Advertisement

Stay vigilant about coronavirus in Ottawa over long weekend, Dr. Vera Etches urges

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, wants to remind residents the virus is still circulating through the community ahead of the long weekend.
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, wants to remind residents the virus is still circulating through the community ahead of the long weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

As Ottawa residents seek to take advantage of sunny weather over the Victoria Day long weekend, the city’s medical officer of health is urging the community to remain on guard against the novel coronavirus.

Two months after she first asked Ottawa residents to stay home in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the city, Dr. Vera Etches told members of the media on a conference call Friday afternoon that Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is still seeing new infections as a result of community spread.

READ MORE: Cottage country mayors urge extreme long weekend caution to protect locals from coronavirus

She said it’s a common misconception that the only transmission of the virus is through Ottawa’s long-term care homes, but noted that, in fact, roughly one in every five cases can be traced to contact with a positive case in the community.

Story continues below advertisement

“The virus has not left our community,” Etches said.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“We are still in a pandemic situation and I trust the people of Ottawa will continue to be vigilant to protect themselves and protect others,” she added.

Click to play video 'Premier Ford showcases his baking talents' Premier Ford showcases his baking talents
Premier Ford showcases his baking talents

Etches recommended the use of non-medical masks for anyone venturing out into the community over the weekend, and asked any Ottawa resident who thinks they might have COVID-19 symptoms to get tested at one of the city’s assessment centres.

OPH said there were 28 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in Ottawa on Friday, bringing the total number of local cases up to 1,753 heading into the weekend.

READ MORE: Almonte Country Haven announces 2 more coronavirus-related deaths

Story continues below advertisement

Four more people died in relation to the virus in the past 24 hours, raising Ottawa’s death toll to 189.

There are currently 49 Ottawa residents hospitalized with COVID-19, according to OPH.

From the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ottawa, 1,330 of them, or 76 per cent, are considered resolved.