Etches updates council on public health heading to Stage Two and more council notes

CITY HALL – The city is taking a cautious, phased approach to reopening, with safety as the top priority council heard from subject matter experts at today’s (June 10) Ottawa city virtual council meeting.

OPH's Dr. Vera Etches gave city council an update on the battle so far and the strategy moving forward. Courtesy City of Ottawa
OPH’s Dr. Vera Etches says the city is ready to move to Stage Two of recovery from COVID-19. Courtesy City of Ottawa

City council received an update on the city’s plans for the first phase, which will resume programs such as public transit, recreation and child care, that offer strategic support to help reinvigorate and grow Ottawa’s economy.

 But first, the city’s chief medical officer Dr. Vera Etches gave council an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Ottawa Public Health’s point of view.

As of June 9, there have been 2,002 confirmed cases and 256 deaths in the city related to COVID-19. There were only three new cases since June 8 and no new deaths. There are currently 19 hospitalized patients and none in intensive care. The resolved rate sits at 83.4 per cent or 1,669.

“It’s good,” Etches told council today. “All the trends are positive.

Testing volumes are up and the per centage of positive test results are down. One number that concerns Etches is 32 per cent of current cases can’t be linked to a known exposure.

“So, we’re keeping an eye on that,” she said.

Etches said the residents seem to be improving their COVID-19 prevention habits as well. Etches shared a population survey tracking these habits based. She says 60 per cent of those surveyed are using masks indoors in public places most of the time or always. Seventy-nine per cent are washing hands before eating and 94 per cent are practicing physical distancing while indoors at public places.

“More and more people are using masks,” she said.

And because of this, Ottawa Public Health says Ottawa is ready to move to Stage Two of the provincial plan to re-open the province.

“We’re confident in welcoming Stage Two to Ottawa,” Etches said. “It is in our hands and it is the people of Ottawa that has made welcoming Stage Two possible.”

But she warned, for Stage Two to be successful, residents still must remain vigilant.

Council briefs

Council ratified the tentative agreement reached with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279.

“The terms of this agreement recognize the valuable work of union members in ensuring that Ottawa remains vibrant and sustainable,” city staff released in a statement. “The agreement provides labour stability within the city’s critical public transit operations for the next five years, while respecting Ottawa taxpayers.”

Electric kick scooters are coming to the city’s roads, bike lanes, pathways and footbridges. Council approved piloting their use and rental in Ottawa until the end of October. The pilot will begin after contracts are in place with e-scooter sharing companies. Sharing companies will follow Ottawa Public Health guidelines to sanitize e-scooters and provide in-app education about hand washing, physical distancing and how to ride and park safely and courteously. If the pilot is a success, it can be extended for four more years.

To advance anti-racism and race relations initiatives, council appointed Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Rawlson King as the Council Liaison for Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Relations Initiatives.

The City has $14.7 billion in overall equity, according to the consolidated financial statements for 2019. Council approved these statements, which were audited by an external accounting firm. The city ended the year with $17.1 billion in tangible capital assets like roads, infrastructure, buildings and land, and a net debt of nearly $2.5 billion.

Council approved two motions to support local economic recovery and accommodate physical distancing. The first creates new outdoor retail spaces in front of storefronts. The second waives enforcement of various zoning provisions for temporary patios and outdoor retail spaces on private property until a temporary Zoning By-law is in place. The Planning committee and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee will consider a temporary zoning amendment on Thursday, June 25 and Wednesday, July 8, respectively.

For more information on City programs and services, visit or call 311 (TTY: 613-580-2401).

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