Data suggests there could be up to 4K undiagnosed coronavirus cases in Ottawa: public health

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Ottawa’s medical officer of health is stressing the importance of social and physical distancing as she says coronavirus modelling data suggests there could be up to 4,000 undetected cases of COVID-19 in the city.

Dr. Vera Etches issued a statement on Sunday and said there is evidence of community spread of COVID-19.

“We are starting to see cases among health-care workers who have not travelled or been a close contact of a confirmed case,” she wrote.

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“Our efforts are needed as a community. The actions you take will affect not only you, but your loved ones and our most vulnerable.”

Etches said public health staff are working with City of Ottawa officials to further determine what businesses should be considered essential.

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“Now is also not the time for non-essential excursions,” she said while encouraging people to refrain from visiting places like salons, clothing stores, tattoo parlours, gyms, banquet halls and conference centres.

READ MORE: Ontario’s DriveTest centres closing due to COVID-19 outbreak

As people are returning back from March Break travel, Etches also urged travellers to self-isolate for 14 days. Recognizing they may need groceries and essential items, she asked them to seek out friends and family to help with those tasks or to order from a business with online delivery.

As of Sunday morning, Ottawa Public Health said there were 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city.

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