As the number of active COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Ottawa, public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms of the illness to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of $5,000 per day.
Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches announced Tuesday she has invoked a Class Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which stipulates people must immediately self-isolate for 14 days, or until they receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test, if they:
- Test positive for COVID-19.
- Have signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.
- Have reasonable grounds to think they have COVID-19.
- Live with or are otherwise a close contact of someone who fits one of the above descriptions.
Anyone who doesn't observe the order could be fined up to $5,000 for each day they fail to self-isolate, Etches said.
"I don't take these types of decisions and steps lightly; however, I must do everything possible to reduce the transmission that's currently happening in Ottawa," she said at a teleconference Tuesday.
"We need to bend the curve down right now."
The new order comes on the same day Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 93 new cases of COVID-19, surpassing the city's previous single-day high of 76 set back on April 29.
The province had reported 90 new cases in Ottawa on Tuesday morning, but OPH adjusted that number slightly upward early Tuesday afternoon.
Ottawa has now had 3,772 people test positive for COVID-19, more than 800 in September alone. Twenty-six more cases are now considered resolved, leaving 587 active cases, up 64 from Monday.
Etches said many of the cases are driven by close contact among people like groups of friends or families. She said she believes the idea of a social bubble hasn't worked, and instead people must limit their close contacts.
"Fewer is better," she said.
With everyone else, Etches said people should take steps to remain two metres apart, wear masks and avoid hugs or other close contact that could spread the virus.
OPH logged three more deaths Tuesday, all at the West End Villa long-term care home. All three were previously reported by the company that owns and operates the home.
Tuesday's count pushes the city's rolling five-day average above 57, also a new high.
Seventy-three of Tuesday's 93 new cases involve people under age 40.
Eleven patients are now being treated for COVID-19 in hospital in Ottawa, two in intensive care.
OPH is reporting a new COVID-19 outbreak at École élémentaire catholique Montfort, an elementary school within the French Catholic Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est.
One student and one staff member have tested positive, according to OPH. The school board has not said what will happen as a result of this outbreak.
The reports from OPH don't necessarily reflect how many people tested positive for COVID-19 on the day they're made public; rather, they indicate the number of new cases OPH is notified of as of 2 p.m. the previous day.
Provincewide, the 478 cases reported Tuesday mark Ontario's highest count since May 2.
Western Quebec set a new one-day high on Monday.