COVID-19 in Ottawa Neighbourhoods

COVID-19 is present in every single community within Ottawa. The map below provides a snapshot of COVID-19 across Ottawa neigbourhoods. Areas with lower or higher rates are not more or less “safe” from COVID-19 transmission. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has partnered with the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS) to share this information in the interest of transparency.  OPH continues to work with its partners to ensure we support the needs of Ottawa’s communities. 

This information needs to be balanced with a recognition that it may stigmatize people and communities who have been impacted by COVID-19. Please take a moment to review OPH’s position statement on stigma, which provides guidance on language to use when communicating about COVID-19.

Factors that may be driving the observed rates of COVID-19 in Ottawa neighbourhoods: 

  • Rurality: To account for differences in the size of urban and rural populations, rates (i.e. the number of COVID-19 cases per 100 000 population) are provided. Rates in rural neighbourhoods will be more sensitive to changes in the number residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, as they have smaller populations.
  • Testing: Testing is essential for monitoring COVID-19 in our community. Provincial testing criteria have varied throughout the response and been limited to priority groups when laboratory capacity was more limited.  The number of reported confirmed community cases underestimates the actual number of infections. Testing rates are not uniform across the city:  according to an ICES report, Ontarians who were tested were more likely than those not tested to live in marginalized neighbourhoods with greater residential instability, material deprivation and dependency, and lower income status.
  • Social determinants of health: The social determinants of health, such as income and ethnicity, can contribute to differences in disease prevalence and health behaviours. According to an ICES report, Ontarians who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to live in lower-income neighbourhoods or neighbourhoods with a higher percentage of visible minorities and recent immigrants. 

The map below is based on the neighbourhood of residence of Ottawans with confirmed COVID-19 infection and does not necessarily reflect where the people “caught” the virus. Exposure to COVID-19 can occur anywhere people congregate, such as workplaces or services open to the public. The best way to limit your exposure to COVID-19 is to practice physical distancing with those outside your household, wear a mask where required and when you cannot maintain physical distance, and wash your hands regularly.

Map is updated monthly and currently reflects the number and rate of Ottawa residents with confirmed COVID-19 reported up to February 28, 2020.

**Please note the ONS Postal Code Conversion File was updated on December 7th, 2020. For this reason, historical data may differ from previous publications.

Map Data Notes :  

  • Data represents all cases reported from March 2020 to February 2021 and was extracted by Ottawa Public Health (OPH) from the OPH COVID-19 Ottawa Database (The COD). The COD is a dynamic disease reporting system that allows for continuous updates of information. These data are a snapshot in time, reflect the most accurate information that OPH has at the time of reporting, and might differ from other sources. 
  • A case (an individual with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection) is assigned to an Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS) geography based on the individual’s residential postal code and the ONS’s postal code conversion file. As the area served by a given postal code may cross multiple neighbourhoods, the ONS postal code conversion file identifies the proportion of each postal code that falls within a neighbourhood. Thus, for cases with postal codes falling within multiple neighbourhoods, a fraction of those cases will be assigned to each neighbourhood.
  • Rates calculated from very low case counts, or for small populations, are unstable and should be interpreted with caution. A low case count for a given neighbourhood results in a very wide 95% confidence interval for the estimated rate; this interval is comprised of the lower and upper limits within which the true rate lies 95% of the time. A narrow confidence interval corresponds to a more precise estimate and a wider confidence interval corresponds to a less precise estimate. Because of this, rates calculated from very low case counts fluctuate so much that we cannot use them to compare different areas or make predictions over time.

The data table for this map is available for download on Open Ottawa