Ottawa is approaching two weeks in Ontario’s red zone with no sign that the latest round of restrictions have slowed the spread of COVID-19 in the city.
Ottawa first entered the red-control level of Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening framework on Friday, March 19.
At that time, the city’s weekly COVID-19 incidence rate stood at 49.1 cases per 100,000 people with 2.7 per cent of all coronavirus tests coming back positive.
As of Tuesday, Ottawa’s incidence rate has jumped to 85 cases per 100,000 population and the city’s coronavirus positivity rate was 5.0 per cent in the past week. Single-day increases in COVID-19 cases have also been in the triple digits for nearly a week.
While incidence rates of 40 cases per 100,000 and positivity rates of 2.5 per cent warrant a shift from the orange-restrict to the red-control zone on Ontario’s framework, there is no set threshold for putting a region into the grey-lockdown level.
Among the listed criteria for shifting a region into grey are continued increases in the weekly incidence and test positivity rates after entering red. Other considerations are growing coronavirus outbreaks in vulnerable settings and hospital capacities at risk of being overwhelmed.
Read more: COVID-19 hospitalizations surging in Ottawa
Provincial officials typically wait two weeks after a region has entered a new level of the reopening framework before loosening or tightening restrictions to see whether current measures are having an impact.
Vera Etches, Ottawa’s top doctor, usually has a call with Ontario’s chief medical officer of health on Tuesday afternoons to give her advice on whether Ottawa should move to a new level of the framework.
Global News has reached out to Ottawa Public Health to hear what her recommendations are at this stage but has not heard back.
Currently, six regions in Ontario are under grey-lockdown restrictions.
Among the most useful regions to compare with is Hamilton, which entered the grey zone most recently on Monday.
Hamilton’s weekly incidence rate stood at 120.7 cases per 100,000 from March 20 to 26, according to provincial data. The city’s health unit reports a positivity rate of 3.0 per cent.
Global News has analyzed Ontario’s daily epidemiological reports to compare where COVID-19 incidence rates stood in the other five grey regions on the date they went into lockdown. Percent positivity rates were not immediately accessible for all regions.
Thunder Bay District Public Health (lockdown on March 1)
- Incidence rate from Feb. 20 to 26: 188.1 per 100,000
Toronto Public Health (lockdown on March 8)
- Incidence rate from Feb. 27 to March 5: 66.8 per 100,000
Peel Public Health (lockdown on March 8)
- Incidence rate from Feb. 27 to March 5: 85.7 per 100,000
Public Health Sudbury and Districts (lockdown on March 12)
- Incidence rate from March 3 to 9: 70.3 per 100,000
Lambton Public Health (lockdown on March 15)
- Incidence rate from March 6 to 12: 120.6 per 100,000
Note: Ottawa’s incidence rate from March 20 to 26 is listed as 65.6 cases per 100,000 on Public Health Ontario, though provincial data sometimes lags behind OPH’s locally reported figures, which place the rate at 85 per 100,000.View link »