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Top doctor says we must continue practicing COVID-19 measures as Omicron enters Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health says the city is working with the province to monitor any other variants of concern, including the Delta variant.
2020-09-21 dr. vera etches CK2
Ottawa Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches speaks outside of the Chateau Laurier, September 2020. Chris Kurys/

On Sunday, provincial health officials confirmed two cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Ottawa. 

It was confirmed that both individuals who tested positive for the variant had recently returned from Nigeria and have since been asked to self-isolate by Ottawa Public Health (OPH). 

OPH has also conducted contact tracing and contact management for those individuals. 

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches issued a statement Sunday, November 28, saying that while this is not a new virus, she encourages people to continue practicing COVID-19 measures such as social distancing, mask wearing and considering the vaccination status of those attending social gatherings. 

OPH recommends that, in order to reduce the transmission of the new variant, individuals who have travelled to regions in southern Africa self isolate (even if they're fully vaccinated) within 14 days before arriving in Ottawa. 

They're also asked to get tested as soon as possible and isolate from household members in a separate room or an isolation centre until a negative test result is received. 

Dr. Etches adds, in the coming days there could be an increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 because of transmission of the Omicron variant.

She also recommends that anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not wait a day or two for symptoms to subside, but rather get tested as soon as possible. 

An update is expected from city health officials at Ottawa's Board of Health meeting, Monday evening. 

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