N.S. reports no new COVID-19 cases for second day in a row; 997 people recovered
Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang provides an update on COVID-19 during a news conference in Halifax on June 5, 2020.
HALIFAX -- For the second day in a row, Nova Scotia is reporting no new cases of COVID-19.
The total number of confirmed cases remains at 1,058.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 773 Nova Scotia tests on Thursday.
To date, Nova Scotia has 44,477 negative test results.
The province isn’t reporting any additional deaths at this time. Sixty-one Nova Scotians have died from COVID-19.
The latest death was reported Thursday. It involved a man in his 70s who had underlying health conditions. He lived in the central zone and was not a resident of a long-term care home.
Fifty-three of the province’s 61 deaths have involved residents at Halifax’s Northwood long-term care home, which has seen the most significant outbreak in the province.
A Halifax law firm is proposing a class-action lawsuit against the facility, claiming normal standards of care weren't met to protect against infection from COVID-19.
997 people recovered
The province says two more people have recovered, for a total of 997 recoveries. Their cases are considered resolved.
According to the provincial numbers, this would leave no active cases in Nova Scotia.
However, Northwood is reporting two active cases, involving one resident and one staff member. This means two residents have recovered from the virus since Thursday, when four active cases when reported in three residents and one staff member.
During the pandemic, there has been confusion over the number of recovered and active cases reported by the province, which don’t always match up with the numbers reported at Northwood.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, has explained that the data from long-term care homes comes from a different data source than the one used by public health and is on a different timeline. As a result, the data doesn’t always reconcile.
When CTV News reached out to the province for clarification on Friday’s numbers -- including a question about whether a new case identified in the eastern zone earlier this week has already recovered -- the government provided this response:
“As we have said many times, data is from a number of sources and reporting periods differ. It cannot be combined.”
Strang said Friday that he's encouraged by the fact that the number of active cases at Northwood continues to drop.
"That's very good news indeed," said Strang. "We still aren't able to declare that outbreak over yet, but clearly things are headed in the right direction."
One more person admitted to ICU
There are still three people in hospital as a result of complications due to COVID-19, but one more person has been admitted to the intensive care unit. There are now two patients in the ICU.
The province’s confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty-two per cent of cases are female and 38 per cent are male.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality, has seen the largest number of cases.
- western zone: 54 cases
- central zone: 907 cases
- northern zone: 45 cases
- eastern zone: 52 cases
Anyone who travels outside of Nova Scotia must also self-isolate for two weeks.
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to June 14.
Reopening day for many businesses
Most businesses that were forced to close at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March were allowed to reopen on Friday, if they comply with strict rules outlined in plans approved by the province.
"We are making some progress and this is an important day," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "Many of you are open for business. I want to thank you for your patience and congratulations to you for having the courage to open your doors. This has been a difficult time in our province, there's no question, but today feels like a new beginning."
Businesses that can reopen include hair salons, barber shops, spas and gyms.
Bars and restaurants can also offer dine-in service again.
Most businesses are required to operate at 50 per cent capacity to allow for physical distancing.
Some health services are also reopening, including dentists, optometrists, chiropractors and physiotherapists.
Not all businesses may choose to reopen at this time, however. Strang also acknowledged that some people may not feel comfortable heading to a bar or gettng a haircut just yet.
"I know some people are excited, some are anxious, many people are feeling a little bit of both and that's natural and having these mixed feelings is probably the best and healthiest way to approach today in the days and weeks ahead," said Strang.
"It's really good to see that people are able to get back to work, to become more social, have a bit more normalcy back in their lives, but we also need to remain cautious. That's why we're taking this slowly and we have active monitoring and surveillance in place to very closely track the impact of our reopening on COVID-19."
Strang said businesses that weren't forced to close still have to have a plan, but it doesn't need to be submitted for approval.
Last month, the province expanded the list of symptoms for which it is screening.
Anyone who experiences one of the following symptoms is encouraged to take an online test to determine if they should call 811 for further assessment:
- fever (i.e. chills, sweats)
- cough or worsening of a previous cough
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- muscle aches
- nasal congestion/runny nose
- hoarse voice
- unusual fatigue
- loss of sense of smell or taste