Ottawa

Hockey team outbreak illustrates COVID-19's rapid, ruthless spread: OPH

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has once again used a real-life example to illustrate how easily and rapidly COVID-19 can spread in the community when infected people fail to self-isolate.

1 player infected dozens of teammates, forced dozens more into quarantine

After one person with COVID-19 attended an indoor hockey practice in early October, 60 others tested positive and 170 more had to to self-isolate. (Laura Glowacki/CBC)

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has once again used a real-life example to illustrate how easily and rapidly COVID-19 can spread in the community when infected people fail to self-isolate.

This time, the example involves an individual with COVID-19 but without symptoms, who attended an "indoor sports team practice" in early October. OPH later clarified it was a hockey practice, but noted "transmission will occur in any setting and any sport if given the opportunity."

OPH identified a number of issues at play which contributed to the spread of COVID-19 among the hockey players, including: no consistent mask use, carpooling without masks, spectators and/or parents who "mingled" with players outside practice and did not practise physical distancing, practices between players from multiple teams and coaches participating on multiple teams. 

As a result, 60 people tested positive within 18 days, health officials declared seven outbreaks, including two at schools and one at a daycare, and more than 170 additional contacts identified as high-risk have had to self-isolate.

 

The stark example comes as OPH reported 65 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a return to average levels after Sunday's 132 new cases, the third-highest single-day tally since the pandemic began. OPH later clarified nearly half of the new cases reported Sunday are at the Extendicare Starwood long-term care home.

That brings the total of positive COVID-19 tests in Ottawa to 7,197. Of those, 750 cases are active and 6,119 cases have been resolved. The city's death toll remains at 328.

There are currently 51 people being treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa hospitals, four in intensive care. There are 42 active outbreaks at institutions including nursing homes and child-care centre.

The daily reports from OPH don't necessarily reflect how many people tested positive for COVID-19 on the day the statistics are made public. Rather, they indicate the number of new cases OPH has learned about as of 2 p.m. the previous day.

Provincewide, 948 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Monday, mostly concentrated in the province's hot spots. 

There have been seven additional deaths in Ontario, raising the province's official death toll to 3,152.

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