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Dr. Etches says Ottawa coronavirus rates are ‘stabilizing’ amid 97 new COVID-19 cases

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, says rates of COVID-19 in the nation's capital are 'stabilizing.'.
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, says rates of COVID-19 in the nation's capital are 'stabilizing.'. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Ottawa’s top doctor is saying efforts to suppress the second wave of the novel coronavirus in the city are bearing fruit, even as the local public health unit reports a week-high in new cases.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 97 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday.

There have now been 6,927 cases of the virus in Ottawa since the start of the pandemic, with 698 of those cases considered active, according to OPH’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Read more: Ottawa adds 58 new coronavirus cases as outbreaks on sports teams end

Two more people have died in relation to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising the city’s death toll of the pandemic to 323.

There are currently 42 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, four of whom are in the intensive care unit.

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No new coronavirus outbreaks were reported in Ottawa on Friday, though 60 outbreaks remain ongoing.

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Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said in a statement Friday that she is “encouraged” to see the number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and outbreaks are “stabilizing.”

These trends indicate that Ottawa residents were changing their behaviour to stem the spread of the virus even before restrictions were reintroduced by the provincial government on Oct. 10, she said.

When those restrictions were introduced, Ottawa was seeing “exponential growth” in the number of people testing positive for the virus, Etches said, and associated spikes in the numbers of hospitalizations, outbreaks and deaths related to the virus.

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“Because of your actions we are starting to see some stabilization,” she said.

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However, Etches pointed to a worrying number of ongoing outbreaks in long-term care homes as reasons to remain vigilant about the pandemic in Ottawa.

“We have worked hard to get here, and we can’t let up now. This means continuing to stay two metres apart, reducing our interactions, wearing a mask with people outside your household and staying home when you are sick. The stabilization we are seeing shows us that these actions when done by everyone do make a difference,” she said.

“The take-home message: To keep our COVID-19 numbers down, we must all keep our guards up.”