Ottawa Public Health is reporting a drastic drop in new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, though the city’s top doctor confirms three variants of the novel coronavirus have now been detected in the nation’s capital.
The local public health unit added 23 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
While the rates of coronavirus infection have been trending down in the past week, an increase of 23 cases marks a sharp dip, even from the 58 new cases added on Monday.
Tuesday’s case reports are traditionally the lowest of the week, however, due to fewer people seeking tests over the weekend. Ottawa’s COVID-19 testing task force said 537 people were swabbed for the virus on Sunday.
One additional person has died in connection with COVID-19, according to OPH, raising the city’s death toll of the pandemic to 420.
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, told reporters in a media availability on Tuesday afternoon that the city has now detected three variant cases of the coronavirus in travellers who recently returned to Canada.
All three variant cases in Ottawa are the B.1.1.7 strain, commonly called the U.K. variant, Ontario Public Health confirmed to Global News in an email Tuesday.
Etches said that cases from patients with a travel history are prioritized in OPH’s contact tracing efforts.
Ottawa’s top doctor repeated her assertion that the city is ready to reopen schools for in-person learning and said she expects to hear an update from the province later this week.
There are now 33 people in hospital locally with COVID-19, six of whom are in intensive care.
No new coronavirus outbreaks were declared in Ottawa in the past 24 hours, leaving the number of ongoing outbreaks at 46.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Ottawa now stands at 13,000, with 754 of those cases currently considered active.
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