Lifted capacity limits behind sharp rise in coronavirus levels: OPH doctor…

One of Ottawa’s top doctors says a recent rise in COVID-19 transmission likely reflects the dropping of public indoor capacity limits earlier this month, and that it’s too soon to tell whether lifting the mask mandate is to blame.

On Wednesday, Dr. Brent Moloughney, Ottawa Public Health’s deputy medical officer of Health, released a statement noting that the city’s wastewater viral signal and the percentage of positive tests have been increasing.

A slight bump in outbreaks was also noted, though hospitalizations were stable.

Increased transmission is expected to continue as public health measures lift, people hold social gatherings and children return to school following March Break, according to Moloughney’s statement.

His update landed the same day new data from Ottawa’s COVID-19 wastewater monitoring project indicated a surge in the city’s viral signal in the 10 days leading up to March 22.

Tyson Graber, an associate scientist with the CHEO Research Institute, said the data may reflect the fastest growth of the signal in the first part of a COVID-19 wave since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, he cautioned that a few more days are needed to confirm that.

Graber said it’s concerning but not unexpected that the signal is rising, citing the removal of public health restrictions and waning vaccine immunity,

“How high we will go, we cannot predict,” he said.



Written by Guy Quenneville