Ebene News – CA – COVID-19: Ottawa’s top doctor asks to move city to gray lockdown zone ahead of long weekend

Ottawa’s top doctor has asked Ontario officials to push region to strictest provincial COVID-19 framework as rising levels of virus threaten to overwhelm the system health of the city

Dr Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said on Wednesday that she had asked her provincial level counterparts to move the nation’s capital to the gray lockdown zone of the red screening level ahead of the long weekend in come

The move, which is in the hands of the province, would end indoor dining and place stricter limits on outdoor gatherings

Etches said on Wednesday that the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa had become dire, adding that entering the province’s red zone on March 19 failed to curb the spread of the virus locally

Ottawa Public Health reported 117 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and one new death linked to the virus

The weekly incidence rate of COVID-19 in Ottawa is now 916 cases per 100,000 people and the rate of coronavirus positivity has risen to 58%, both now more than twice where they were when the city entered the red zone just 12 days ago

According to OPH, nearly 600 cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa have been reported as variants of concern or mutations, with four deaths linked to such cases Some 433% of new cases in Ottawa are now reported as probable variants , according to provincial data

There are currently 39 people hospitalized locally with the virus, including 11 in the intensive care unit

Speaking alongside Etches Wednesday, Dr Stéphane Roux, chief of staff at Hôpital Montfort, who said that the intensive care capacity in Ottawa is “quite full at the moment”

He said hospitals in the Ottawa area meet regularly to find ways to share staffing and bed capacity where needed in the area.

Contact tracing in Ottawa is also failing to keep pace, as the average confirmed case today is associated with around four high-risk contacts Etches noted that this means Wednesday’s report alone generated nearly 500 high-risk contacts for DPO tracers to trace.

The majority of new cases at the local level are in people between the ages of 20 and 39, Etches noted.She added that a person in their 40s in Ottawa also died from COVID-19 last week, highlighting the threat that the virus represents for people of all ages – especially those not yet protected by the vaccine

“The vaccine did not arrive in time to overtake the growth of the virus in our community We are at a point that we have never seen before in this pandemic”

A major source of transmission is that people let their guard down while socializing, Etches said.She pointed to after-work gatherings, contact sports and backyard barbecues as blind spots

The virus can still spread outdoors if people don’t wear masks or stand two meters apart, Etches noted

But if Ottawa enters the gray zone, outdoor gatherings will still be allowed up to 10 people. Weddings and other religious events held outdoors can accommodate up to 50 people in the gray zone

When asked if she felt the gray lockdown measures were tough enough to prevent transmission, Etches acknowledged “they may not be”

Etches urged residents not to gather in person over the Easter long weekend and said she specifically asked the province to implement lockdown measures before Friday, as weekends Holiday ends during the pandemic generally preceded an “increase” in COVID-19 levels

While short notice can be difficult for businesses to adjust to short notice, such as restaurants that have bought supplies in anticipation of crowds on long weekends, Etches said OPH is working with local business groups to publicize possible closures in hopes of mitigating the impact

Premier Doug Ford also said on Wednesday he would make an announcement regarding possible restrictions in the province on Thursday morning, citing rising levels of intensive care in Ontario hospitals as a concern

Etches said she is waiting to see what restrictions Ontario enacts, but hasn’t stopped instituting her own class ordinances to fill gaps she may see in the provincial response

Etches said on Wednesday that she did not support closing schools to in-person learning at this time

Gray Zone Ontario

Ebene News – CA – COVID-19: Ottawa’s top doctor calls for city to be moved to Gray Lockdown Zone ahead of long weekend

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/7731517/ottawa-covid-grey-zone-march-31/