Ottawa's COVID-19 indicators 'heading in the right direction'. Dr. Etches says

Two seniors elbow-bump while wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Drazen Zigic)

Ottawa's top doctor says COVID-19 levels are coming down in the capital during the sixth wave of the pandemic, but warns the virus is still here "and the levels are relatively high."

Medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches is encouraging people to continue to be careful by wearing masks and limit close contacts indoors this spring.

"The four things we look at are basically showing us we're heading in the right direction," Dr. Etches said about the current COVID-19 situation in Ottawa.

Etches tells Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron that while the COVID-19 wastewater monitoring levels and positivity rates are high, they're coming down.

"The new hospitalizations, they're moderate, they're relatively unchanged so that may take a little bit more time to come down," Etches said.

"The outbreaks that we're seeing in long-term care homes and other health care settings, they're still moderate and they're starting to decrease."

Ottawa Public Health reported four new COVID-19 related deaths in Ottawa on Wednesday. There are 34 Ottawa residents in hospital with an active COVID-19 infection, down from 39 on Tuesday.

There are 58 current outbreaks in long-term care homes, retirement homes and hospital settings.

"As COVID's coming down, that's good but we know that those who are still at risk of severe illness, it's not out of our community," Etches said.

"It's here and the levels are still relatively high so choosing those ways to decrease risk are still important."

Etches says this is a good time for residents to catch up with friends and loved ones following two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, "Especially outdoors as our weather is getting better."

"It's relevant to be careful with the number of close contacts indoors, to still wear masks indoors, of course, make sure you have your COVID booster shot – those things do decrease COVID-19 transmission, that third dose," Etches said.

With the welcome arrival of warmer weather, catching up w/friends & family outdoors is a great way to stay connected & improve your mental health, while also reducing the risk of spreading COVID (vs gathering indoors).

More info about lowering risk: https://t.co/0Ytty56Fbe (2/5)

— Ottawa Public Health (@OttawaHealth) May 4, 2022