Ottawa's paramedic chief says dozens of staff members have returned to work after clearing COVID-19 protocols following a major outbreak.

The outbreak is linked to a large party at a restaurant in Ottawa on Dec. 15. To date, 53 members of the Ottawa Paramedic Service have tested positive for COVID-19, including paramedics and support staff. Eight new positive cases were reported in a memo on Tuesday.

There are also 139 close contacts of the 53 people who tested positive. Paramedic chief Pierre Poirier said the paramedic service is unaware of any positive test results in any of these individuals.

Poirier said there were "minimal" impacts to services as a result of the outbreak. In his memo Tuesday, he said with more than five dozen people back at work, contingencies to manage any issues were no longer needed.

"A total of 61 staff members have cleared COVID protocols and have returned to the workplace," Poirier wrote. "As a result of their return, contingencies are no longer required to mitigate service delivery impacts related to this incident."

Last week, mayor Jim Watson said the news of the outbreak was frustrating to hear, but he said it shows how quickly the virus can spread.