Getting a sick note just got easier. As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to be diagnosed across Canada, Ottawa Public Health has created a COVID-19 sick note. The agency’s letter is for those who need time off work due to the virus, and it can be given to employers as an explanation of absence.

As the number of people being diagnosed with COVID-19 continues to increase in Ontario, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has stepped in to assist those who need a medical note.

Anybody with symptoms is currently being encouraged to stay away from their local doctor's surgerical or medical centre, in order to avoid further spreading the virus.

For this reason, OPH has created their own version of a sick note, so that employees aren’t required to leave isolation if they’re feeling unwell.

In an online statement, OPH explained, “We simply can't say this enough: if you are sick, it's imperative that you stay home. We know that this is easier for some than others.”

They added, “For employees, if your employer requires a sick note, please show them this letter from Ottawa Public Health.”

The sick note, which was shared on Twitter, reads, “Dear employer, as the number of travel-related cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise around the world, more guidance has been issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada relating to returning travelers.”

It goes on to say, “We also appreciate your cooperation in excusing your employees from work or accommodating alternative work arrangements.”

The letter explains, "Due to the volume of returning travelers, please treat this letter as a sick note based on the criteria listed above."

The sick note is for anybody who has been diagnosed with the virus, anybody who is experiencing suspected symptoms, or anyone who has recently travelled outside of the country.

It can also be used by those who have been in close contact with people confirmed to have COVID-19, or those who are showing symptoms.

This comes as Ottawa’s number of confirmed cases of the virus reached 10 on Monday.

Over the weekend, the city’s medical officer of health recommended avoiding all non-essential trips out of the house. 

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

More information about the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa can be found on the dedicated OPH webpage.

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