Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health says it won’t be long until a map will be online that outlines where cases of the novel coronavirus are in the province.
At Tuesday’s press briefing, Dr. Robert Strang said the map will show the four health zones of Nova Scotia and numbers of cases that are in each health zone.
“We didn’t want to do that until we had at least five cases in each of those zones,” Strang said. “That’s a standard epidemiologic principle that you don’t talk about less than five cases.”
He said there have been technical issues with getting the map on the government website, but it’s coming soon.
The province announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing Nova Scotia’s total to 147. Five additional cases were announced Monday.
Four individuals are currently in hospital and 10 have now recovered.
One case of community spread has been confirmed.
4 health authority employees test positive
Four Nova Scotia Health Authority employees have tested positive for COVID-19, three of which, Dr. Strang said, are cases public health officials are already aware of.
The NSHA says none of the staff who are sick work in the long-term care sector, and none work directly with patients.
On Monday, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) confirmed that one of its members, an NSHA staff member at the East Coast Forensic Hospital, has tested positive.
NSGEU president Jason MacLean said that the individual did not work directly with patients at the facility.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority isn’t providing details about what roles or facilities the employees worked in, but said Monday that three are in the central zone, which includes Halifax, while the fourth is in the eastern zone, which includes Cape Breton, Antigonish, and Guysborough.
The four employees are in self-isolation, along with their close contacts. The NSHA has not said how many close contacts are away from work awaiting tests.
A spokesperson for the NSHA said in an email that public health may name the facility where a sick staff member works, if a patient had close contact with an affected employee at that facility.
Beware of COVID-19 misinformation, Strang warns
Strang warned the public to be cognizant of where they are getting their information relating to COVID-19.
He said there are “unscrupulous people” providing misinformation about the virus, including products that “boost your immune system” or “cure you from COVID-19.”
“This information is wrong and it is dangerous,” he said. “We know there is a lot of research underway – legitimate research – that people here in Nova Scotia are involved in, around looking for developing a vaccine, around looking at existing medications or creating new medications to actually be able to cure COVID-19.
READ MORE: Nova Scotia schools to be closed until May 1
Strang also warned of phone and email scams offering to sell gloves and face masks.
“We have no idea of the quality of that equipment, whether it actually is safe and effective to use,” he said.
“Don’t be taken in by these people who are preying on your concerns and your fears.”
Correction: A previous version of this story said that Dr. Strang identified three of the NSHA staff who tested positive as workers in long-term care homes, but the NSHA has issued a clarification, saying that none of the staff who are sick work in the long-term care sector.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
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. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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