ottawa’s less fortunate residents can also follow safety protocols, offering 70 beds during the evening and respite services during the day.

Dr. Etches also stated that hosptial capacity is always affected by Covid due to the isolation protocols needed. Starting today, the Ottawa Public Health Dashboard on cases will show patients needing active treatment for the virus. This move comes after it was revealed yesterday that 46 per cent of Covid hospitalizations are incidental, meaning that for over a third of all current hospitalizations patients attended hospital for other reasons and were then found to have the coronavirus.