This newsletter contains the following information related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation:
- Most recent recommendations for the general public from Ottawa Public Health
- What to do if you have recently been outside of Canada
- Impacts to municipal services, including cancellations for upcoming public meetings
- Further information
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is following the lead of the Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, and the Public Health Agency of Canada in responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa Ottawa Public Health is now recommending that all residents of Ottawa practice social distancing.
Currently, there are 13 confirmed cases in Ottawa. These cases are related to past international travel (prior to restrictions and self-isolation instructions) and it is likely that there will be community transmission.
If you are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, OPH will contact you directly with further instructions. If you are not contacted directly by OPH, there is no reason for heightened alarm. Members of the general public should follow the recommendations of social distancing.
Social distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Social distancing includes, but is not limited to:
- Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible.
- Avoid sending children to daycare, if you are able to.
- Avoiding visits to Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, Supportive Housing, Hospices and other congregate care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential.
- Avoiding non-essential trips in the community.
- If you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare, be sure to keep the windows down.
- If possible, limit or consider cancelling group gatherings.
- If you have meetings planned, consider doing them virtually instead of in person.
- Whenever possible, spend time outside and in settings where people can maintain a 1-2 metre (3-6 feet) distance from each other.
Please note: that these guidelines are not meant to say “you must stay in your home!”
You can still go outside to take a walk. If you need groceries, go to the store. While outside, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) from those around you.
Remember: While you may not feel sick, and while we know these measures are an inconvenience, please be mindful of the members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. We are all in this together. Effective social distancing is essential to limit the rapid spread of illness and ensure proper care for those who are infected.
This disruption will be difficult. It must be done right. It will not last forever.
It’s OK to NOT be Ok. These are uncertain times and for most of us, this is an unprecedented situation. We can control what we can, be flexible with everything else and act with compassion towards one another.
Please know that help is available if you need it, reach out to Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311.
What to do if you have recently been outside of Canada
Even if you do not have symptoms, it is recommended to self-isolate for 14 days if you have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).
During this period, you should monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
All City recreation and cultural facilities and Ottawa Public Library branches are closed starting today, Monday, March 16, until further notice. This includes recreation complexes, community centers, arenas, swimming pools, theatres and museums are closed. Rental fees will be refunded automatically.
All Active Ottawa Actif fitness memberships will be extended automatically for the duration the facility is closed, beginning Monday, March 16.
City programs, including March break camps and fitness classes, are cancelled. Program fees will be refunded automatically.
Performances at the Shenkman and Meridian Theatres are cancelled.
Ottawa City Hall, Client Service Centres and City-run daycares, with increased COVID-19 screening for children, remain open.
There are no impacts to OC Transpo services at this time.
I continue to be at your service by phone and email. Both my offices (City Hall and Ray Friel) will be closed to the public starting Monday, March 16th.
The first round of public consultations for the City of Ottawa Ward Boundary Review, scheduled for March 26th at the Shenkman Arts Centre has been cancelled. Please provide your comments online using the Engage Ottawa platform.
The Stage 2 LRT Public Information Session scheduled for April 6th at Community Pentecostal Church has been cancelled. Details regarding rescheduling/alternatives will be shared as they become available. To learn more about the Stage 2 project, including how to contact the project team, please visit their website.
For more information on impacts to municipal services please visit the City of Ottawa website.
For further information, including what to do if you are sick please visit the OPH website. Their website will be updated as required by new information. This is the best source of information for residents.
The Ministry of Health information page is updated twice daily. Their page includes information related to the status of cases in Ontario.
The Government of Canada coronavirus outbreak update page should be consulted for information such as the current status of cases in Canada and travel advice.