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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.

READ MORE: Ontario confirms 412 active coronavirus cases, 6 people dead and 8 cases resolved

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

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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.

There were 412 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario as of Sunday evening, according to data released by the Ontario government. In total, five people have died from COVID-19 in the province and eight cases have been resolved.