Nova Scotians urged to ‘tighten up’ as potential COVID-19 exposures, cases increase

Click to play video: 'Infectious disease expert advises Nova Scotians on avoiding lockdown'
Infectious disease expert advises Nova Scotians on avoiding lockdown
WATCH: With the increase in cases in Nova Scotia, especially in the Halifax area, there is increasing concern about what we can do to protect the Atlantic bubble. One infectious disease expert says we can turn that around, and avoid a lockdown, if we take action now. Alexa MacLean has more – Nov 16, 2020

With the list of potential COVID-19 exposures continuing to increase throughout the Central Zone, Dr. Lisa Barrett says it’s time for Nova Scotians to reduce their number of interactions outside of their close contacts

“Keeping our social, non-essential, activity down. Right now, super important — you’ve got to do some planning and take away some of the non-essential things that we’ve been doing,” said Barrett, a clinician scientist with expertise in infectious disease.

From coffee shops to grocery stores and restaurants, the risk of virus transmission continues to grow in places where people are gathering.

Barrett says the three key factors in reducing transmission are handwashing, distancing and mask-wearing. However, she adds that if people don’t reduce the number of people they’re interacting with due to an increasing number of cases, those safety measures quickly lose their effectiveness.

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“If you also have about 15 to 20 non-essential contacts every work week, they all have a number of people around them and then suddenly one case turns into 50 very, very quickly. This virus spreads when you’re asymptomatic, you don’t even know it,” she says.

The Local Bar and Restaurant
Anyone who was at The Local Bar and Restaurant on November 9 between 4 p.m. and close is asked by Public Health to contact 811 to schedule a COVID-19 test. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

Some Nova Scotians, including Trailer Park Boys actress Sarah Dunsworth-Nickerson, are choosing not to wait for the possible reinstatement of restrictions to scale back their daily activities and exposures.

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“We have to tighten up again and if the government isn’t going to tell us to do that, I think we all have a responsibility to each other to just try and be as aware as we were back in March because it can rise so quickly. I mean we’ve seen it everywhere else,” Dunsworth-Nickerson said.

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Paul MacKinnon with the Downtown Halifax Business Commission says people should consider spreading out their time spent in restaurants and bars over days that are less busy.

“It’s busy on Saturday nights, it’s busy on Friday nights, it’s not so busy in restaurants on Monday nights, Tuesday nights, or Wednesday afternoons,” MacKinnon said.

He’s also urging people to ramp up their personal public health measures before heading out to support the local economy.

“We’re really encouraging personal responsibility. Obviously, if you have symptoms, or you’re concerned, you shouldn’t be going out. Everyone should have the COVID app on their phone,” MacKinnon said.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Nova Scotia launches COVID-19 testing online booking tool, reports 2 new cases'
Coronavirus: Nova Scotia launches COVID-19 testing online booking tool, reports 2 new cases

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