Ottawa’s mayor urges residents to remain vigilant as COVID-19 case numbers drop

OTTAWA — Following two straight days with COVID-19 case numbers in the 20s, Mayor Jim Watson is urging all Ottawa residents to remain vigilant to prevent coronavirus transmission.

“I’m very pleased, obviously, that the numbers are going down and they’re in the 20s the last couple of days, but it’s not time for a victory lap now,” said Watson in an interview with CTV News Ottawa.

“We still know that the virus is still very much alive and with us in Ottawa, and we have to remain vigilant. We’re doing well, I thank the people of Ottawa for following proper procedures, but let’s not let our guard down.”

Ottawa Public Health reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, following 21 new cases on Tuesday. The low case numbers come as Public Health Ontario reports record high case numbers across the province.

When asked by CTV News Ottawa’s Christina Succi why he thinks Ottawa has seen a steady drop in COVID-19 cases, Watson credited the Ottawa Public Health “dynamic” social media campaign and increased enforcement of COVID-19 rules, along with a change in behaviours by residents. 

“Generally, I think people saw when we weren’t doing well, the consequences of that. So, a lot of attitudes and behaviours changed,” said Watson.

“We got to keep that attitude up, because the last thing we want to do is slide into what’s happening, unfortunately, in Peel Region and Toronto.”

Ottawa moved into the new “Orange-Restrict” level last Saturday, allowing indoor dining in bars and restaurants, along with gyms, fitness centres and movie theatres to open.

Watson says he understands bars and restaurants want to open longer hours, but right now, it’s important to take things slowly.

“I don’t want to rush things. Some people have been critical that the bars and restaurants can’t open as late, but they’re open and that’s the good thing,” said the mayor.

“I think what we have to do is do it one step at a time, not push to open too soon because we’ve seen in the states when you open too soon, too quickly it becomes a disaster.”

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