OTTAWA -- A concerning trend is taking shape in the capital with students back is school for few weeks now.

School-aged children are making up the largest portion of active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa

"Woke up in the night with some COVID symptoms, back in schools, so she needs to get the test so she can go back, you know get the negative test and get peace of mind she's COVID free," said Mike Dinelle who was getting his daughter Eva tested on Sunday.

Just weeks into the school year, cases among students in the capital have risen quickly. Currently, there are 17 outbreaks at schools and childcare centres on the city.

"It makes us feel uneasy; this is the third time in a month that we're here because there were symptoms and then a close contact with her," said Dinelle.

"I really worry that they have it, given that they go to school every day," another parent who was getting a COVID-19 test for their child on Sunday.

Approximately 35 per cent of the 474 active cases in Ottawa right now are in those under 19-years-old.  Children 9 and under account for 110 active cases of novel coronavirus, the highest number of active cases among age groups.

However, concern about this trend varies among experts.

"Right now the outbreaks have been limited, they've been spreading from one child to two to four children, with Delta I think that's a win. We've been able to limit the spread to that few," said Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

"I don't like what Dr. Moore said, that we're okay if one individual transmits it to two or three versus five or six," said epidemiologist Dr. Raywat Deonandan. 

Meanwhile, there are encouraging signs when it comes to overall case counts in the province, which have held steady for weeks now, and hospitalizations to remain manageable.

"We are not having this dramatic increase of a fourth wave, we're in a plateau I would call it, so far," said Dr. Ronald St. John, former federal manager to the SARS response in Canada.

With the fall now here and winter around the corner, many experts are not yet ready to declare the virus endemic.

"I would hate to think this is where we level off for an endemic phase of this disease, I think it's way too early to talk about it yet," said Dr. Deonandan.