Three weeks after Ottawa’s bars, restaurants and nightclubs were ordered to shutdown indoor dining to prevent the spread of COVID-19, new data suggests COVID-19 outbreaks linked to bars and restaurants in Toronto drove the decision to close businesses in the capital.
Bars, restaurants and nightclubs have accounted for two per cent of all COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa since the start of August, compared to 14 per cent of all outbreaks in Toronto.
The Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Tables released data on Thursday showing there have been three outbreaks linked to bars and restaurants in Ottawa over the past three months.
Ottawa City Council had voted to ask Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario Government for the data that resulted in the decision to close of indoor dining at bars and restaurants, and the full shutdown of gyms and fitness centres on Oct. 10.
In Toronto, there have been 27 COVID-19 outbreaks linked to bars, restaurants and nightclubs. In York Region, bars and restaurants accounted for eight per cent of all COVID-19 outbreaks.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams was asked why bars and restaurants and nightclubs were ordered to close in Ottawa, York and Peel region, when data shows they weren’t responsible for a large number of outbreaks.
“The recommendation we made back at that time because of the rising numbers and the extensive community spread, a lot of the times people were contacting in areas where they were not having adequate protection,” said Dr. Williams.
“We didn’t particularly pick one site or another; we said, as we said along, that we were picking those settings where it’s indoors, where people are unable to mask for long periods of time.”
In Ottawa, long-term care homes, schools and daycares are responsible for the majority of COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa.
The data shows schools and daycares account for 39 per cent of COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa since August 1, while long-term care homes are responsible for 33 per cent of the COVID-19 outbreaks.
There have been nine outbreaks involving gyms and sports teams in Ottawa since August 1, accounting for five per cent of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Ottawa Public Health data on Thursday showed seven COVID-19 outbreaks involving sports teams and recreation were linked to 54 cases of COVID-19.
There have been two outbreaks involving Ottawa’s retail and service sector, accounting for one per cent of all outbreaks.
Twelve outbreaks have been reported at Ottawa’s hospitals, accounting for six per cent of outbreaks, while two outbreaks have been linked to events, ceremonies and religious services.