City heading toward red zone, Etches warns
Recent lifting of restrictions may have given some a false sense of security
Ottawa's medical officer of health is warning that COVID-19 transmission rates are again heading in the wrong direction, and could once again place the city on a path toward tighter restrictions.
Ottawa is currently an orange zone, according to the province's colour-coded scale that influences public health directives on businesses, gatherings and other activities. But on Wednesday, Dr. Vera Etches said the city is heading toward red.
We could be discussing whether we need to go ahead with [tighter restrictions] next week.- Dr. Vera Etches
"We are not heading toward yellow, we are heading toward red, and that's not OK," she told city councillors. "We could be discussing whether we need to go ahead with [tighter restrictions] next week."
Ottawa has never been declared a red zone since the province instituted its new colour-coded system earlier this month, but back in October the city was moved into what's known as "modified Stage 2," with restrictions on most indoor activities.
If Ottawa moves into the red zone, indoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of five people, restaurants can't have more than 10 customers indoors and cinemas will be closed.
Etches said some key indicators show transmission of the virus is no longer in decline, and said the recent lifting of some restrictions might be giving residents a false sense of security.
"Ottawa Public Health is seeing people who test positive, who work in offices and pharmacies and religious communities and coffee shops, grocery stores, warehouses, home care security — it is widespread," Etches said.
"I just don't want people to have a sense [that] it's under control."