Aug. 5 COVID-19 news: 16 new cases, Ben Franklin employee tests positive, COVID-19 scam

OTTAWA – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reports 16 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the city today (Aug. 5).

There have been 2,576 lab-confirmed cases of the virus in the city – 2,105 (81.7 per cent) of which have been resolved.

With no deaths reported, the toll remains at 264. Active cases in the capital are up to 207, according to OPH. There are 13 people in local hospitals with COVID-19, one in intensive care.

The Redwoods retirement home has been cleared of its outbreak which started on July 17. There are still 12 institutional outbreaks in Ottawa.

The City of Ottawa reports one of its employees working at the Building Code Service’s counter, at Ben Franklin Place on Centrepoint Drive, has tested positive for COVID-19.

This person is in self-isolation at home after last working the service desk on Friday, July 31. Staff from the area who were exposed to the employee are being informed and told to isolate for 14 days. OPH is also following up with anyone who may have been in close contact with the individual. 

The Building Code Services counter at Ben Franklin Place will be closed until further notice.

The city says it has contingency plans for this kind of event and has closely followed OPH’s recommendations to ensure a safe working environment that controls risk and is as safe as possible. 

City staff are still monitoring the Foster Farm Community Centre following a positive case reported Aug. 1.

We have been working closely with OPH to monitor the situation,” Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services acting general manager Dan Brisebois wrote in a memo to Ottawa City Council yesterday (Aug. 4). “The Foster Farm Community Centre is considered to be an outbreak site at this time. A site is considered in outbreak when one active case of COVID-19 is reported.”

At this time no additional cases have been reported since the one on Saturday. In order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 at the site, the following additional preventive measures have been implemented:

Suspension of all summer camp programming at this location for 14 days;

Contacts of the confirmed individual have been advised to isolate at home for 14 days;

Additional training and support for all staff specific to outbreaks;

Disinfecting all work areas to ensure the health and safety of our staff and implementing additional environment services supports to disinfect the community centre and other areas used by the summer camp.

Reminder messages circulated to staff on physical distancing, good hygiene practices, including handwashing and disinfecting, and protocols for wearing masks.

“We will continue to follow the advice of Ottawa Public Health and directives from the province,” Brisebois said.

Meanwhile, Ottawa’s associate medical officer of health Dr. Brent Moloughney told the media residents (and the media) should not get to high or to low upon the release of new COVID-19 numbers each day.

One new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ottawa on Tuesday, with four new cases confirmed on Monday, after 16 consecutive days of double-digit increases. As mentioned, there were 16 new cases today.

“It’s just a couple of days,” Moloughney said in a media conference call today. “Whether the cases are up for a couple of days or down for a couple of days, I don’t think one should over-react or over-interpret.”

Moloughney urged continued vigilance against spreading the virus, regardless of whether one has been tested for COVID-19.

“In (some) cases, a negative test is falsely reassuring, and so it’s actually more important to do the things that prevent transmission: not going out if you’re sick, physical distancing, masking, handwashing,” he said.

The OPH is warning residents to be on the lookout for a phone scam involving COVID-19 testing.

OPH says it will never call to ask for your credit card information to mail you a COVID-19 test.

“No one from Ottawa Public Health (or any health agency) will ever call you and ask for your credit card number so we can mail you a COVID-19 test,” OPH released on social media earlier today. “Literally never. Those calls are a scam, they are fraudulent, and let’s all let the awfulness of that sink in, shall we?”

If you receive one of these calls, you’re urged to report it to the Ottawa Police Service’s fraud section.