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Coronavirus: Ottawa adds 48 new COVID-19 cases

Ottawa reported 18 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, less than half the daily total from the day before. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 48 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as the city prepares to reopen gyms and indoor dining at restaurants in the coming days.

No new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The city has now seen 7,273 cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic, with 707 of those cases considered active, according to OPH’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The number of coronavirus lab tests conducted in the region was up in the latest report from Ottawa’s COVID-19 Testing Taskforce, with 3,487 tests performed locally on Tuesday compared to 1,862 on Monday.

There are currently 54 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, four of whom are in the intensive care unit.

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Coronavirus outbreaks affecting two schools and one supportive housing facility were added to OPH’s dashboard on Wednesday.

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Among the new outbreaks is the École secondaire publique Louis-Riel, which is now facing its third outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Three students and one staff member have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the latest outbreak at the school.

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Ottawa is set to move into the province’s new orange “restrict” zone on Saturday after 28 days of closures in the city aimed at flattening the second wave of the pandemic.

The shift would see the return of indoor dining, gyms and cinemas in Ottawa with new limitations aimed at safely reopening.

Read more: What’s allowed in Ottawa on Nov. 7 under Ontario’s new proposed coronavirus framework

In order for a region to re-enter the red “control” state, where select high-risk businesses are closed, the public health unit would need to report a coronavirus positivity rate above 9.9 per cent.

For context, Ottawa’s positivity rate stood at 3.2 per cent from Oct. 24-30, according to OPH’s dashboard.

Speaking to media on Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health said the province’s standards for reimposing stricter control measures represent a “very high bar.”

Read more: Ontario’s new COVID-19 response framework won’t improve rates of virus transmission, experts say

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She said she would sound the alarm well before the city hit a 10 per cent positivity rate for the virus, as she did in late September when infection rates in Ottawa began to creep back up.

She has said previously that the behaviour change residents adopted then have paid dividends in curbing the spread of the virus locally.

Overall, Etches said she is supportive of businesses being open due to the “significant harms” linked to unemployment and a lack of access to services.

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