The Nova Scotia government announced Sunday that the province has three presumptive cases of COVID-19, all of which are related to travel.
Premier Stephen McNeil, Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, and deputy chief medical officer of health Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, provided an update on the cases at a conference in Halifax on Sunday.
Dr. Robert Strang said the three cases include a woman aged 61 from Kings County who recently came from Australia, a 50-year-old man who resides in the HRM area and has travelled to the U.S. and the the third case involves a man in his 30s who was travelling extensively through Europe and is currently managing his symptoms in the HRM area.
The individuals returned from their travels between March 8 and 13.
Strang also noted that the three cases are not related to one another. Moreover, there had been a small number of people who had come into contact with the people infected.
“The individuals have been notified and are in self-isolation,” stated the government in a press release.
Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed said that all three cases are managing their symptoms at home and are recovering.
“For the most part their families are in good health and we are continuing to get more information.” said Watson-Creed.
Premier Stephen McNeil also announced that schools and daycares will remain closed after March break for two weeks. March break camps will also be cancelled.
“We are announcing this so that parents can look for child care in the coming weeks. Parents must look for alternatives,” said McNeil.
Moreover, long-term care centers will be closed for visits until further notice.
Casinos will be closed and the premier is recommending that bars keep tables apart.
The premier is also encouraging people to work from home if they can.
During this time, the province recommends that anyone who travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate even if symptom-free.
Organizations and businesses must also practice social distancing of two metres or six feet and keep gatherings below 150 or much smaller if possible. This applies to restaurants, bars, movie theatres and other gathering spots.
Starting Monday, the premier said that public health inspectors will also be on site at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport and the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport to help assess travellers and provide information.
“Work is ongoing with federal partners responsible for border security to strengthen the screening process,” the government stated in a press release.
As well, both airports now have information on digital screens in all areas frequented by travellers.
At the end of the press briefing, Premier Stephen McNeil shared a message to leaders of union organizations and political parties, calling for greater unity.
“Everyone competing for airtime is not helpful, everyone thinking that they have the right ideas are not helpful. We need to rely on public health,” said McNeil.
He said the protective measures that the government is taking is all based on public health, which looks at best practices across communities.
“So there’s a lot of talk about the N95 masks. We have unions telling workers they need that, but the World Health Organization has said no,” McNeil said. “That’s not helpful to set confusion among our employees.”
The premier said this should be a time to “let the science and evidence speak to itself.”
“I encourage everyone whether you lead a political party or whether you lead an organization that represent workers across the province: speak to public health.”
Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk for Canadians is low.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
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