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2 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 announced for Ottawa, total up to 16

People leave a COVID-19 assessment centre on Saturday, March 14, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The province has announced two new cases of the novel coronavirus in the Ottawa area, bringing the area’s total up to 16.

The two new cases were found in a man his 40s who had close contact with people who travelled to Spain, Belgium and the Canary Islands, and a woman in her 40s who had recently travelled to Germany and Malta. Both are currently self-isolating.

On Thursday, Ottawa Public Health also announced five new presumptive cases of the virus in the city. In a teleconfrerence call with media Thursday afternoon, Dr. Vera Etches, chief medical officer for Ottawa Public Health, said three of those five have yet to be confirmed, and are still considered “indeterminate.”

Public health officials say they are still awaiting secondary test results to confirm a positive case.

“Please note that it can take up to four to five days to receive final test results,” a statement from Ottawa Public Health said.

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Etches also said that one of those indeterminate patients has been hospitalized. She did not have any information about that person other than noting they recently travelled outside of Canada.

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One person who was previously hospitalized has since been released from hospital, Etches said.

READ MORE: Ontario health minister warns coronavirus poses a challenge for ‘all Ontarians’

 

Wednesday, Etches released a statement, saying she believes there is the possibility for community spread of the virus in the city, despite not having any lab test results to confirm that spread.

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“Based on current confirmed cases, whose onset of illness is in the past, there could potentially be anywhere between 200 to 1,000 undetected cases in the community now.”

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Etches advised that everyone in Ottawa should act as if the virus is circulating within the community.

She said it’s impossible to test for all cases since mild symptoms of the virus mimic those of the common cold, and therefore, residents should be taking precautions to protect themselves and others, especially if they feel ill.

READ MORE: First potential coronavirus-related death reported in Ontario

“Having a COVID-19 test result or not does not change the actions that individuals in the community need to take — if ill with a respiratory illness, stay home — and for all of us, now is the time to limit our interactions with others as much as possible,” Etches urged.

She suggested anyone looking for more information on whether to self-isolate should consult Ottawa Public Health’s website.

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