First death attributed to COVID-19 in Ottawa

OTTAWA – COVID-19 has claimed its first fatality in Ottawa today (March 25).

“Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has been notified of a death related to COVID-19,” city staff released in a statement shortly after 6 p.m. “The individual, a man in his 90s, was living at home. He had no travel history. He developed a fever on March 15. He was seen in the emergency department of The Ottawa Hospital and admitted on March 20 and died on March 25.”

As with other people diagnosed with COVID-19, OPH will not be discussing any further details in order to protect personal health information.

“Today is a very sad day for us and especially the family and loved ones of the man who passed away,” OPH medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said. “We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the individual who died today. I’m asking everyone again to make every effort and take every opportunity to practice physical (social distancing). Please stay home, stay safe and take care of each other.”

First and foremost, I would like to offer my most sincere condolences to the family of the resident who has passed away today,” Mayor Jim Watson said. “This is Ottawa’s first death related to COVID-19, and my thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased. Although most residents are making efforts to flatten the curve, this serves as a sad and important reminder to us all of the severity of the situation we are facing. I encourage residents to continue to wash their hands regularly, to respect social distancing guidelines, limit trips outside the house to essential ones, and to check in virtually on family, friends and neighbours. We must all do our part to help save lives in our community.”

As of 9:30 a.m. today, OPH is investigating 43 confirmed or indeterminate COVID-19 cases in Ottawa. 

“OPH is actively following up with these individuals and their close contacts,” staff said. “With more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ottawa, including confirmation of community spread, we are urging that everyone either practice physical (social) distancing or self-isolate if applicable.”

For individuals with respiratory symptoms (such as fever, cough)
  • You must self-isolate for 14 days, or 24 hours after symptoms have FULLY resolved, whichever is longer
  • You must not leave your home if you have respiratory symptoms
  • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, please visit your nearest emergency department
For individuals who are returning from travel
  • You must self-isolate for 14 days. Do not go to community settings including the grocery store. If you need groceries or other essential items, have a family member, friend or neighbour do this for you and leave items at the door.
  • If you have respiratory symptoms, follow guidance in the section above
For all Ottawa residents (except those listed above)
  • Practice physical (social) distancing –Avoid all non-essential trips in the community
  • Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick or have travelled within the past 14 days.
  • Cancel all group gatherings
  • Connect via phone, video chat or social media instead of in person
  • Talk to your employer about working from home (if possible)
  • Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
  • Keep windows down for essential community trips via taxi or rideshares
  • You can go outside (for example – to take a walk). While outside, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. 

For more information on testing and care for COVID-19, and how to practice physical (social) distancing, visit our website:

Ottawa Public Health continues to work closely with local hospitals, health care partners, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and national partners to monitor and detect any cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-1