Code Orange: Ottawa moved off highest level on COVID-19 pandemic scale as situation stabilizes

OTTAWA — After four weeks at the most severe status on the COVID-19 pandemic scale, Ottawa Public Health says the COVID-19 situation is stabilizing enough to move Ottawa off the “red” status.

The health unit moved Ottawa to the “orange” status at the end of day Tuesday, the same day the Ontario Government announced plans to allow indoor dining, gyms, fitness centres and movie theatres to reopen.

“Overall, Ottawa indicators are moving away from the red status metrics, and stabilizing enough to reduce to orange,” said Ottawa Public Health (OPH) in a statement to CTV News Ottawa late Thursday afternoon.

“Orange” is the second highest level on “Ottawa’s Core Indicators” for COVID-19 status listed on its dashboard. It means there is decreasing spread of COVID-19 and few outbreaks, along with some hospital capacity.

Ottawa moved to the “red” status, the most severe level, on Oct. 9 when Ontario announced a modified Stage 2 for at least 28 days in Ottawa due to rising COVID-19 cases.

“Ottawa Public Health changed its dashboard status from ‘red’ to ‘orange’ at end of business day Tuesday following an internal analysis of local indicators, and in light of provincial announcements with new COVID-19 framework,” said public health in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

“The dashboard colour ‘status’ takes into account various indicators related to virus spread and containment, health care system capacity, public health case and contact tracing and laboratory testing. Overall, Ottawa indicators are moving away from red status metrics, and stabilizing enough to reduce to orange.’

Ottawa enters the “orange” level just days before indoor dining at food and drink establishments, fitness centres, gyms and movie theatres can reopen as part of the Ontario Government’s new framework for imposing COVID-19 shutdowns.  Orange is the third highest level on the COVID-19 tiered system, also called “restrict.”

When public health moved Ottawa into the “red” status on Oct. 9, it cited a rise in new cases, hospitalizations and outbreaks.

“The decision was made based on local analysis of COVID-19 indicators in the city,” OPH wrote in a statement to CTV News Ottawa on Oct. 13. “The decision to shift to red status was influenced by trends that were observed last week with respect to hospitalizations and outbreaks.”

OPH says cases and hospitalizations doubled in recent weeks, with more than 700 new cases last week. Additionally, there were 33 new outbreaks declared.

The “red” status means “Increasing spread and outbreaks. Limited hospital capacity and many health care worker infections. Limited or no ability to isolate cases/quarantine contacts. Greater than 15 per cent positivity or less than 25 per cent testing capacity.

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