Ottawa viruses: Flu positivity down, COVID-19 and RSV trending upwards

Ottawa viruses: Flu positivity down, COVID-19 and RSV trending upwards

The latest data from Ottawa Public Health on the main three respiratory viruses circulating in the capital show a sharp decline in flu positivity, but increases in RSV and COVID-19.

The data, published Wednesday, are for the week of Dec. 25 to 31, 2022.

Testing positivity for influenza dropped to 8.7 per cent, from 10.5 per cent the week prior. Flu positivity peaked the week of Nov. 27 at more than 28 per cent. However, data show that testing positivity for COVID-19 is up slightly, at 16.8 per cent for the week of Dec. 25, compared to 15.8 per cent the week prior. RSV testing positivity has risen to 14.8 per cent from 13.3 per cent week-over-week.

The wastewater monitoring signals for these three viruses show similar trends; influenza is on the decline, but COVID-19 and RSV are rising.

There were two influenza outbreaks in Ottawa last week, 29 COVID-19 outbreaks and one outbreak for RSV.

Wastewater researchers say they’re also monitoring the city’s data for instances of a new, highly virulent Omicron sub-variant known as XBB.1.5.

The new variant has exploded in the United States, now accounting for 40 per cent of the country’s COVID-19 cases, and recently a handful of cases of the new variant were confirmed in British Columbia.

“We’ve seen this throughout the pandemic, that as these variants of concern or commutations arise around the globe we’re not sort of isolated from that, you know they will arrive here in Canada,” Rob Delatolla, a University of Ottawa Professor and member of the university’s wastewater monitoring program, said.

“We’re running a huge amount of samples today and by this evening we’ll be able to look and see, if we really are, what is the prevalence of XBB in Ottawa’s wastewater,” he added.

Another researcher, Tyson Graber, tweeted late Wednesday afternoon to say that, so far, there is no evidence of any significant amounts of the XBB variant in Ottawa at this time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t appear later.

OPH posted on social media Wednesday to encourage people to stay home when sick after getting together over the holidays.

“After a busy holiday season, you can help keep others well by screening yourself for symptoms and staying home if you’re feeling sick. Please keep wearing a well-fitting mask in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor spaces,” OPH said. “What may be a sore throat for you could lead to severe illness for someone else. Respiratory viruses can be especially difficult for those with complex medical needs, those who are immunocompromised and older adults.”

Ottawa Public Health reported one new death attributed to COVID-19 in its twice-weekly update on Tuesday. The health unit also confirmed to CTV News the death of a child under 10 of COVID-19, which occurred in mid-December. It’s the only person in Ottawa under 10 to die of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

OPH reported 25 residents in hospital because of an active COVID-19 infection Tuesday, including two in intensive care. That figure is down slightly from 28 hospitalizations including three in ICU a week prior.

OPH hospitalization figures only represent Ottawa residents who are in hospital because of an active case of COVID-19. Local hospitals report higher figures, which include patients who were admitted for reasons other than COVID-19 but have tested positive and patients who are not from Ottawa.

  • The Ottawa Hospital: 69 patients 

  • Queensway Carleton Hospital: 18 patients

  • Montfort Hospital: 10 patients

  • CHEO: Three patients

Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa in March 2020, there have been 87,953 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 986 deaths. There were 376 COVID-19 deaths reported in 2022, compared to 228 in 2021 and 381 in 2020.


  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (Dec. 26, 2022 to Jan. 1, 2023): 29.6

  • Seven-day average of positivity rate in the Ottawa community, including long-term care: 16.8 per cent

  • Known active cases: 475


Updated Jan. 3

  • Ottawa residents with 1 dose (5+): 924,980

  • Ottawa residents with 2 doses (5+): 891,662

  • Ottawa residents with 3 doses (5+): 613,659

  • Ottawa residents with 4 doses (12+): 326,876

  • Share of population five and older with at least one dose: 93 per cent

  • Share of population five and older with at least two doses: 90 per cent

  • Share of population five and older with at least three doses: 62 per cent

  • Share of population 12 and older with at least four doses: 36 per cent

*Statistics on Ottawa residents with one or more doses include anyone with an Ottawa postal code who was vaccinated anywhere in Ontario.


  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit: 9 in hospital, 2 in ICU (as of Jan. 4)

  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health: 6 in hospital, 2 in ICU (As of Jan. 3)

  • Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health: 18 in hospital, 0 in ICU (Updated on Tuesdays only)

  • Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit: 9 in hospital, 0 in ICU (Updated on Tuesdays)

  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit: 3 in hospital, 0 in ICU (no update until Jan. 5)

  • Outaouais (Gatineau and western Quebec): 86 in hospital, 0 in ICU (as of Dec. 28)


Ottawa Public Health is currently reporting active outbreaks in the following locations

  • 4 in hospitals

  • 8 in long-term care homes

  • 13 in retirement homes

  • 1 in congregate care facilities

  • 1 in supported independent living

  • 6 in group homes



  • 1 in long-term care homes

  • 1 in schools

A full list of locations with active outbreaks is available on OPH’s outbreak dashboard

–With files from CTV’s Josh Pringle and Colton Praill.