OTTAWA -- Ottawa's associate medical officer of health recommends you "plan ahead" for any socializing during the COVID-19 pandemic, including length of the party, physical distancing requirements and washroom etiquette for your guests.

As Ottawa sees a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past week, Dr. Brent Moloughney says, "We have to find a way to do things in a safer manner living with COVID."

Ottawa Public Health has reported 181 new cases of COVID-19 over the past seven days, including 28 new cases on Saturday.  Public health has said large social gatherings and parties have turned into "a super-spreader event" for COVID-19, with one party linked to eight-to-ten new cases.

Speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Matt Harris on Friday, Dr. Moloughney called the spike in new cases a "little bit of a wake-up call."

"We want to be able to socialize, but we have to do it in ways that doesn't give this virus a chance to spread," said Dr. Moloughney.

"So if you're going to socialize, don't do it indoors do it outside. Limit the number of people so that you can maintain distancing. Think of the number of households who are coming, kind of plan ahead as to how you're going to maintain six feet between the households."

Dr. Moloughney says you shouldn't plan a sleepover party for the kids because that creates all kinds of complications. If you're planning any party, Dr. Moloughney recommends you "limit your numbers and limit the duration but still have a chance to get together with friends."

Ontario has set limits of 50 people for indoor gatherings and 100 people for outdoor gatherings, with physical distancing measures in place for people outside your "social bubble."

Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa have posted signs on social media and in the ByWard Market, recommending people be "social wise" while in the popular entertainment and tourist area.

Washrooms at a private gathering

Ottawa Public Health recommends people socialize outdoors instead of indoors.  CFRA host Matt Harris asked Dr. Moloughney about what to do if a guest outside your social bubble wants to use the washroom while at your home.

"Clearly you're not going to have a porta-potty in your backyard," said Dr. Moloughney.

 "You're going to want to think about the path, you're going want to take turns, and you're going to want to have hand sanitizer available for the person so they can wash their hands before they go into the house, go in, as they finish with the washroom they use hand-sanitizer as they come out."

The associate medical officer of health recommends homeowners sanitize the doorknob and faucets a "few times" while the guests are there to prevent germs from spreading.

"As long as people are cleaning their hands before and after and not touching their face in between, that should be okay."