Nova Scotia has reported three more deaths connected to the novel coronavirus at Northwood Manor, bringing the total number of deaths at the facility to 21 and the provincial total to 27.
“Three more families are grieving losses in our province today and my heart goes out to them at this incredibly difficult time,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in a statement.
“We are working with our partners to ensure Northwood has the support they need to try to stop this virus.”
The province also announced there are now 218 residents in Nova Scotia long-term care homes who have tested positive, up 20 from Monday.
15 new cases, 915 total
The province announced 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 915.
Of the 915 cases, 366 are active. There were 367 active cases on Monday.
All of the new cases were identified in Nova Scotia’s central health zone. Here is a breakdown of where all of the province’s COVID-19 cases have been identified by health zone:
- Central: 772
- Western: 54
- Eastern: 50
- Northern: 39
There are 12 patients in hospital, three of which are in an intensive care unit.
Sixty-one per cent of the cases involve female patients while 39 per cent are male.
The age group most impacted by COVID-19 in Nova Scotia is those between 40 and 59.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 483 Nova Scotia tests on Monday. In total, 26,902 tests have come back negative in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, said at the daily press briefing that the lab has a very strong testing capacity and is looking at other way to enhance their testing.
He also advised people who have two or more of the common coronavirus symptoms, which include a fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat and a worsening cough to do the online assessment or to call 811.
“We want to test you as part of our ongoing work…It’s critical of our COVID-19 response.”
More than half have recovered
While there continue to be new cases in Nova Scotia everyday, Dr. Strang says it’s also important to highlight the good news. 522 cases are considered to be recovered, more than half of the total cases. He says there is also some indication we may have hit our peak last week.
“We have to watch that very carefully though, a peak may not be one defined distinct piece a peak can be jagged with some ups and downs and can go on for a period of time,” said Strang.
But there are still clusters, including the outbreak at Northwood. Long-term care facilities is one of the main concerns in the province, but even at Northwood which has the largest outbreak in the province, the majority of people are recovering.
Already 7 individuals have recovered and temporarily moved out of Northwood, it’s expected that number will rise to about 50 by the end of the week.
Most other facilities are dealing with only a few cases and some facilities are almost able to consider the outreak over.
“Once we have declared an outbreak it takes 28 days of no cases before we can officially say the outbreak is over,” said Strang.
Even though there is some optimism with the latest numbers, Dr. Strang says it is still much too early to consider lifting any restrictions, he says the most important things are to continue to socially distance, not gather in groups, and practice good hygiene by frequently washing hands, and not touching your face. Dr. Strang says these are key things that will be required still for months to come.
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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