Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

Please read the following text CAREFULLY before calling Ottawa Public Health (OPH) or seeking healthcare. You DO NOT need a phone assessment by OPH to access appropriate care based on the information. 

Please note: In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health is now recommending that all residents of Ottawa practice physical (social) distancing

The priority of the healthcare system is being able to test those who are most in need. Not everyone requires testing. People WITHOUT respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough) will NOT be tested for COVID-19, regardless of potential exposures. 

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

Even if you do not have symptoms, YOU MUST self-isolate for 14 days if: 

  • You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).
  • You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has: 
    • Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada. 

If you have MILD symptoms, where you are NOT short of breath and can manage symptoms reasonably at home:

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health.
  • Self-isolate for 14 days or until 24 hours AFTER symptoms have FULLY resolved, whichever is longer.

NOTE: Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home.

For employees, if your employer requires a sick note please send them this letter from Ottawa Public Health. For employers, please visit our COVID-19 info page for workplaces.

If you have ESCALATING SYMPTOMS such as a new or worsening cough and/or fever, AND have either travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days:

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Children under 6 months of age meeting this criteria should be taken to CHEO
  • Visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre – you do NOT need a referral from Ottawa Public Health OR
  • Call your health care provider (if available)
  • If the COVID-19 Assessment Centre and your health care provider are both closed, go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage

If you have SEVERE SYMPTOMS (you have frequent shortness of breath and cannot manage your symptoms at home)

  • If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage.

What is the current situation in Ottawa?

Stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 developments by following Ottawa Public Health on Twitter and Facebook.

Every day at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.  ET the Province of Ontario's novel coronavirus (COVID-19) web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information including the status of cases in Ontario.

Declaration of emergency

The City of Ottawa has enacted a declaration of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public. 

 

Read the special statements from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health

Read the latest statement

March 27, 2020 - Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health

Since Ottawa Public Health confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa on March 11, our day-to-day lives have changed drastically. We know that staying home and practicing physical (social) distancing and being in self-isolation is not easy and we thank you for all you are doing to help flatten the curve.

It is important to remember that this is a global issue and the response around the world has been immense to influence the impact of COVID-19. There are now more than 86,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported in the United States; this number is greater than the total number of cases in China and Italy. Confirmed cases are just the tip of the iceberg of the actual infections out there.

Around this time of year, many travellers are returning from travel around the world, including many snowbirds returning to Canada from the US. Returning travelers from all destinations outside of Canada MUST self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days. Do not go shopping for groceries or supplies; these must be picked up by a family member or friend or through online ordering options.  

Please visit our self-isolation page for more instructions on how to self-isolate, including for specific scenarios.

As of this morning, there are 75 confirmed cases in Ottawa. Included in these numbers is the first confirmed case in a retirement home in Ottawa. This case was confirmed at Promenade Seniors’ Suites & Retirement Residence in Orleans. The individual as well as their spouse, who is also a resident of the retirement home, have been hospitalized. The retirement home has implemented outbreak management and OPH is connecting with close contacts, as we do in all cases. All residents have been notified and are in self-solation. Staff at the home continue to be screened and have been instructed to wear personal protective equipment in the building, specifically wearing a mask when entering the building and following droplet/contact procedures in all resident rooms.

The number of people hospitalized and in intensive care has increased. There are 17 people in hospital (including the two from the retirement home), seven of which are in intensive care. Of the people in intensive care, most are in their 50s and 60s, with only one individual older than 70. This is important for the public to appreciate as it demonstrates that the illness does not discriminate age – anyone is susceptible. Furthermore, 16 per cent of all the cases to date have no travel and no known contact with a confirmed case, demonstrating clear community spread.

Ottawa Public Health continues to communicate and work closely with local hospitals, health care partners, businesses, the City and all levels of government to implement our community response to COVID-19. 

Thank you again for your ongoing patience and cooperation in keeping residents informed. Please continue to visit: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus 

Read the previous statements
March 26, 2020 at 2:30pm - Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health

The situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly, with new developments and new announcements daily from all levels of government.

We continue to be grateful for media’s help in getting reliable, timely information out to our residents.  

As of this morning, OPH is investigating 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

We also shared the sad news late yesterday afternoon about Ottawa’s first COVID-19 related death.

The individual was a man in his 90s who was living at home. He developed a fever on March 15th. He was seen in the emergency department of The Ottawa Hospital and admitted on March 20 and died on March 25, 2020. As with other people diagnosed with COVID-19, OPH will not be discussing any further details in order to protect personal health information.

We continue to get questions about self-isolation. I want to reinforce that the information on our website provides clear guidelines.

Returning travelers MUST self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days. DO NOT go shopping for groceries or supplies. Have those purchased for you by a friend, family or neighbour or use a delivery service.

If you are self-isolating and develop symptoms or if you are awaiting test results for COVID-19, you must stay home. Do not leave your home except to seek medical treatment for escalating symptoms.

If you are self-isolating and do not have symptoms, we want you to do everything you can to remain healthy and part of that involves, getting fresh air and exercise. Therefore, if you don’t have symptoms, it’s okay to go for a walk outside, but at all times, you must maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from anyone you may encounter on your walk.

I was happy to see this message reinforced by Health Minister Hajdu yesterday during a press conference and by Dr. Theresa Tam on Twitter last night. We want you to stay healthy and be able to go outside to get some fresh air, while practicing physical distancing.

Also, please remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after any outdoor excursion or activity.

It’s important to remember that while those most at risk of severe complications from COVID-19 are older adults and those with underlying health conditions, I want to reiterate that COVID19 does not discriminate. We can expect serious illness across all age categories, and everyone has a role when it comes to physical/social distancing.

We know this situation is causing stress and anxiety in our community. I’m happy to share with you that OPH has added a new section on our coronavirus webpage to make it easier for residents to find mental health resources in our community.

We also recognize that the volume of new information can be overwhelming. Please note that the team at Ottawa Public Health is continuously updating our website and messaging to provide residents with the latest and most reliable information on how to protect themselves and their loved ones and maintain their health.

Thank you again for your ongoing patience and cooperation in keeping residents informed. Please continue to visit: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus 

March 24, 2020 at 2:15pm - Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health
We know many residents are heeding the advice to stay at home and limit non-essential outings, and I am grateful that they are following public advice. I recognize that this is a difficult time for all of us, and the unpredictability can be stressful. Thank you to everyone in our community for their cooperation during this unprecedented response. The actions you are taking will affect not only you, but also your loved ones and our most vulnerable.

Firstly, I want to ensure that everyone heard the news that The Ontario Ministry of Health has a new enhanced self-assessment tool online.  If you think you have coronavirus symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this online self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care and receive recommendations to either continue physical (social) distancing or self-isolate.

Moving forward, you will also begin to hear the use of the term “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing.”  This language is beginning to be used around the world and is clearer about what we are recommending to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  We want residents to keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others, but not to disconnect socially.  It is very important during this time, that we maintain social connections to support our mental health; however, these social connections with people outside your household should be done through phone calls and other technology as much as possible.   

Regarding gathering more information on whether people are adhering to social distancing.  In the short term, we are using more traditional means: we are planning a population survey, through a phone survey that will be implemented in the next few days.  We are exploring all options to use technology to assist with the response, but have no plans to implement cell phone proximity tracking or social media mining. Exploring some of these options would need to be done in a transparent way to be sure that privacy is protected and there is evidence the tools work the way we’d want them to.

As of this morning, OPH is investigating 25 confirmed cases and 13 indeterminate cases.  We anticipate this number will continue to increase as more people are exposed to the virus in our community and are getting tested. 

Regarding testing, we are actively working with our laboratory and health care partners to improve their wait times to receiving results.  Currently we are hearing that the average wait time for results is 7 days. We are working with our healthcare partners to ramp up their efforts to process samples locally as part of a more sustainable model.   We appreciate your patience and request that you not call Ottawa Public Health for test results. If you are tested at the Assessment Centre, please follow their guidance on how to receive your results through their on-line mechanisms.

For those individuals that have received testing and need clarity while they are waiting for results, the guidance is consistent with what we are recommending for self-isolation.  For example:

  • If you got tested because you had symptoms, regardless of travel history, you need to stay in isolation for 14 days or until 24 hours after your symptoms clear up (whichever is longer); or
  • If your symptoms escalate beyond what you can manage at home, go to the emergency department - regardless of if you have been tested. Testing is not treatment. We want to ensure people that need care, get care. 

Thank you for continuing to share this information and please visit our website regularly for the latest updates: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.  

March 23, 2020 at 2:30pm - Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health 

It has been another busy start to our week as the information, and measures at all levels of government in response to this pandemic, are changing rapidly. We are working around the clock to provide information to the public as soon as possible. 

As of this morning, OPH is investigating 22 confirmed cases and 11 indeterminate cases. I know there is always a lot of interest in how many confirmed cases are in our community, but we know that these cases are really only one small part of the COVID-19 response.  As I mentioned yesterday, we now have laboratory confirmation of community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ottawa and that there could be up to 4,000 cases in Ottawa. I want to take the time to help people understand how we determine these estimates.

Researchers at the University of Toronto developed a model that describes COVID-19 transmission based on a model that was used in 2009 for H1N1 pandemic planning in Canada. This model tries to take into account that:

  • In addition to diagnosed cases, there are/will be cases that go undetected because they have no symptoms, or only mild symptoms;
  • Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases contribute to spread; and
  • Coronavirus infection spreads at different rates depending on several factors (i.e. age, number of contacts, asymptomatic vs. symptomatic, etc.).

The model is used as a planning tool, to help predict healthcare resources needed, and potential positive impacts of strategies, such as physical (social) distancing and school closures. It helps us make comparisons between types of interventions versus no interventions. It is approximate, and daily numbers will fluctuate. For example, the model shouldn’t be used to say we will have X number of cases on March 23 or June 10; it should be used to see how interventions may impact estimated number of cases over time.

The model estimates, based on having 27 diagnosed cases on Sunday, that there are between 200 and 4,000 total diagnosed and undiagnosed cases in Ottawa now. We released the number publicly to help raise awareness that COVID-19 is in our community, and to communicate that we all need to do our part to slow down transmission of infection by limiting our contact with others.  We just received an updated model, so we are still working to understand how to apply that to the current situation in Ottawa.

The model isn’t going to give us perfect numbers that I can provide into the future, because interventions are changing.  Instead, we are continuing to work on data sources that will give us a better picture of what is happening in our community.  For example, we are looking at emergency room visits for fever and cough, we are looking at ways to ask people to report to us if they have fever and cough in the community.  We also want more information on whether people are adhering to physical (social) distancing guidance in our community.  All of the additional information sources we are building will help build a better picture and more precise projections of where we are at on the “curve” of infections in our community.

We will continue to share more information about the number of estimated infections in the community as our surveillance systems evolve. We are working toward adding this information on our website so it is available to the public and the media, and importantly to our health system partners as this information helps them with health system planning over the next several months.  

Given this information about community spread, we all need to be vigilant to continue physical (social) distancing.  Now is not the time for non-essential excursions outside the home or for having friends and family over to visit. Overall, physical (social) distancing means to limit the total number of people you come in close contact with; ideally you are able to limit your contact to only people within your household. Limit contact with everyone outside your household unless you have essential work, or if you need important support from one other person. 

So this means, that you should only be connecting with friends and family virtually and to limit how often you go to the grocery store.  When you do go outside of your homes, to go for a walk or to get groceries, keep at least 2 metres distance apart from others.  Parks remain open, but we ask that you do not congregate in parks, on sports fields, courts and playgrounds – again all to limit your close contacts with anyone outside your household.  Essentially, physical (social) distancing and keeping two meters distance from others applies to all setting when other people are around.

The additional measures announced earlier today by the province of Ontario, that there will be a mandatory closure of all non-essential work places, will help limit these non-essential outings.  We will be working with our City colleagues to determine local implications, but please be reassured that we will have access to food, utilities and essential products.  In my statement yesterday, I encouraged that people should not visit non-essential businesses including but not limited to clothing retail stores, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, gym and fitness facilities, banquet halls and conference centres; we will share the list of businesses permitted to stay open once released tomorrow by the province. 

Many people are returning home from travel and will need groceries and essential items. It is imperative that all returning travellers self-isolate for 14 days.  If you are self-isolating it means that; groceries and essential items should be picked up by a family member or friend, or acquired through on-line ordering options.

We are working with the airport to ensure all travellers are aware of this information about self-isolation.  Having a COVID-19 test result or not does not change the actions that individuals in the community need to take now. If you have travelled or are ill with a respiratory illness, stay home – and for all of us, now is the time to limit our interactions with others outside of our household as much as possible. 

We continue to have many questions about what self-isolation actually means. Self-isolation means you need to stay home and avoid contact with others.

  • Do not use public transportation;
  • Do not go to work or school or the grocery store;
  • Stay in a separate room away from other people in your home as much as possible and use a separate bathroom if you have one; and
  • If you are in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least two meters from others and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.

People who are self-isolating, and who do not have symptoms, can continue to go outside for a walk or to a local greenspace; however, I can’t say this enough - they should not gather with others and it is essential they keep 2 metres away from others.  It is important that individuals who are self-isolating have no contact with anyone other than household members. Guidance for residents who are self-isolating is available on our website, as well as information about cleaning your home, personal hygiene, laundry and waste disposal. 

Thank you for continuing to share this information and please visit our website regularly for the latest updates: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus

March 22, 2020 at 2:30pm - Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health
Ottawa Public Health now has laboratory confirmation of community spread of  the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ottawa. Additionally, we are starting to see cases among health-care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case . Based on modelling data, there could now be up to 4,000 undetected cases of COVID-19 in our community.

Because most cases are mild and undetected, Ottawa Public Health is urging everyone to practice social distancing. More information on social distancing for you and your family can be found on our website.

Our efforts are needed as a community. The actions you take will affect not only you but your loved ones and our most vulnerable. While we appreciate that people are thinking of their loved ones, now is not the time to visit them in person. Luckily, we have technology on our side which enables us to communicate in other creative ways like video chats and group phone calls.

Now is also not the time for non-essential excursions. We are working with the City of Ottawa to provide greater clarity on what we consider non-essential vs essential businesses here in Ottawa. People should not visit non-essential businesses including but not limited to clothing retail stores, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, gym and fitness facilities, banquet halls and conference centres.

Many people are returning home from March Break travel and will need groceries and essential items. It is imperative that all returning travellers self-isolate for 14 days, so groceries and essential items should be picked up by a family member or friend, or through on-line ordering options. Visit our website for further guidance on self-isolation. We have been working with the Ottawa International Airport to ensure this is being communicated clearly to returning travellers.

Social distancing is important for everyone at this time, but especially important for members of our older adult community and our most vulnerable. Here are some ways that you and your family can practise social distancing: 

  • Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible 
  • Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives. Use the telephone, video chats or social media to stay connected unless the visit is absolutely essential. 
  • Avoid all non-essential trips in the community 
  • Keep the windows down if you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare 
  • Cancel group gatherings and limit your contact to as few people as possible Hold virtual meetings or get-togethers  
  • Spend time outside and in settings where people can maintain a two-metre (six feet) distance from each other 

Our community partners are working together through the City’s Human Needs Task Force for those requiring assistance. The Good Companions are offering Seniors Centre Without Walls, where seniors can dial in and partake in a virtual centre with activities. The Ottawa Food Bank and community food banks are all working hard to ensure food is still available to those that need it. For more information on how to connect to these wonderful services, residents can call 2-1-1.

Information is changing rapidly and we are working around the clock to provide information to the public as soon as possible. Please continue to share this information and visit our website regularly for the latest updates: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus

March 18, 2020 at 4:30pm - Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health
Dear residents of the City of Ottawa,

The past week has seen a very quick escalation from all levels of government in response to the COVID-19 situation. I want to publicly respond to a few common questions and concerns to help provide clarity on our approach at the local level.

As a reminder, please visit our website OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus for local information about COVID-19, including assessment and testing in Ottawa, self-isolation and social distancing. Due to high call volumes please try to not call unless you have read the website first.

Testing and Assessment

The present goals of testing for COVID-19 are to detect the virus in our community and also limit the spread of the virus. Lab testing helps us estimate cases in the community. For each laboratory-confirmed case related to travel, there is a likelihood that at least an equal number of travel-related cases are undetected. Based on current confirmed cases, whose onset of illness is in the past, there could potentially be anywhere between 200 to 1000 undetected cases in the community now. We do not yet have laboratory-confirmed community spread, though we do see cases giving rise to cases in close contacts. 

With this information, I am communicating to all people in Ottawa that we need to act as if the virus is here, circulating in our community.

The testing isn’t able to track down each case in our community because the mild illness the majority of people experience is not distinguishable from common colds and we cannot test large numbers. Having a COVID-19 test result or not does not change the actions that individuals in the community need to take – if ill with a respiratory illness, stay home – and for all of us, now is the time to limit our interactions with others as much as possible.

The current COVID-19 testing provides a pulse check and helps us make decisions about our next steps to control the spread of COVID-19. It also helps limit spread COVID-19 by the highest risk cases. Self-isolation and social distancing are effective strategies for slowing the spread at the community level.

Check our website to learn more about when to self-isolate and when to go for testing: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus. You do not need a referral from Ottawa Public Health to get tested for COVID-19. At a high level:

If you are a return traveler (including travel to the United States of America) OR have MILD symptoms – you MUST self-isolate. Most people with MILD symptoms will recover at home with no issues. You are helping limit the spread of the virus by staying at home.

For now (this may change), our priority is to test people with escalating symptoms AND travel history within 14 days OR close contact with someone with COVID-19.

We are also prioritizing ruling out COVID-19 in workers, such as health-care workers or Long-Term Care Homes.

In the future, the goals of COVID-19 testing are likely to shift towards being used to limit outbreaks in settings of high risk. The focus of testing would turn to health care and essential workers, hospitalized patients, long-term care homes, correctional facilities and other situations where the result is helpful to direct public health actions.

Social Distancing

Social distancing refers to creating physical distance between ourselves so that we can limit the spread of the virus. Social distancing by all is IMPERATIVE to limit transmission in the community, to protect vulnerable populations and outbreaks in institutions. We must “flatten the curve” so we don’t see spikes in cases. By this, I mean that we want to slow down transmission of the virus and lessen the number of cases in the community that happen at the same time, so that our health system continues to work properly. Having a sharp increase of cases in a small timeframe will overload our healthcare resources and have more severe impacts on our community. Social distancing is important for everyone at this time, but especially important for our older adult community (55+). Do NOT gather in groups of 10 or more. Practice social distancing.

Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Check in with others by phone or other technology. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out to Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if needed.

Case Management and Privacy

We have received many questions from people who feel they are at risk, including many people expressing concern about being in the same location as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have symptoms of COVID-19.

I would like to clarify a few points:

  • Given the transmission of COVID-19, we are all at risk. Social distancing, proper hand hygiene, not touching your face and self-isolation (when directed) are the best ways to reduce your personal risk at this time.
  • A close contact of a case of COVID-19, is someone who has lived with, provided care for, or spent longer periods of time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Case and contact management is a role of public health to help identify who may have been in close contact with a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health will contact you directly if you have been identified as a close contact.
  • OPH works closely with each confirmed case of COVID-19 to create a list of close contacts that require follow-up. If you have been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, follow the advice provided to you by the nurse.
  • If you have not been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, please do not assume that you are a close contact. Continue to take social distancing and other precautions and, if needed based on the guidance on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus, follow self-isolation or testing directions.

Regarding privacy, Ottawa Public Health will not comment about any specifics around an individual case of COVID-19. We encourage others to not pursue this information unless an individual issues their own statement to this effect. Ottawa Public Health will contact you directly if you are a close contact.

The reportable information that we are required to share with the Ministry of Health, and which is on their website:

  • Patient age and gender
  • Transmission (community, travel or close contact)
  • Status (self-isolating, hospitalized, etc.)
  • Fraud concerns

I have been made aware that certain residents have received a phone call asking for credit card information from Ottawa Public Health (OPH). OPH (or any health unit) will not ask you for credit card information. Do not give your credit card information out if you receive a call or message similar to this. Fraudulent activity during a situation like this is deplorable. I encourage you to report it to Ottawa Police Services. 

Gratitude

Thank you to all residents of the City of Ottawa for your ongoing patience and cooperation. We are all in this together, and we need everyone to do their part- whether providing an essential service or staying inside – to be able to slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in our community and protect our health system and loved ones who depend on it.

Dr. Vera Etches

Medical Officer of Health

Ottawa Public Health  

March 16, 2020 at 6:00pm - Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health
On March 16, 2020, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Ministry of Health, has now advised cancelling events or gatherings over 50 people because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also advised the following establishments should close temporarily (until further notice):

  • Recreation programs
  • Libraries
  • Churches and other faith settings
  • In person dine-in restaurants and bars - NOTE: except for food establishments that offer take out and/or delivery services
  • All childcare centres, licensed home childcare and Early ON Child and Family centres

Other establishments also strongly recommended by Ottawa Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, include:

  • Nightclubs and after-hours bars
  • Movie Theatres
  • Concert and indoor live-entertainment venues
March 15, 2020 at 8:15pm - Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health
Following the first travel-related case detected in Ottawa last week, and with increased access to testing through the out-of-hospital COVID-19 Assessment Centre that opened on Friday, we now have 10 confirmed cases in our City. It is likely that there are more undetected travel-related cases that have gone on to cause local transmission of the virus in Ottawa. These cases are related to travel that occurred in the past when travel restrictions and the Federal Government’s advice for all international travelers to self-isolate for 14 days were not in place. Given the estimate that one case is likely to cause about two more, and the doubling time is 4-5 days, there could now be hundreds to even a thousand cases in the community now.

Therefore, I am asking all people in Ottawa to increase their practices of social distancing. This means limiting non-essential trips out of the home and making efforts to maintain a distance of 1 to 2 metres from other people as much as possible. We are asking people to, if possible, keep their children home from daycare and to check with their employers about options for working from home or implementing social distancing at work.

These guidelines are not meant to say “you must stay in your home!”

You can still go outside to take a walk, go to the park, or walk your dog. If you need groceries, go to the store. We simply recommend that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 1 to 2 metres (3-6 feet) from those around you.

I know there will be many questions and significant hardship associated with implementation of these measures. They are necessary to limit COVID-19 transmission in our community.  We each need to do our part to ensure that our healthcare providers have the capacity to provide life saving measures for all, and to care for the most vulnerable people. Social distancing measures can make a huge difference to slow the rapid spread of illness.

While you may not feel sick, please be mindful of the members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. We are all in this together.

The Ottawa Public Health website has been updated with information about social distancing to provide further guidance to the public. Information is changing rapidly and we are working to provide this information to the public as soon as possible. Please continue to share this information. We will share what is happening in our community on our website.

What is the situation in Ontario?

For more information, please visit the Province of Ontario’s response web page.

Declaration of emergency

The Province of Ontario has enacted a declaration of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public. The Province of Ontario has also closed at-risk workplaces and created a list of essential workplaces.

What is the situation in Canada?

For more information on the federal response, please visit this Government of Canada webpage.

Travel advisories

An official global travel advisory is in effect: Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. In addition, a pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice with travel health advice for Canadians has also been issued.

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