What is the current situation in Ottawa, Ontario — Canada?

(The material is compiled from the sources of Ottawa Public Health, Ontario Government, Public Health Canada and World Health Organization with the link to their web pages)

Introduction to Coronavirus

There are currently no confirmed or presumptive positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ottawa. In Canada, there are 30 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of March 4th, 2020 – 20 in Ontario, 9 in BC and 1 in Quebec.

Every week day at 10:30 a.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.

Background and Origin

On December 31, 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China (Hubei province) was reported to the World Health Organization and the cause has been confirmed as a new coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans.

The current situation is evolving. More information is expected to emerge in the coming days and weeks. New information is becoming available daily and a clearer picture is being formed as this information is analyzed by provincial, national and international health agencies.

Canada’s Government Public Health

Stay up to date on emerging travel health notices from the Government of Canada

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is evolving rapidly. Outbreaks of COVID-19 are being reported throughout the world. Mainland China (including Hong Kong) is  the primary location where COVID-19 infections are spreading. However, other areas such as Iran, Northern Italy, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are now reporting spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Advice to Travellers returning to Ottawa from affected areas

If I recently travelled outside of Canada, when should I contact a doctor, Ottawa Public Health or a health care professional?

Travellers who have returned from Hubei province (China) and Iran should:

  • call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada if they plan on travelling to Ottawa;
  • stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in their home,  for a total of 14 days from the date they left Hubei province or Iran;
  • call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 if they experience symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you have travelled to other affected areas (e.g., mainland China [excluding Hubei province], Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Singapore, South Korea), you may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). For 14 days after the day you left the affected area, the Public Health Agency of Canada asks that you:

  • monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing; and,
  • avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill.

If you start having symptoms, isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible. Immediately call a health care professional or Ottawa Public Health (613-580-6744). Describe your symptoms and travel history. To further protect those around you, wash your hands often and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

You will need to stay home and self-isolate if:

You have a confirmed 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and do not need hospitalization and can receive care at home.

You are being assessed for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection by a healthcare provider.

What is the risk to residents of Ottawa?

The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in Wuhan, China as low for Canada. Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available.

How is Ottawa Public Health monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation?

Ottawa Public Health 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).  Ottawa Public Health has a strong partnership with local hospitals who have put measures in place to screen individuals who are suspected of being infected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Please read signs and follow all instructions when visiting a hospital.

The Ministry of Health has added novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a designated disease reportable under Ontario’s public health legislation. Now, physicians, hospitals and other care facilities will be required to report a suspected or confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to their local Medical Officer of Health.

If a suspected or confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) were to be identified in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health would work with the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario Laboratory, and local hospitals in the management of the case and any contacts.

How can you protect yourself and your family?

To reduce the spread of germs including the flu and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) we recommend that you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands with soap
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
  • If possible, stay home if you are sick
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you are sick
  • It is still recommended to get your flu shot if you haven’t already as the flu virus is still circulating in the community
  • Learn more on how to stop the spread of germs 

 Symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause:

  • very mild to severe illness consisting of fever,
  • and/or cough, other upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and
  • difficulty breathing (shortness of breath).

If your symptoms are MILD

  • Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or your health care provider
  • Call your health care provider or a walk-in clinic prior to visiting them in person

If your symptoms are SEVERE

  • Contact your Health Care Provider first (if available)

If you cannot reach your Health Care Provider,

  • go to the Hospital Emergency Department and pay attention to special signage

Other frequently asked questions – please visit the following link

World Health Organization (WHO): Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority (as above). COVID-19 is still affecting mostly people in China with some outbreaks in other countries. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

1. Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

2, Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

4. Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

6. Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves. 

7. Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

Follow the guidance outlined above.

* Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.

* If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers.

Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.