82 more COVID-19 cases in Ottawa as testing changes set in

Ottawa Public Health logged 82 more positive COVID-19 tests Monday as the province's testing changes set in — changes designed to eat away at Ontario's testing backlog.

Hospitalizations have nearly tripled in 2 weeks

A pedestrian in a mask passes a painted storefront on Somerset Street West in Ottawa Sept. 2, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has logged 82 new COVID-19 cases and one new death as the province's testing changes set in — ones designed to eat away at Ontario's significant testing backlog.

Walk-in testing is being phased out in Ontario in favour of an appointment-only model, with several test sites in eastern Ontario closed today in order to switch over.

The laboratories analyzing the tests are still working, and the backlog of tests waiting to be completed in Ontario sits at 68,006 as of Monday — down from a high of more than 90,000 last week.

With the province focusing on clearing the backlog and doing fewer COVID-19 tests today and tomorrow, comparing this week's positive results to previous weeks could be more difficult.

Ottawa's medical officer of health Vera Etches along with Outaouais director of public health Brigitte Pinard held a joint news conference Monday where they both spoke about the importance of physical distancing as cases rise in the region.

"We need to redouble our efforts," said Pinard. "Limit close contact with others."

OPH now recommends people limit their contacts to household members only, except for one or two social support contacts, like caregivers. 

Monday's OPH update includes 44 more cases considered resolved and one new death, bringing the city's death toll since the start of the pandemic to 294.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital has risen by two to 29, nearly three times as many as two weeks ago. Five people remain in intensive care.

Monday's confirmed cases are roughly split between people older and younger than 40. There are no new outbreaks in schools or hospitals.

The French Catholic school board in the Ottawa area, Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, says École élémentaire catholique Horizon-Jeunesse now has six known active COVID-19 cases and is closed.

OPH lists seven active school outbreaks, not including that one.

Ottawa's known active case count has risen by 37 to 847, the highest this count has ever been.

Ontario logged 615 more COVID-19 cases Monday.

Quebec added a record-high 1,191 cases, though the province has been testing more than during the first wave.

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