OTTAWA -- The head of the Ottawa Hospital says COVID-19 patient transfers from Toronto-area hospitals have stopped, helping to relieve some of the pressure on the hospital during the third wave of the pandemic.

Ottawa hospitals have received 50 to 60 patient transfers from the Toronto-area over the past month or so.

"I think we're definitely headed in the right direction. I was very concerned three weeks ago," said Cameron Love, president and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital.  Love noted Ottawa's seven day average was over 300 cases of COVID-19 in mid-April and there were more than 100 patients in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19.

"Prior to Christmas we were in the 20s (COVID patients in hospital) and then we jumped to the 30s, 40s, 50s, we were upwards of 80, we started to get transfers coming in from Toronto in terms of supporting some of the significant pressure Toronto was having. But that was three weeks ago," said Love on Newstalk 580 CFRA's The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll.

"If you look this current week, we are now down into the 50s in terms of, we've dropped a net of 30 in terms of total COVID, Toronto is cresting and seems to be headed in the right direction and so transfers are ceasing coming out of Toronto, which means less pressure onto our hospitals."

Love says there are very positive signs about Ottawa's COVID-19 situation, including the weekly incidence rate dropping below 100 cases per 100,000 people.

"It's decompressing some of the pressure on the hospital, but having said that we're not out of the woods yet and so the need to really be vigilant in terms of what we've done as a community and continue that way," said Love Thursday morning.

"We have to work ourselves back to coming out of the stay-at-home lockdown, the red zone, get back into the green and if we can get back to where we were pre Christmas where we were 30 a day, as opposed to 100 a day, and get everybody vaccinated then there's a lot of positive signs."

Love says the Ottawa Hospital had 75 to 80 patients admitted with COVID-19 two weeks ago. Now, the number of patients is 50.

On April 15, the hospital announced it was implementing the "Level 2" surge plans to accommodate COVID-19 patients in Ottawa, along with transfers from hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area.  As part of the surge plans, the hospital ramped down non-urgent/emergency services and redeployed staff.

The Ottawa Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital and Montfort Hospital postponed non-urgent elective surgeries requiring hospitalizations as COVID-19 cases increased in the community.

In an interview on CTV Morning Live, Love said with COVID-19 numbers declining and vaccinations increasing, things are looking better at the Ottawa Hospital in May.

"Cautiously optimistic. All the signs of good in terms of volumes dropping but I think we really still need to keep our foot on our gas in terms of adhering to the public health orders and really making sure we don't have another spike," said Love.