Parties to blame for half of 19 new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday: Dr. Etches
OTTAWA -- Ottawa Public Health is reporting 19 new laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa Saturday.
This is the largest one-day spike in new cases since May 21, and Ottawa's Medical Officer of Health says parties are responsible for about half of them.
"The cases we're seeing today are because of activities that people engaged in in Stage 2 and not related to the mobile testing units," Dr. Vera Etches told CTV News on Saturday. "What's striking about these 19 cases is that they're related to activities we know are higher risk."
Dr. Etches said nine of the 19 new cases reported Saturday are related to parties. Other cases are related to people who are still working while sick.
"They're related to parties indoors, people not physically distancing, people gathering in greater numbers outside of their household or their social circle. They're related to people who have symptoms of illness and are still going to work or still hosting a party," she said. "These are the behaviours we need to stop and make sure we have the good practices that are hard to maintain but are essential to stop transmission of the infection in Stage 3."
Eleven of the 19 cases were in people in their 20s, Dr. Etches said.
"Young people have really worked hard, it's been hard to try to socialize differently and not see the friends we're used to," she said. "I want to encourage people that we have to keep that up a bit longer. We have to visit with distance. We have to keep our social circles smaller. We need, collectively, all of us, to keep doing these things."
A mobile clinic was set up in the Herongate neighbourhood on Thursday and Friday, with another clinic set up in the Heatherington area on Friday.
According to Ottawa Public Health, the Alta Vista and River wards have two of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in Ottawa.
Alta Vista has 207 cases per 100,000 people, while there are 147 cases per 100,000 people in River Ward.
Dr. Etches said they expect results from these mobile testing sites in the next few days.
Total case counts
According to Ottawa Public Health's COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated daily, there have been 2,208 cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the first case was confirmed on March 11.
The data are from OPH's COVID-19 database, as of 2 p.m. Friday. The daily updates are always based on data from the day before.
Ottawa Public health continues to say the actual rate of infection in the community is likely far greater than laboratory-confirmed cases suggest.
No new deaths have been reported for a 22nd straight day. The death toll from COVID-19 in Ottawa stands at 263 people.
Five people are hospitalized with COVID-19 complications. None is in the ICU.
Active Cases of COVID-19
There are 90 known, active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, as of the latest update. That is the highest number of active cases seen since June 4, when there were 93 known active cases in the city.
OPH says 1,855 COVID-19 cases, or 84 per cent of all cases to date, are considered resolved. Five new recoveries were added in Saturday's update.
There are six active COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa.
Two new outbreaks were declared in Saturday's update: one at Carlingview Manor long-term care home, and one at Redwoods retirement home.
The active outbreaks are at the following locations:
- Carlingview Manor
- Extendicare Medex
- Madonna Care Community
- Jardin Royal Garden
- Barin Croft Residential Services, Mathieu Way
Heading into Stage 3
Dr. Etches says it's too early to know whether Stage 3 will have an impact on case numbers, but she says she's happy to see that people are still being tested.
"It's encouraging that people are presenting to be tested. I really want to thank people for doing their part when they get symptoms to go for testing. It helps us identify where COVID is in the community, but it takes time," she said. "Testing alone will not save us in terms of stopping transmission. What we need is for people to do the physically distanced visits, to stay home when they're sick, and to wear a mask when they're indoors with others and can't physically distance."
Moving Ottawa to Stage 3 was a provincial decision, but Dr. Etches says Ottawa Public Health will be keeping the Ontario government informed about how it goes.
"If we are identifying particular types of activities, particular venues that are a problem, we will be flagging that with the province," Dr. Etches said. "We need to consider how to proceed in a way that's sustainable. It could be a long time before we have a vaccine and immunity, so we just need to take care as we go back to work and we need to be careful on the social side as well."