Ottawa

Etches asks Ottawans to exercise caution as COVID-19 cases rise

"What stands out is people in Ottawa were holding things steady and, in fact, pushing the growth of the pandemic back down from about mid-September until last week," said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health.

The daily case average jumped to 35 per day, from last week's average of 26

Ottawa's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said the spike in case counts is due to an increasing number of 'opportunities for COVID to be transmitted.' (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Ottawa's medical officer of health is asking the city's residents to remain cautious as COVID-19 case counts rise.

The daily average in Ottawa has jumped to 35 cases, a significant jump from last week's average of 26. Ottawa's test positivity rate is now at two per cent.

"What stands out is people in Ottawa were holding things steady and, in fact, pushing the growth of the pandemic back down from about mid-September until last week," said Dr. Vera Etches.

"And that's changed. We are seeing the pandemic grow again."

Etches said the spike in case counts is due to an increasing number of "opportunities for COVID to be transmitted."

"There is more close contact, perhaps a little less mask wearing," she said.

WATCH | COVID-19 cases trending upward again in Ottawa 

COVID-19 cases trending upward again in Ottawa

3 months ago
Duration 0:51
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, says COVID-19 cases are once again rising as residents interact with more close contacts. 0:51

As of Tuesday, there were 21 active outbreaks in Ottawa. All have under 20 associated cases, except for one shelter outbreak that's associated with 35 resident cases and four staff cases. 

While the vaccine does provide significant protection against hospitalizations, Etches said an increasing number of cases could be associated with a slight rise in hospitalizations and deaths.

If the numbers continued to rise, more vulnerable people may contract COVID-19, Etches said. 

She said she's asking everyone in Ottawa to "go forward with a little more caution." 

"We can choose to wear our masks carefully. We can choose to avoid crowds. We have these things that make a difference,"  she said.

The situation is different now compared to the same time last year, said Dr. Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital.

"We didn't have anyone vaccinated. So it's a huge difference," Manuel said. "But then, it's counteracted by the transmission potential for delta." 

Manuel says as transmission of the more contagious delta variant increases, it will be important to monitor hospitalization rates.

"People may be getting sick, [but] we're hoping that less of them are having serious outcomes," he said.

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