Two weeks after the COVID-19 lockdown began in Ottawa and across Ontario, medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches says Ottawa's COVID-19 levels are "dramatically higher" since before the holidays.

Ottawa Public Health reported one-day record 234 cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, the second straight day with 200-plus new cases of novel coronavirus.

Ottawa's COVID-19 rate per 100,000 people is 82.6 over the previous seven days, and the positivity rate was 4.7 per cent for the week of Jan. 1 to 7.

"Ottawa's COVID-19 levels are dramatically higher since before the holidays: three times the rate of infection, highest yet," said Dr. Etches on Twitter.

"We are deep into the 'Red' zone and approaching 'Grey' territory; three times the percent of tests coming back positive; 2.5 times the hospitalizations; wastewater levels increasing."

On Dec. 24, Ottawa's COVID-19 cases per 100,000 was 29.2, while the positivity rate for the period of Dec. 14 to 20 was 1.2 per cent.

Ottawa Public Health moved Ottawa into its "Red" overall status this week as case numbers continued to climb.

"If we do not reduce the number of close contacts that enable COVID-19 transmission, our hospitals will not be able to maintain services, and the number of deaths will increase," said Dr. Etches. "This is a collective task, one where we need to support not blame each other through this darkest time."

Ottawa’s COVID-19 levels are dramatically higher since before holidays: 3X the rate of infection, highest yet – we are deep into the “Red” zone and approaching “Grey” territory; 3X the percent of tests coming back positive; 2.5X the hospitalizations; wastewater levels increasing pic.twitter.com/AXwbdO8Xik

— Dr. Vera Etches (@VeraEtches) January 9, 2021

Ottawa surpassed 11,000 cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic on Saturday.  Since New Year's Day, Ottawa Public Health has reported 1,143 cases of COVID-19.

When Ontario moved into a lockdown on Dec. 26, Ottawa was in the "Orange-Restrict" zone on Ontario's colour-coded restriction system.

Dr. Etches says Ottawa is now "deep into the 'Red' zone", which includes a weekly incidence rate over 40 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 2.5 per cent.

If we do not reduce the number of close contacts that enable COVID-19 transmission, our hospitals will not be able to maintain services, and the number of deaths will increase. This is a collective task, one where we need to support not blame each other through this darkest time.

— Dr. Vera Etches (@VeraEtches) January 9, 2021

The criteria for the "Grey-Lockdown" restrictions in Ontario's restriction system is listed as "adverse trends after entering Red/Control", such as:

  • Increasing weekly case incidence and/or test positivity
  • Increasing case incidence and/or test positivity among people aged 70+
  • Increasing outbreaks among vulnerable populations
  • Hospital and ICU capacity at risk of being overwhelmed
  • Public Health unit capacity for case and contact management at risk or overwhelmed

Ontario's four-week lockdown for southern Ontario (south of Sudbury) is scheduled to end on Jan. 23.

Please pay attention to this call from Dr. Etches. It is vital that we limit our close contacts only to those we live with.

If you have the ability to work from home, please do so. Only leave your home for essential reasons like grocery shopping, getting medication or exercise. https://t.co/nRXSDZH9gZ

— Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) January 9, 2021