Spike in COVID-19 putting strain on Ottawa healthcare system

OTTAWA – The recent spike in Ottawa’s COVID-19 cases during the so-called second wave, is starting to put a strain on Ottawa’s healthcare system the chief medical officer of health says.

“Individual actions matter, and I know that residents of all ages are under an incredible strain everyday, at work, at school, people are just trying to make their lives as normal as possible in what feels like impossible times,” Dr. Vera Etches said during a press scrum earlier today (Oct. 2). “However, today I’m reporting 142 new people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa and hospitalizations are on the rise now. They’ve doubled since 10 days ago.”

Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) report of 142 new cases of COVID-19 in the city, is the highest total for a single-day reported since the pandemic began. The previous one-day high in Ottawa was 105, which was reported on Sept. 29.

Hospitalizations in Ottawa are up to 24, with four patients in intensive care.

OPH is also reporting two new deaths linked to COVID-19 on Friday. One at St. Vincent Hospital and another at West End Villa long-term care home. Those two facilities have become the hardest hit by the virus in recent weeks, seeing a death toll of 20 between the two facilitis. There are 48 institutions dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks in the city.

“We will hit 200 [new cases of COVID-19 per day] way before mid-October if this rate of increase continues,” Etches said. “It’s not good. We must do better. The pressure on the health system is coming from the number of times that COVID-19 is being passed on when people are in close contact.”

Etches says if residents continue to see people outside of their households or visit family while they’re sick, it’s only going to get worse.

“As Ottawa’s medical officer of health, I am sounding the alarm,” she said. “This is our warning bell. If we do not slow the transmission it will lead to stricter lockdown, closure of businesses, public venues, even schools. Nobody wants this. I do not want this. Closures have a very negative impact on the health of individuals in our community. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is within all of our power. the collective actions of individuals that will make a difference.”

As of FrIday, OPH reports 767 active cases of COVID-19 in the community. The local COVID-19 death toll is at 291. There have been 4,530 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since March, with 3,472 of them resolved.