OTTAWA -- Two weeks after the first case of novel coronavirus was confirmed in Ottawa, there are now 75 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Ottawa Public Health announced the 75 confirmed cases in its daily media briefing, including the first confirmed case in a retirement residence.

“There have been many changes in our daily lives over the past few weeks since we’ve identified our first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Ottawa,” said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health.

“We know that staying home and practicing physical distancing or being in self-isolation is not easy, and we thank you for what you’re doing to help plank the curve.”

Dr. Etches told reporters in a conference call on Friday afternoon that 17 of the 75 confirmed cases are being treated in hospital, and seven of those patients are in intensive care.

Most of the people being treated in intensive care are in their 50s or 60s, with only one patient over the age of 70.

Ottawa Public Health is now investigating the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a retirement or long-term care home. A resident at the Promenade retirement residence tested positive for COVID-19. The resident and their spouse are now being treated in hospital.

Community spread

The Medical Officer of Health says 16 per cent of the 75 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa have no connection to travel and no known contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

“We are asking everyone to practice physical distancing to protect not only their grandparents, but also their parents and co-workers,” said Dr. Etches.

On Friday, the City of Ottawa announced all off-leash dog parks and play structures in city parks are closed to the public.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health announced 135 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario on Friday, bringing the total to 993. No details about the cases, including locations of the positive cases, were announced.

There’s been one confirmed death linked to COVID-19 in Ottawa. Public Health says a man in his 90s died at the Ottawa Hospital on Wednesday, five days after he was admitted with a fever.

Officials say the man was living at home, and had no travel history.

Testing capacity

The Ottawa Hospital’s Medical Director of Emergency Management suggests patients who have been tested for COVID-19 will begin to get their results quicker.

Dr. Andrew Willmore told reporters that the Eastern Ontario Regional Lab Association has helped increase the regional testing capacity since coming online on Monday.

“The goal of this process is to have that daily tests within 24 hours. (Thursday) EORLA achieved that target for the new tests received from hospitals and the assessment centres.”

Dr. Willmore says over 400 COVID-19 tests were processed on Thursday.

“They’ll continue to build capacity to process more tests, and we’re working diligently to get the results for those that have been tested.”

Dr. Willmore does admit there is still a backlog of tests conducted at the COVID-19 Community Assessment Centres and hospitals that went to the localized labs before the new EORLA lab came online, and officials are working to process the previous tests as quickly as possible.

Health authorities had said earlier this week they were hearing reports of patients waiting up to a week for their test results.

Dr. Willmore says COVID-19 test results will be posted on My Chart, and staff at the Ottawa Hospital and CHEO will call their respective patients.