Ottawa

Sports, social gathering led to major spread of COVID-19 last month, OPH says

Ottawa Public Health has shared a cautionary tale from last month of how a lack of vaccinations, testing, mask use and distancing allowed COVID-19 to spread through sports and a social gathering, and forced a school to close.

First 26 people to test positive were not vaccinated, but eligible to do so, says Ottawa Public Health

A graphic from Ottawa Public Health illustrates the effects of a few individuals who were infected with COVID-19 attending social events. (Ottawa Public Health)

A lack of testing, vaccinations, physical distancing and masks all contributed to the spread of COVID-19 following an outdoor sporting event and social gathering in September, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says.

According to a graphic shared on Twitter Wednesday 37 people tested positive by the end of September as a result of not following public health protocols, and that number will likely continue to rise, according to OPH.

"With vaccination & early testing these numbers could have been reduced," the tweet read. "Please, get vaccinated. If you are showing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested right away."

The series of events also forced more than a dozen school cohorts to be sent home, and closed an elementary school.

Public health says an unvaccinated individual with COVID-19 attended an outdoor sports game, and that person started having symptoms the following day. They did not immediately get tested, and went to a social gathering and school while sick with COVID-19. 

Another unvaccinated person, who did not attend the sports game, later attended an indoor social event where players from the game were present. They also had COVID-19 symptoms, but decided to delay getting tested.

OPH also says mask use and physical distancing were inconsistent at the social event.

This resulted in a number of people with COVID-19 who continued to go to school and other places while symptomatic who had not been tested.

Public health says 26 people tested positive between Sept. 1 and 23, and 11 more tested positive by the end of the month. There were also 247 high-risk contacts by Sept. 23, which almost doubled to 464 one week later.

None of those who tested positive in the first 23-day period, as shown in the graphic, was vaccinated — though all of them are eligible to get the vaccine.

OPH says it would not reveal the name of the school involved to protect residents' personal health information.

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