A man in his 80s from the Halifax Regional Municipality has been identified by the province as the third person in Nova Scotia to die from the novel coronavirus.
The province said the man died on Monday.
“On behalf of all Nova Scotians, I want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences,” Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said at a press briefing Monday. “I want you know that we as a province are grieving with you.”
The province announced two deaths related to COVID-19 last week at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, a woman in her 70s and another in her 90s.
Both had underlying medical conditions.
29 new cases, 474 total
The province identified 29 new cases on Sunday after completing 947 tests, bringing Nova Scotia’s total to 474.
Of the 29 new cases, 26 were identified in the central region, two in the eastern region, and one in the western region.
The total breakdown of where cases have been identified in Nova Scotia is as follows:
- Central zone: 354
- Western zone: 46
- Eastern zone: 40
- Northern zone: 34
There are now nine patients in hospital, with four in an intensive care unit.
Forty-eight per cent of cases involve male patients and 52 per cent involve female patients.
Travel has been removed as a screening requirement to get a COVID-19 test. Now, if you have two or more of the following symptoms, you’re able to get a COVID-19 test.
- new or worsening cough
- runny nose
- sore throat
To date, Nova Scotia has 15,580 negative test results.
Latest COVID-19 numbers a sign of good news: Strang
Speaking at Monday’s press briefing, chief public health officer Dr. Robert Strang said the slight increase in COVID-19 case numbers shouldn’t be something to worry about.
Strang said with the increase in testing to 800 to 1,000 a day, public health officials expected that number to go up.
“I see that actually as a sign of some good news … The percentage of people testing positive remains at about two per cent.
“We’ve expanded our testing, we’re testing lots of people with symptoms that could be COVID-19, but the vast majority don’t have COVID-19. That tells be that our process around broadening our testing is working.”
Strang added that while the number of cases has increased to around 30 they don’t continue to climb, which he said gives him some encouragement.
“The fact that we seem to be at a plateau of around 30 tests a day coming in, new cases, is a sign that what we’re doing … is having a substantive impact.”
But Strang said the encouraging signs shouldn’t be a reason to “take our foot off the gas.”
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “We have a few tough weeks ahead.”
‘Robust’ response underway to address North Preston outbreak
Strang said a rapid cross-government response is underway to get a handle on the outbreak in North Preston, which is having a “significant impact” on the community.
“Make no mistake, this community is very important to the premier and I,” Strang said. “It’s a critical part of our COVID-19 response.”
Last week, Strang announced that temporary assessment centres in eastern Dartmouth, as well as communities in East Hants due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
On Monday, Strang said public health is working with the community and local leaders to address the “long-standing challenges” in North Preston, including financial and housing concerns.
More masks for front-line health-care workers
Premier Stephen McNeil said the process of distributing surgical masks to front-line workers at every Nova Scotia long-term care home began over the weekend.
Effective Tuesday, McNeil said masks will be distributed to all front-line workers in residential and continuing care facilities, as well as home care workers.
“We are feeling confident about our current supply that we have on order,” McNeil said. “Masks are in demand around the world, but we are in constant contact with our suppliers and have every reason to believe these orders will come in.”
McNeil also apologized to front-line health-care workers feeling anxiety around use of masks.
“If we contributed to that anxiety, I am sorry,” McNeil continued. “I wanted to ensure that we had a handle on our procurement.”
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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