Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health confirmed Tuesday that on two consecutive weekends there has been a single coronavirus case linked to spread within the community.
“Even though our numbers of COVID-19 are low, that emphasizes the need for us to continue to take a cautious approach,” Dr. Robert Strang said during a Tuesday press briefing.
“We’ll continue to take a cautious approach, we’ll continue to watch the epidemiology close and monitor things throughout June.”
The province announced one new case and one new death on Tuesday.
The death involved a woman in her 70s from the central part of the province with underlying medical conditions.
Strang said she was not a resident of a long-term care home and died a number of weeks ago. He said her death had been under investigation since then to determine if it was actually COVID-19 related or not.
The one new case brings the provincial total to 1,060. Strang said the case was a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 578 Nova Scotia tests on Monday.
Vacation in Nova Scotia, Strang recommends
During Tuesday’s briefing, Strang encouraged Nova Scotians to explore their home province this summer.
“People can go to their cottage, go fishing, private campgrounds are open, June 15 public campgrounds will be open – get outdoors,” he said. “People can ride a bike, go for a hike, we have restaurants open, people can go with people from their household or their household bubble.”
Strang said while you’re doing those activities, it’s important to do so safely.
“Remember about maintaining social distance … careful handwashing, and especially if people are feeling unwell just staying home.”
‘Gold standard’ data coming Wednesday
The province announced Monday it is changing the way it reports COVID-19 cases to ensure the data is coming from a single source.
The announcement came amid confusion over how many active cases there are in the province.
Strang said all of the data will soon be reported to Panorama, the province’s public health reporting system. Updated data on recoveries, patients in hospital and negative test totals will not be available until later this week.
Strang said when COVID-19 entered the province, they knew they had to get information out quickly and used their lab information to do so.
“At the same time we were in the process of finalizing the implementation of … Panorama, but the lab had not yet been integrated into that Panorama system,” he said.
“So because of the time pressures and the workload around dealing with the peak over COVID, we weren’t able to do that integration and because we were using two different data systems, that gave the opportunity for some discrepancies.”
Strang noted Nova Scotia will be the first province in the country to fully integrate all its lab information into the public health electronic information system.
“That is good news,” he said. “It also means Panorama is our single source of data. Starting (Wednesday) we’ll be able to reconcile some of the inconsistencies that people have seen, and starting to produce what I call the gold standard of information.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
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. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.
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