It’s time to find a new series to binge on Netflix. According to the city’s medical officer of health, COVID-19 in Ottawa is likely spreading in the community. For this reason, Dr. Vera Etches is suggesting that locals limit all “non-essential trips” outside of their homes, and avoid crowded areas wherever possible.

Less than one week after Ottawa’s first case of novel coronavirus was diagnosed, residents of the city are being urged to take appropriate caution.

Speaking on Sunday, Dr. Vera Etches suggested that community transmission of the virus was already likely to be taking place in the city.

For this reason, she suggested that locals should stay home wherever possible, noting that all “non-essential” trips out of the house should be postponed or cancelled.

"I recommend that they don't go out for non-essential reasons," Etches said.

This comes as schools are being cancelled, universities are being postponed, and many people are being advised to work from home.

This is a necessary precaution, according to Dr. Etches. In a statement via Ottawa Public Health, she explained, “We each need to do our part to ensure that our healthcare providers have the capacity to provide life-saving measures for all, and to care for the most vulnerable people.”

“Social distancing measures can make a huge difference to slow the rapid spread of illness.”

While practicing social distancing is important, says Etches, this doesn’t mean you must stay at home no matter what.

“You can still go outside to take a walk, go to the park, or walk your dog. If you need groceries, go to the store. We simply recommend that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) from those around you,” she added.

This comes as Ontario confirmed 39 new cases of the virus, bringing the province’s total to 142. 10 of these people are in Ottawa, but all are reported to be in self-isolation.

This comes as the city has announced the closure of all recreation and cultural facilities for the next three weeks.

In addition, the city’s malls are operating on reduced hours, as are some of the city’s supermarkets.

Schools across the capital are also closed until April 4.

After promising during the weekend that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to combatting COVID-19 in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make a follow-up announcement on Monday.

He will speak at a press conference at 1 p.m. EST.

 

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