Ottawa to move to red level of COVID-19 framework as case rates climb 25%

Closed restaurant

Ottawa will move to the red level of Ontario's COVID-19 recovery framework on Friday.

Ontario officials said on Thursday morning that the decision was made after Ottawa's medical officer of health requested the change due to “concerning trends” in the region.

“Through discussions with the local medical officer of health and local authorities on the current situation in Ottawa, it was decided further action was needed to help ensure the continued health and safety of people in the region,” said Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health.

For businesses, moving from “orange” to “red” means gyms, retailers and event venues must further reduce their capacity. Similarly, bars and restaurants can only host 10 patrons indoors at a time, down from 50. There are no limits on outdoor seating.

Movie theatres will also be forced to close.

Ottawa had 69 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario's daily epidemiological report on Wednesday.

The local public health unit said the case rate in the region rose by 24.8 per cent between March 10 and March 15. Ottawa is now reporting 46.8 cases per 100,000 people.

COVID-19 wastewater signal data in Ottawa is also worsening, according to the province.

“The recent modelling has shown us that we must be nimble in applying public health measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our communities,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

– With files from OBJ staff