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 practise 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