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Three reasons Ottawa's COVID-19 fight is working, compared to other major Ontario cities

The lay of the land and the will shown by residents make up a couple of keys.
2020-11-18 weekly case count covid-19 ottawa
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) graph of weekly COVID-19 case numbers, November 18, 2020. Photo/ OPH dashboard

Ottawa's chief medical officer of health says there are three key reasons why Ottawa's COVID-19 situation is improving faster than in other areas of the province.

When comparing the national capital and Greater Toronto Area, Dr. Vera Etches says there are simply fewer people spread over more ground.

"What it comes down to is, can the virus spread effectively in the community," she explains. "It means that collectively, the million people in Ottawa, have more distance between them."

In Ottawa, the virus might also have a harder time spreading in workplaces, says Dr. Etches.

"The large majority of [government and technology sector] employees are able to work from home, which really helps with physically distancing."

The third factor in Ottawa's success in reducing COVID-19 transmission lately has been residents listening to a message that has been on repeat from Ottawa Public Health (OPH) since the start of the pandemic: respect local health guidelines.

"These [measures] do work," Dr. Etches says. "All we have to do now, is continue respecting them until a vaccine arrives."

COVID-19 figures reported by Ottawa Public Health on Wednesday show active case numbers trending down (at 411, down from well over 1,000 weeks ago) and hospitalizations down below 50, with just a few people in intensive care.

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