COVID-19 – Update March 26

Summary:

  • 5 new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia
  • Most of these cases are related to travel or close contact of previously announced cases
  • 1 of the new cases cannot currently be linked to travel or previous cases
  • Public Health is further investigating to determine points of exposure; one possible circumstance was a large social gathering of around 50 people on St. Patrick’s Day this year
  • This indicates a possible case of community spread but is not yet confirmed
  • 73 total cases in Nova Scotia as of today, March 26
  • The number of cases will continue to rise, as many are now returning from March Break, or from wintering abroad
  • Anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia, not just Canada, MUST self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia
  • This is a novel virus, meaning anyone is at risk. Everyone must exercise precaution.
  • Stay home. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid going out to stores except for essential needs.
  • Accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive information can be found athttps://novascotia.ca/coronavirus

Provincial Government:

  • Anyone referred by 811 to a COVID-19 assessment site, WILL be tested for the virus
  • Testing will also begin on patients in hospital where symptoms of COVID-19 is suspected, and where clinically appropriate
  • A maintenance worker at a Halifax transit bus garage in Burnside tested positive for Covid-19; close contacts have been immediately tested, and there’s no indication of broad exposure at the facility
  • This case does not indicate any change to the low level risk of taking the bus as public transit
  • People planning to come to Nova Scotia for social purposes or non-essential travel must stay back in their province
  • Health care workers, transport drivers moving goods and services, people accessing required medical care etc. are exempt from this rule; their travel is an essential need
  • Veterinary services are being added to the Health Protection Act’s essential services list; these services can continue to operate for urgent and emergent care
  • Nova Scotia Government is working with the federal procurement program to secure necessary medical supplies in response to Covid-19
  • Government is also working on a support package to dovetail with the federal government’s $107 billion financial aid plan
  • The following hospitals are now designated for Covid-19 inpatient treatment: the QEII Halifax Infirmary site, Dartmouth General Hospital, Yarmouth Regional Hospital, Cape Breton Regional Hospital, St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, and Colchester East Hants Health Centre.
  • Nova Scotia Power is deferring payments for three months; customers will not be penalized for non-payment of their power bill for 90 days
  • Amendments being made to Nova Scotia Power’s HEAT Fund (a program that helps low-income Nova Scotians pay their energy bills)
  • HEAT application deadline extended indefinitely, and application restriction of every 24 months being waived
  • Meaning customers who applied in 2019 can reapply in 2020
  • NSHA updates
  • 17 primary sites operating to test for COVID-19
  • 6 hospitals have units now designated for COVID-19 inpatient treatment
  • 70% occupancy for these inpatient beds, when normally it’s at 100% occupancy
  • This is because of temporarily limiting services to only urgent care, in order to free up space to treat Covid-19 patients, and streamlining services to other health centres for the time being
  • Adult ICUs now have 50% occupancy
  • QEII lab has greatly expanded their testing capacity; over 400 tests roughly being completed per day whereas just a couple of months ago, that number of tests would have taken two weeks to complete
  • Substantial efforts to enhance mental health and addictions services during this time via virtual care, while reserving face-to-face services for urgent or emergent care
  • IWK updates
  • Have had to reduce most services to only urgent or emergent care
  • Only one support person being allowed for most visits; sometimes none at all depending on the seriousness of the matter
  • Mental health services has largely moved to a virtual platform for the time being
  • IWK Services will continue for patients coming in from neighbouring provinces; they’ll be expedited to get across the border easily

Federal Government:

  • Canadian government strongly opposes US proposal of placing American troops at Canadian-American borders to intercept illegal migrants
  • Canada values its long, un-militarized border with the United States
  • Financial support from federal government’s $107 billion Covid-19 aid package will come through as soon as early April
  • Previous EI relief streams have been combined into one, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) which will provide $2000 a month for four months, for people who are off work and without an income as a result of Covid-19
  • Boost to Canada Child Benefit will be seen in May
  • Supplementing GST credit for low-income Canadians
  • Kirsten Hillman appointed as the new ambassador to the United States
  • Approximately 10,000 Canadians are being tested for Covid-19 daily
  • All non-essential travellers returning to Canada must go into mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days
  • Yesterday, the federal government’s plan to help Canadians, save jobs, and support our economy was adopted by parliament. With more generous measures to help even more Canadians, now valued at $107 billion (up from $82 billion announced last week) to support people and businesses. This includes
    • The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide $2,000 a month, for up to 4 months, to people who are not getting paid as a result of COVID-19. An application portal will launch as quickly as possible, and people should start receiving money within 10 days of applying.
    • Boosting the Canada Child Benefit for families in May.
    • Supplementing the GST Credit, which is sent to low-income Canadians every few months.
    • Six-month, interest-free moratorium on their Canada Student Loans.
  • There is a text message scam going around on the new Emergency Response Benefit. The government’s website is the best place to find reliable information.  Canadians are encouraged to visit canada.ca for more information.
  • The Prime Minister spoke with G20 leaders earlier today. COVID-19 is a global crisis and it demands a global response, to protect people and the economy. This means ensuring public health agencies have the resources they need, working together to develop a vaccine and treatments, expanding Canada’s manufacturing capacity for critical medical equipment, and working to keep the supply chains moving to get that equipment to the people who need it.
  • The Prime Minister also announced the appointment of Kirsten Hillman as the new ambassador to the United States.
  • The federal government will be implementing the Quarantine Act to keep all Canadians safe. This includes a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all Canadians returning home from abroad.

*All Nova Scotians are encouraged to find accurate and up-to-date information at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus.

*The Premier, alongside senior public health officials, will continue hosting regular press conferences to update the general public on the evolving situation. A press conference will take place tomorrow at 3:00PM and will be live-streamed. Everyone is encouraged to tune in via official Nova Scotia Government Channels. These channels include:

  1. https://novascotia.ca/stayinformed/webcast/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/user/nsgov
  3. https://www.facebook.com/nsgov/
  4. https://twitter.com/nsgov


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