Ottawa enters 'post-peak period,' Etches says
City expands testing to include residents over 60 with COVID-19 symptoms
Ottawa is officially in the "post-peak period" in terms of community transmission of COVID-19, the city's medical officer of health said on Friday.
"I do believe we are in the post-peak period, as it's being called, in Ottawa as well as the province when it comes to community-based infection," Vera Etches said during Friday's teleconference.
That conclusion is based on a declining number of people being hospitalized for COVID-19 infection, she said.
Etches added the recent rise in the number of hospitalizations is linked to outbreaks in long-term care homes, not the virus spreading in the wider community.
Ottawa currently has 1,372 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths since Wednesday. The city's death toll from coronavirus remains at 76.
Ottawa Public Health has also updated its recommendations for testing, making the swabs for COVID-19 available to more people. Now anyone 60 or older who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 — like a fever or cough — can get tested at a COVID-19 care clinic or the Brewer Arena assessment centre.
Etches said the change will help health officials assess how widely the virus is spreading in the community. Until now, only "priority groups" including health-care workers, recent travellers or people who had close contact with a confirmed case were eligible for testing.