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Signs of another uptick of COVID-19 cases in Ottawa: Dr. Etches – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Just days before children return to school and adults return to work after summer vacation, Ottawa’s top doctor is warning there are signs of another uptick of COVID-19 cases in Ottawa.

But Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches insists Ottawa residents can get through the spike in cases if everyone continues to do their part, including practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask indoors.

Ottawa Public Health reported 22 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the fourth straight day with a double-digit increase in cases.

Speaking with CTV News Ottawa, Dr. Etches said Ottawa Public Health is seeing a concerning trend with new cases for the second time this summer.

“Well we’re in a time right now where we’re starting to see signs of another uptick in cases in Ottawa,” said Dr. Etches Thursday afternoon.

“That happened in July where we saw cases rise again and they came back down as people adopted more mask wearing and reminded themselves about keeping two metres from others.”

Dr. Etches added, “So this is the world we’re living in with rises and needing counter-measures. So just encourage everyone to keep doing their part, it does work. We will get through this together.”

Ottawa Public Health has reported 354 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far in August. 

On Wednesday, Dr. Etches told Council that Ottawa Public Health was seeing a “different picture” with how COVID-19 is spreading.

“The biggest risk factor for people is the close contacts that we have.”

Ottawa Public Health statistics show that since Aug. 1, 57 per cent of COVID-19 cases for residents ages 10 and 19 years old and 44.6 per cent of COVID cases for residents ages 20 to 29 were linked to close contact with a confirmed case.

Forty per cent of all COVID-19 cases for residents ages 30 to 49 in August are linked to household contacts.

Speaking on CTV Morning Live Thursday morning, Dr. Etches said the fact close contacts are the driving factor behind a lot of new cases shows the importance of following the COVID-19 measures.

“It points to the effectiveness of the behaviours that we’ve adopted in public spaces. The effectiveness of staying away from people two metres and using a mask in indoor spaces,” said Dr. Etches.

“We know that it’s hard, we need close contact with others. It’s still valuable to think about the fact this is a virus that can be passed on when people don’t know that they’re ill. The more we can do physical distancing and limit our contacts who have that kind of close contact with us, the better.”

Ottawa Public Health reminds people that socializing and household spread are key risks for resurgence. The health unit reminds everyone to be COVID-wise

W – Wear a mask

I – Isolate yourself when you’re sick

S – Stay two metres apart from others

E – Exercise proper hand hygiene

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COVID-19 outbreak declared at fifth Ottawa school, 52 schools with a COVID-19 case – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
With COVID-19 cases reported at 52 schools across Ottawa, public health officials warn staff and students are beginning to contact COVID-19 while at school.

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Lycee Claudel, the fifth outbreak at an Ottawa school since the start of the school year three weeks ago. Ottawa Public Health reports two students at the French private school have tested positive for the virus.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health says it’s starting to see that some students and staff are getting sick from interactions at school.

“The first handful of cases were of students and staff that went to school unknowing that they were sick with COVID, meaning they became infected with COVID outside of the school setting,” said the statement from Ottawa Public Health.

“Over the last couple of weeks, OPH is starting to see that some students and staff are now getting sick from interactions at school. These are situations when OPH declares an outbreak.”

COVID-19 cases have been reported at 52 schools with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, Ottawa Catholic School Board, and the French public and catholic school boards.

Speaking on CTV Morning Live Thursday morning, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said her goal was to keep schools open during the pandemic, adding that takes limiting the COVID-19 transmission in the community. 

Ottawa Public Health says once an outbreak is confirmed in a school, it reaches out to parents of close contacts to let them know and help them with the next steps, which include staying home, monitoring for symptoms and presenting for testing when it’s appropriate.

COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at the following Ottawa schools:

  • Ecole elementaire catholique Montfort
  • Franco-Ouest
  • Gabrielle Roy Public School
  • Lycee Claudel
  • Monsignor Paul Baxter School

Ottawa Public Health ordered Monsignor Paul Baxter School closed for at least two weeks following four cases of COVID-19. Two students and two staff members have tested positive.

Ottawa Public Health says in the event of a school outbreak, the ability for the school to remain open will depend on how many groups of students are affected.  Some cohorts may be advised to go for testing and to self-isolate at home until a date determined by OPH.

“If there is sufficient evidence to indicate that there is risk of spread to additional cohorts, there may be a decision to close the entire school in order to stop transmission in the school.”

Here is a breakdown of the COVID-19 cases in Ottawa’s schools:

Ottawa Carleton District School Board: Nine students (eight students, one teacher tested positive)

Ottawa Catholic School Board: 11 schools (14 students, two staff members tested positive)

Conseil des ecole Catholique Centre-Est: 21 schools (32 cases in all schools)

Conseil des ecoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario: 11 schools (15 student cases in schools)

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Ontario College of Teachers asks retired teachers to return to the classroom to address teaching shortage during pandemic – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
The Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) warns there is a shortage of certified teachers in the province during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the college, the teacher shortage has been magnified by smaller class sizes since the start of the school year.

In a letter sent to former and retired members, OCT is asking people to reinstate their memberships and return to work if they can, to help provide relief in the classroom.

“In short, you are needed. Your significant and specialized knowledge and skills are needed,” said the letter.

The letter encourages people to pursue job opportunities with local school boards.

CTV News Ottawa has reached out to several Ottawa school boards about this shortage.

Both the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board have positions posted on their websites for occasional teachers.

The Conseil des ecoles Catholiques Centre-Est has job positions for substitute and permanent teaching positions in Ottawa, Carleton Place, Kingston and Pembroke.

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Public health officials call for tighter restrictions, warn COVID-19 could spiral out of control – Yahoo News Canada

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Public health officials call for tighter restrictions, warn COVID-19 could spiral out of control

Infectious disease experts say Canadian health authorities must tighten restrictions again or hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 will increase exponentially in the coming weeks.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Echoing comments made Tuesday by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, who said Canada is at a crossroads in its pandemic battle, experts in public health are urging governments to take decisive action to prevent&nbsp;the current resurgence of the virus from spiralling out of control.” data-reactid=”33″>Echoing comments made Tuesday by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, who said Canada is at a crossroads in its pandemic battle, experts in public health are urging governments to take decisive action to prevent the current resurgence of the virus from spiralling out of control.

Canada reported 1,248 new cases Wednesday, and on Tuesday the country’s most populous province, Ontario, reported its highest number of new cases since early May. 

Tam outlined projections that show new cases could climb to 5,000 daily by October if we continue on the current course.

“To date, we’re not moving fast enough to get ahead of this,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease physician based at a Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. “I think we’re being lulled into a false sense of security because of the low numbers of hospitalizations and deaths [relative to earlier in the pandemic]. But they will come in the next six weeks or so.”

He said asking people nicely to tighten their social circles is not going to be enough.

Craig Chivers/CBCCraig Chivers/CBC

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Craig Chivers/CBC

“I think that appealing to people’s better natures — that, hey, you should be careful and you should make sure you limit your contacts — I don’t think that that’s going to work, to be perfectly frank.”

Gardam said Canadians grew fatigued with the restrictions imposed on their social circles earlier in the year and won’t be eager to return to them unless pressed.

“I think we’re going to have to be a lot more forceful,” he said. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Adjusting bubbles” data-reactid=”61″>Adjusting bubbles

That means demanding Canadians tighten their social circles, and backing that up with enforcement.

“I would argue that we need to be very cautious, like we were back in March, in order to weather the storm from all the increased contacts that we’ve had.”

Right now, “people are playing fast and loose with bubbles all over the place,” said Gardam. 

If you increase the number of contacts that you have, this is going to go to hell real quick. – Michael Gardam, infectious disease physician, Women’s College Hospital

Instead, he says we need to rethink social bubbles now that school is in session again.

“We’re all going to have to pay the price because our kids are in school now. So what are we giving up?

“If you want to keep the restaurants open and bars, maybe you have to give up your private gatherings,” he said. “Because if you just increase in every dimension, if you increase the number of contacts that you have, this is going to go to hell real quick.”

The actions taken in the next two weeks could change the trajectory of the months to come, said Laura Rosella, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health,

“There’s a lot of things with this pandemic that we can’t control, but we might be able to control who we interact with, especially socially, and who’s in our bubble,” said Rosella, who holds a PhD in epidemiology.

CBCCBC

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“I would encourage everyone to rethink what their bubbles are given the new situation, especially if something’s changed, if someone’s gone back to work, someone’s entering a school situation and especially if vulnerable people are in their bubbles.”

Rosella said her advice to Canadians is to “really think through what is absolutely necessary” when it comes to interactions with others.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More than a blip” data-reactid=”98″>More than a blip

Rosella said Canadians can’t afford to ignore the changes happening with COVID-19.

“We’re not in the August situation anymore. There’s clearly an uptick of cases,” said Rosella, “The fact that we’re already on that trajectory tells me that the likelihood of this being just a small blip, that we’re not going to notice and we can carry on, is pretty low.”

“We are going to experience a significant increase that we’re going to have to manage and react to. It could be worse if we do nothing. And if we act, we could minimize the impact of it.” 

Dr. Samir Gupta, a clinician-scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital and an assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of Toronto, said getting a handle on this COVID-19 surge means returning to restrictions implemented earlier in the pandemic.

Craig Chivers/CBCCraig Chivers/CBC

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Craig Chivers/CBC

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Speaking with Heather Hiscox on CBC&nbsp;Morning Live&nbsp;Wednesday, Gupta said Canadians "need to start making similar sacrifices to the ones we made the first time around," which was successful with flattening the curve in the spring.” data-reactid=”123″>Speaking with Heather Hiscox on CBC Morning Live Wednesday, Gupta said Canadians “need to start making similar sacrifices to the ones we made the first time around,” which was successful with flattening the curve in the spring.

Without enforcement, “we risk overwhelming our health-care system capacity … [and getting] into real trouble,” he said.

“We don’t want to have to turn people away and not be able to take care of people who are sick with this virus. And that’s the biggest risk we face.”

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