OTTAWA -- Ottawa's medical officer of health says Ottawa is now in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, after people got a little too relaxed with COVID-19 measures in August.

Dr. Vera Etches announced Ottawa was in the second wave shortly after Ottawa Public Health reported 63 new cases of COVID-19 in the capital on Friday.

Dr. Etches says the current rise in COVID-19 cases is unsustainable, but residents can help flatten the second wave if they increase physical distancing practices and limit contacts. 

Speaking with reporters after meeting with Premier Doug Ford, CTV News Ottawa's Christina Succi asked Dr. Etches if Ottawa is in the second wave of the pandemic.

"Yes, we're seeing a rise in cases and it's the speed of the increase that concerns us," said Dr. Etches Friday morning outside the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.

"We can't sustain a rapid rise in cases, we need to be able to keep it to a manageable level."

Ottawa has seen at least 60 new cases of COVID-19 three days this week, including 61 cases on Monday and 63 on Friday.

The medical officer of health says she believes Ottawa residents can help flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19.

"I do believe that people in Ottawa, they've done it before. They did it in the first wave, but they did it in July as well. When we started to see an increase in July it came back down when people increased their distance between each other," said Dr. Etches.

"In August, we got a little too relaxed, we had too many gatherings and we need to do it again."

New social gathering limits are now in effect for Ottawa. Starting today, gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors at homes and private setting.

Dr. Vera Etches told reporters there will be "multiple waves" of COVID-19 cases in Ottawa.

"In July, we saw a small wave, now we're seeing another wave. We don't know how big it will get," said Dr. Etches.

"When people talk about the second wave, they're talking about is it going to be crisis again. That's what we want to change. We want to flatten it, keep it a small bump."

Speaking with reporters Friday afternoon, Dr. Etches suggested the actions of residents could help stem the second wave of COVID-19.

"The actions we take today could make that wave flatten, that curve flatten again within the next two-to-three weeks," said Dr. Etches.

"That's what I hope is that this is another peak that will not last longer than the next two weeks and it is up to each of us to make that happen."

The medical officer of health urges people to practice COVID-19 measures, including physical distancing, limiting contacts with others and wearing face masks in public spaces.

Ottawa Public Health blamed private gatherings and parties for a rise in cases in mid-July.

This is a developing story. CTV News Ottawa will have the latest as it becomes available