OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s top doctor is urging residents and workplaces to prepare for a possible spike in cases of COVID-19.

Ontario confirmed a new positive case of novel coronavirus on Wednesday in Toronto.  

Health officials say on Feb. 14, a woman in her 60s presented herself at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s emergency department with a travel history to Iran. She went into self-isolation after being discharged from hospital.

Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches tells CTV News Ottawa that while Canada is still detecting cases related to travel, the situation could change.

“We envision it could come a time the virus could be transmitting in Canada.”

Dr. Etches adds “we know we have a population that is not immunized, there’s no vaccine, we’re vulnerable and we could see a wave of illness that does potentially overwhelm our health care system.”

Etches is urging Ottawa residents to prepare at home and at work for a possible spike in cases, including stocking up on medications and non-perishable foods.

“If there was a lot of illness in our community, it helps the health care system if we can slow down that transmission of the virus so not everyone is sick at once.”

 Etches adds “for the average person, think about what you can do to plan ahead, to have care plans if your child got sick, if your partner got sick, if you have an older adult in your community who’s isolated, to be thinking about those people who may need support to get through a viral illness.”

Etches adds there is no need to panic about the COVID-19 virus, “this is a chance, an opportunity, to prepare slowly for a time when we might have more respiratory virus in our community.”

Ottawa Public Health is working with its health care partners to make sure hospitals are available for people who are the sickest.

Speaking about the severity of the COVID-19 virus, Etches said “most people with this infection are not severely ill, so it should be possible to help people care for one another in the community, at home and get through this.”