OTTAWA — Ottawa Public Health is reminding residents that COVID-19 is still circulating in our community, and everyone needs to do their part to help limit the spread of the virus.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brent Moloughney says Ottawa Public Health estimates approximately one per cent of Ottawa residents have been infected with novel coronavirus.
“Through everyone’s actions, we’ve been successful in reducing the number of infections that would have otherwise occurred,” said Dr. Moloughney.
“Overall, we estimate that only a small percentage of Ottawans have been infected with COVID so far, perhaps as low as one per cent but perhaps a bit higher.”
As of Thursday, Ottawa Public Health reported 1,985 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 248 deaths.
“Regardless of the specific number through, the key implication is that the vast majority of us remain susceptible to infection,” said Dr. Moloughney, noting the new cases reported daily show COVID-19 is still circulating in the community.
“In order to track cases within Ottawa and to limit transmission, please seek testing if you think you may be infected with the virus.”
The Ontario Government announced in May that asymptomatic residents of Ontario could present for COVID-19 testing. Ottawa Public Health says residents can visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena and the two COVID-19 care clinics for testing.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches says the data from the expanded testing criteria has been “educational” as more people present for COVID-19 testing.
“What we’ve found was as the number of people tested grew, we didn’t find a lot more cases. That per cent positivity hasn’t grown,” said Dr. Etches.
“It’s telling us that population out there without symptoms, the general population, may not be where we’re going to find most of our cases.”
The medical officer of health says Ottawa Public Health and health officials in eastern Ontario will test all staff in long-term care homes twice in June. That would be 8,000 COVID-19 tests this month.
“Our goal is to use all of the testing capacity we have,” said Dr. Etches, adding Ottawa Public Health will look to “test in a smart way”, including workplaces and congregate care settings.
Limit your contacts
With warm weather in the forecast for the weekend, Ottawa Public Health is reminding people to practice physical distancing and limit interactions with people outside your household.
“As more activities become possible, the new normal will be to consider how risky an activity is and how you can reduce the risk of transmission for yourself, your family and others,” said Dr. Moloughney.
“In general, outdoor activities are less risky than indoor ones. The more people that are involved and the closer the contact, the higher the risk.”
Ottawa Public Health has issued a graphic looking at “least safe options” and “safer options” for activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.