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Red zone warning for Ottawa after ‘worrying indicators' show quick rise in COVID-19 numbers: Ottawa Public Health

Ottawa is still currently in the orange zone, but OPH said the city's numbers are no longer decreasing — and that's not good.
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Ottawa’s COVID-19 numbers are headed in the wrong direction — and if the city doesn’t do something about it, Canada’s capital could be heading back into the red zone.

Ottawa Public Health’s top doctor, Dr. Vera Etches, released a statement Wednesday evening, which said while Ottawa currently remains in the orange zone, rates are no longer decreasing and the city is headed to “red category thresholds.”

“The wastewater signal in particular has been increasing for over a week, suggesting more people are shedding the virus, perhaps unknowingly posing a risk of transmission to others,” Dr. Etches wrote.

“The number of people positive for COVID-19 who have been confirmed by genetic sequencing to have a variant of concern remains 10. However, the numbers that have screened positive for an initial genetic indicator of a variant of concern has increased over the month to 73 now,” she added.

These screened positives, she explained, are likely to be confirmed as variants of concern when the genetic sequencing is completely, which could give a total as high as 83 people with variants of concern.

This news prompted a statement from Mayor Jim Watson on Twitter.

"We are seeing some worrying indicators that cases are rising too quickly,” he wrote. “I know this has been an exhausting 12 months to say the least. We’re in the [third] period with the vaccine in sight, let’s close this out successfully and not let the virus send us to [over time].”

Every resident — including those who have been vaccinated — need to keep up with measures to stop transmission, Dr. Etches added.

The news comes after the city announced that it was working on vaccinated residents in congregate care settings serving seniors like hospices and those in shelters.

With all shelters having now experienced a COVID-19 outbreak and one-quarter of the clients — about 220 — having tested positive for the virus since mid-January, the city said an estimated 860 shelter clients will be vaccinated starting this week.

Ottawa had previously ended its red zone status and entered into the orange zone on February 16.

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