COVID-19 update: A first case and call for calm

Ottawa has its first confirmed case of COVID-19: a man in his 40s who lives in Ottawa but recently travelled to Austria.

He is currently in self-isolation at home with mild symptoms.

Medical officials are checking in on a few people who are closest to him and continue to monitor for other cases of COVID-19 in the community.

To reduce the spread of germs including the flu and the novel coronavirus Ottawa Public Health recommends 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 cleaned your hands
  • 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

While the situation here in Ottawa remains much, much better than it is elsewhere, the confirmation of Ottawa’s first case and the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic surely has some people spooked.

City officials are urging calm. And no one is yet suggesting mass-scale changes to behaviour, event cancellations, and the like.

For the latest information, you can check these sites:

Last word to Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches:

“I want to assure residents of Ottawa that we have been preparing for the presence of COVID-19 in Ottawa and continue to work in close collaboration with our healthcare partners locally, provincially and federally. I urge residents to follow Ottawa Public Health’s recommendations to help reduce the spread of all types of germs that are present in our community.”

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