OTTAWA -- With health officials warning it’s only a matter of time before Ottawa sees its first case of COVID-19, hospitals are making sure they’re prepared.

“We’re looking at our supply system, we’re looking at our bed compliments, we’re ensuring that we’re ready and we are,” said Colette Ouellet, the director of infection prevention and control at the Queensway Carleton Hospital.

Supply rooms at the QCH are stocked with a number of items including masks and gloves. Extra equipment is also ready should an influx of cases occur.

“As with many infectious diseases we have to maintain a great deal of respect for these organisms, we have to try to understand them by watching how they spread in other countries,” Ouellet said. “We’ve got the strong ability to have a courtside seat to what’s going on elsewhere and can really see what’s happening so how do we need to prepare, what do we need to do?”

The hospital is also screening patients with symptoms even if they haven’t travelled to an affected country.

Ouellet says the same precuations as the flu apply with COVID-19: wash your hands and stay home if you're sick.

“We face this every year so this isn’t substantially different. What’s different is the numbers that will become ill,” Ouellet said.

The majority of COVID-19 cases don’t require hospitalization. If you think you have symptoms, you’re asked to call Ottawa Public Health before coming to the hospital.

“We want to make sure that those people who are not acutely ill are looked after, have information but are not all coming to the hospital because most of the people won’t require that,” Ouellet said. “The hospital, although it’s stressed and to capacity all the time, is looking at what we’re able to do to ensure that those who require the care get the care that they need.”