HALIFAX: As of today, March 21, Nova Scotia has nine confirmed cases and 12 presumptive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 21.
Six new cases were identified Friday, March 20. All are travel-related. The original hospitalized case has been released and is recovering at home. One of the other confirmed cases is hospitalized.
The cases are located across the province. The 21 individuals affected range in age from late-teens to mid-70’s.
Public health has been in contact with these individuals and are working to identify others who may have come in close contact with them. Those individuals are also being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
“This is an unprecedented time for all of us and I want to thank Nova Scotians for their cooperation given the disruption to all of our daily lives,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “If we follow public health advice, support our neighbors, friends and family, and do our part, we will slow the spread of this virus in our province.”
The province is testing daily, working with partners at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. To date, Nova Scotia has 1,826 negative test results, 12 presumptive positive cases and nine confirmed cases.
“This is just the beginning for Nova Scotia and we all need to stay vigilant, practise good hygiene and social distancing, and self-isolate for 14 days if you have travelled outside Canada or are feeling unwell,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “The prevention measures we’ve put in place can work and there is still time for our actions to influence the impact that COVID-19 has on Nova Scotia.”
As of today, dentists can no longer practice dentistry in their offices unless they deem it necessary to perform an emergency dental procedure in the best interest of the patient’s health. This is an order under the Health Protection Act.
In addition to prevention measures put in place by government and the chief medical officer of health, the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre have taken steps to ensure the health system is ready to respond to COVID-19, including:
— making changes to non-essential services so staff are available to focus on COVID-19 and essential services, such as cancer care
— providing options for virtual care and telehealth care so doctors and other health-care providers can reduce face-to-face visits but also help patients regardless of where they are
— restricting visitors to protect the vulnerable patients in our hospitals
— providing support to public health as they give advice on measures to slow down the spread of the virus
— ensuring facilities are well-prepared to meet the health-care needs of Nova Scotians during a pandemic
— opening new assessment centres to meet the need for assessments (there are now 14 centres around the province)
Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia. If you have been in close contact with someone who has travelled and are experiencing fever (above 38 C) and/or new cough you should complete the online questionnaire before calling 811. The online questionnaire can be found at: https://811.novascotia.ca/
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .
“Our teams are working very hard to maintain essential services and deliver safe and supportive care in a challenging environment. The difficult decisions that we’ve made to reduce services and limit access to our facilities will help ensure we can continue to provide the most urgently needed care and create capacity in the system for Nova Scotians needing care related to COVID-19, while protecting the health and wellness of our staff and physicians.”
– Dr. Brendan Carr, president and CEO, Nova Scotia Health Authority
“We had to reduce the number of people who enter the health centre, which was a difficult decision for us to make as we pride ourselves on being patient and family centred. This decision and others are important as we decrease foot traffic and support social distancing in facilities, like the IWK, to keep patients, their families and our staff safe.”
– Dr. Krista Jangaard, president and CEO, IWK Health Centre
— testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to give advice to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19
The Public Health Agency of Canada maintains a list of affected areas: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/covid-19-affected-areas-list.html
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397
Nova Scotia Health Authority: http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus