Coronavirus: 3 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ottawa, bringing total up to 13

Community transmission of the virus in Ottawa is likely, according to the city's chief medical officer of health. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

The Ontario government has confirmed Ottawa has three new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

According to the province, all three are currently self-isolating.

That puts the total number of cases in Ottawa up to 13 as of the morning of Monday, March 16.

READ MORE: COVID cases in Canada tracker: How many new cases of COVID-19 today?

On Sunday, the city announced five new cases in Ottawa — the biggest jump since the outbreak arrived in the nation’s capital.

Also on Sunday, Ottawa’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Vera Etches, announced there was more than likely “local transmission of the virus in Ottawa.”

Etches said this was likely due to a previous lack of self-isolation restrictions following travel.

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“Given the estimate that one case is likely to cause about two more and the doubling time is four to five days, there could now be hundreds to even a thousand cases in the community now,” Etches said in a statement on Sunday.

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She then encouraged residents to halt “non-essential trips” outside of the home and make an effort to maintain a one- to two-metre distance from others while out in public.

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“We are asking people to, if possible, keep their children home from daycare and to check with their employers about options for working from home or implementing social distancing at work,” Etches said.

Despite these recommendations, Etches is not encouraging people not to leave their homes at all. Residents should still take walks outside and go to the grocery store, but she recommended that people avoid crowded areas and also distance themselves from others.

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The announcement of the three new Ottawa cases came in tandem with the announcement of 32 new cases in the province, bringing Ontario’s total to 172 by Monday morning.

READ MORE: Latest updates — Coronavirus in Canada

Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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— With files from Global News’ Ryan Rocca

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