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N.S. reports 2 more deaths at Northwood, only 1 new case of COVID-19
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil provides an update on COVID-19 during a news conference in Halifax on May 8, 2020.
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting two more deaths related to COVID-19 and only one new case of the virus.
Both deaths occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.
To date, there have been 46 COVID-19 deaths in the province. Forty of those deaths have been at Northwood.
“This continues to be a difficult time in our province and so emotional. The last 48 hours we have lost five more of our most vulnerable residents due to COVID at Northwood,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil during a news conference on Friday.
“To their families, I’m very sorry. All Nova Scotians continue to hold Northwood residents and staff into their thoughts. Our health partners stand with Northwood as we continue to support them in their fight against COVID.”
Eleven long-term care and seniors’ facilities have been affected by COVID-19, but only two facilities have active cases of the virus at this time, and all but one of the active cases are at Northwood.
On Friday, Northwood was reporting a total of 324 confirmed cases of the virus, involving 229 residents and 95 employees.
As of Friday, 33 Northwood residents had recovered from COVID-19, with 156 active cases remaining.
Of the 95 employees with COVID-19, 49 have recovered.
One other long-term care facility, which has not been named, has one staff member with an active case of COVID-19.
Only 1 new case of COVID-19
The province is reporting only one new case of COVID-19 at this time, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,008.
“I know it’s hard to hear about new cases every day but you are helping to conquer COVID,” said McNeil.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 840 tests on Thursday.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, noted that, while it’s reassuring to see only one new case out of 840 tests, Nova Scotians should continue to follow the public health measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
“While it’s good news that our case count is low, it is too early to relax,” said Strang. “We need to continue to pay attention to COVID-19 and remain vigilant.”
To date, Nova Scotia has 32,835 negative test results.
Of the confirmed cases, 722 people have recovered, and their cases are considered resolved. This leaves 240 active cases in the province.
“In the last week we have more than 100 people who have recovered,” noted McNeil. “Some of them are seniors in our long-term care facilities.”
The confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Five people are currently in hospital. Two of those patients are in the intensive care unit.
Sixty-two per cent of cases are female and 38 per cent are male.
There are cases across the province, but most have been confirmed in the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The latest case was confirmed in the central zone. The western, northern and eastern zones are reporting no additional cases at this time.
- Western zone; 54 cases
- Central zone: 861 cases
- Northern zone: 43 cases
- Eastern zone: 50 cases
Public health is working to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with the confirmed cases.
Reopening plan for Nova Scotia
Strang presented a rough outline of the plan that would be used to lift COVID-19 restrictions, based on national public health guidelines released this week.
He said the initial phase, for which a date has not yet been set, would see the reopening of non-essential businesses and daycares and a resumption of non-urgent health-care services, such as day surgeries and doctor visits.
Additional outdoor activities would also be allowed, along with essential gatherings such as funerals, and the number of people allowed at gatherings would be increased from five to 10 people.
Strang said the first phase and all subsequent phases would be followed by a 28-day trial period to ensure the measures had not aggravated the spread of the virus.
"Our objective is to move carefully and reopen things as much as possible, but doing things in a safe manner," Strang said.
"There are no firm dates on this."
Schools closed for remainder of school year
The province announced Friday that all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, which will officially end on June 5.
Students will continue their education at home until June 5.
Teachers will continue to work until the end of June to finalize assessments and report cards.
Symptoms and self-isolation
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who travels outside Nova Scotia must also self-isolate for two weeks.
Nova Scotians who experience two or more of the following symptoms should take an online questionnaire to determine if they should call 811 for further assessment:
- New or worsening cough
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to May 17.
The province has eased some public health measures, but the rules related to physical distancing and social gatherings -- keeping six feet apart and not gathering in groups more than five -- remain in place.
With files from The Canadian Press