Nova Scotia sees another record spike in coronavirus cases

Nova Scotia sees another record spike in COVID-19 cases

Nova Scotia announced 32 new cases of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 342.

This is the biggest one-day spike in cases Nova Scotia has seen so far.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia announces 1st COVID-19 death as case total surpasses 300

Of the 32 cases announced, 27 were identified in the central zone, three in the eastern zone and two in the northern zone. The total breakdown of where cases have been identified in Nova Scotia is as follows:

  • Central zone: 235
  • Western zone: 42
  • Eastern zone: 33
  • Northern zone: 32

Of all the cases in Nova Scotia, 47 per cent involve male patients and 53 per cent involve female patients.

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There are 265 active COVID-19 cases in the province, as 77 patients have now recovered and the cases are considered resolved. In 11 cases, the patients are in hospital.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed more than 700 tests on Tuesday and is now operating 24 hours a day. To date, 11,346 tests have come back negative.

COVID-19 screening expanded

A day after removing travel history as one of the requirements to receive a COVID-19 test, the province has expanded the list of screening symptoms.

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You can now receive a test if you have two or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • New or worsening cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache

Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief public health officer, says you should visit the 811 website and fill out the online screening before calling 811. If you don’t have online access, you can still call 811.

Call 811, not 911

Speaking at Wednesday’s press briefing, Strang said 911 is still getting calls from members of the public saying they have COVID-19 symptoms.

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He says it’s “concerning” that people think they will get faster medical attention by calling police instead of health officials.

“That has to stop,” Strang said. “Saying you have COVID will not assure you in way that you’re going to get faster attention.”

‘For crying out loud, just do it’ Nova Scotia premier urges social distancing
‘For crying out loud, just do it’ Nova Scotia premier urges social distancing

Strang added that it also causes unnecessary anxiety to EHS crews.

“It’s a waste of resources of precious personal protective equipment in our health-care system,” said Strang. “Please public, I know the vast majority of you do, but … we need to act responsibly.”

Woman who died from COVID-19 initially tested negative

It was revealed during Wednesday’s press briefing that the Nova Scotia woman in her 70s who died from COVID-19 earlier this week initially tested negative for the virus.

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Strang says the test was repeated because there was a change in the woman’s status. That test came back positive.

READ MORE: Long-term care directives announced as Nova Scotia nears 300 COVID-19 cases

Strang said there are medical reasons why an initial test may come back negative.

“If they’re very early on in the disease, they may have what we call a very low viral load,” Strang said, “so not a lot of virus in their upper airway in their nose and throat from.”

He said another reason is when the disease is deep in an individual’s lungs, it may not yet be in their nose in throat.

As a result of the woman’s test coming back negative, Strang says a new Nova Scotia Health Authority directive is being implemented. He said anyone with a potential respiratory illness now must under COVID-19 precautions, even if an initial test comes back negative.

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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.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.