OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health says it’s “just a matter of time” before Ottawa sees its first case of COVID-19 related to travel.

Dr. Vera Etches made the comment while providing an update on the City of Ottawa’s preparations for a possible case of novel coronavirus.

There are currently no cases of the new coronavirus in Ottawa. Eighteen cases have been confirmed in Ontario so far.

“I would say it’s certainly, it’s probably, just a matter of time before we get a case in Ottawa related to travel,” Etches said Monday afternoon.

“What we’re hoping all the measures all around the world are doing is limiting transmission once it gets into a country.”

Etches says over 50 people in Ottawa have been under investigation for possible infection, but there have been no confirmed cases.

Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Mayor Jim Watson said Ottawa Public Health “continues to be in enhanced operations to increase support and share information with residents, community groups and health system partners.”

“There are currently no confirmed cases in Ottawa, but that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down. We still continue to prepare for the potential of a case or more.”

Ottawa Public Health has launched a website for residents to receive up-to-date information on COVID-19 at

Dr. Etches told reporters that Ottawa Public Health is working together with various city departments in case there is transmission of the virus in Ottawa.

The Medical Officer of Health notes there are more cases worldwide, and more people are coming back to Ottawa and Canada from those countries.

“We know that there are more and more countries affected and the number of people returning from those countries is a greater number of people, so we’re continuing to test for the virus when people come back from travels and they have respiratory illness.”

Once again, Ottawa Public Health is reminding people to stock up on supplies in the event someone in their household becomes ill.

“Somebody with an infection with the new virus could be sick for a week or more, do you have the fever medication, do you have the supplies you would need to limit you having to go to the grocery store or pharmacy,” said Dr. Etches.

The Medical Officer of Health adds most of the people infected with COVID-19 should be able to recover without hospital care.