'Thousands' likely infected with COVID-19 in Ottawa, Etches says
3 new cases confirmed Friday probably just tip of the iceberg: medical officer of health
Ottawa's current tally of 19 confirmed COVID-19 likely represents only a small fraction of the number of residents who have been infected with the illness, Ottawa's top doctor repeated Friday.
On Friday morning, the province confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 in the city, up from 16 on Thursday.
Provincewide, there were 50 new cases Friday, raising the total in Ontario to 308.
"It is a small piece of the picture of the infection in our community," said Ottawa's medical officer of health, Vera Etches
Based on modelling and estimates, Etches said there are now likely "thousands" of cases in the city.
Two of the new cases in Ottawa are men in their 40s who had close contact with another confirmed case, the ministry said. The other is a man in his 80s who had been in Portugal.
Because they're likely only the tip of the iceberg, social distancing and self-isolation are all the more important, health officials say.
In cases where people must self-isolate, such as recent travellers or people feeling sick, Etches reiterated they should not leave the home for any reason, and rely on others to deliver food and medication as needed.
"Consider having family, friends or a neighbour shop for you and leave the supplies at your door," she said.
Delivery services are also an option, Etches said.
All others should practise social distancing, health officials advise.
Etches noted that among the cases in Ottawa, four are over the age of 65 — a demographic particularly at risk for COVID-19 complications.
WATCH: Etches answers listener questions on Friday, March 20
One person with COVID-19 in Ottawa is in hospital but they have not yet required intensive care, Etches said.
Two more cases were reported at CFB Trenton Friday, and one more in the Belleville area outside the military base.
There are now 38 confirmed cases in eastern Ontario, including the cases in Trenton. There are now two confirmed cases in the Outaouais.
Etches said Ottawa Public Health will be making an effort in short order to provide more guidance for businesses staying open during the pandemic, as well as condo and apartment building managers.
Starting next week, associate medical officer of health Brent Moloughney will help Etches keep the public informed on COVID-19 developments in the city.
WATCH: Ottawa Public Health to provide guidance to businesses