Good evening community members,
I can appreciate that the recent developments in Ottawa may have heightened the anxiety and worry that many in our community might be feeling. I know there is a lot of information out there and it is important that you have the latest facts at your fingertips. I am reaching out tonight to provide you with the latest updates regarding the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and I encourage everyone to monitor the Ottawa Public Health’s website for the latest information at: www.OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus
What is the city doing?
With now two confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ottawa, the city is now in Active Operations. This means that all city departments and resources will be engaged in the response to the Coronavirus, and the Emergency Operations Centre is being activated to coordinate and support these efforts.
The city will be opening its first COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre at the arena at Brewer Park (the rink) very shortly. When this occurs, information will be available on the Ottawa Public Health website. This will help divert demands on family physician offices, medical clinics, and hospital emergency departments.
What about schools?
Additionally, the Ontario Minister of Education has issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March break. This means that Ontario schools have been ordered to remain closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020. More details are available by clicking here.
Where can I find more credible information?
My office and the City of Ottawa will be sharing information as it becomes available. You can also stay up to date on information by following these credible sources of information:
Ottawa Public Health
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ottawahealth
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ottawahealth/
- Web: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/coronavirus
Ontario Ministry of Health
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ONThealth
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ONThealth/
- Web: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
Health Canada / Public Health Agency of Canada
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/GovCanHealth
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HealthyCdns/
- Web: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Ottawa, has provided a useful video for residents about COVID-19, I encourage you to share this with your neighbours: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R8eFiXq3aE.
Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions I’ve been receiving:
What to do if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19?
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:
- Stay home, self-isolate and contact your manager
- 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
If you have any further questions about COVID-19 you can talk with your health care provider or call 613-580-6744 to speak to an Ottawa public health nurse
How can I help slow the spread of COVID-19?
It is important to remember that coronavirus is spread through droplets, which travel a limited distance before falling to the ground. You can minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19 by:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available
- Avoiding hand-to-face contact, particularly eyes, nose, and mouth, unless you have just washed their hands
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm, not your hands
- Staying home if you are ill
- Maintaining a distance of about two meters or more if you encounter someone who is ill or who appears to be ill
Do you have travel advice?
While the risk to Canadians in their community remains low, it’s important to note that the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. If you’re planning to travel outside Canada, there is specific information on Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 page that should be followed upon your return to protect you, your family and our community. Additionally, you can find the travel notices from the Government of Canada here. If you are experiencing symptoms and have traveled internationally, isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible. Immediately call a health care professional or Ottawa Public Health (613-580-6744).
I have additional questions, who should I contact?
Ottawa Public Health current priority is to hear from:
- Healthcare providers who are seeking or reporting information.
- Residents who have travelled to Hubei province (China), Iran, or Italy.
- Residents who have recently travelled outside of Canada, including the United States of America, and are experiencing symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) such as fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
- Residents who have been in close contact with someone who has recently travelled abroad and are starting to experience symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) such as fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
Ottawa Public Health’s ability to properly manage the COVID-19 situation in our community depends upon being able to speak with those residents described above. It is imperative that they can manage their phone lines accordingly. As such, all other residents with questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 are asked to first read through their web page and, if you do not find your answer, to phone TeleHealth at 1-866-797-0000.
I am an employer. Where can I find more information?
Ottawa Public Health website for workplaces is now live, you can find it here. It covers important information like, how to prepare for COVID-19, considerations for work travel, what to do when returning from work, and other helpful tips for your employees.
Please take care of yourselves, your family and neighbours. When in doubt,
please reach out to your health care provider or Ottawa Public Health.
City Councillor – Kanata North