N.S. reports no new COVID-19 cases; Strang urges Nova Scotians to make masks 'a habit'
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, provides an update on COVID-19 during a news conference in Halifax on July 9, 2020.
HALIFAX -- There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia and the provincial government says one more case is considered resolved.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 398 Nova Scotia tests on Wednesday.
The total number of COVID-19 cases remains at 1,066, but 999 cases are now resolved and 63 people have died, leaving only four active cases in the province.
The last case was reported on Wednesday, involving a Nova Scotia truck driver who travelled outside Canada as an essential worker.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang provided an update on the case during a news conference in Halifax on Thursday.
“Yesterday’s new case is a Nova Scotian who works in the movement of people and essential goods and that individual had travelled … outside of Canada and that was the source of their exposure outside the country,” said Strang.
“As with the cases that we reported last week, the two cases -- the one from the weekend and the one from yesterday -- our contact tracing has found minimal numbers of people who have been identified as close contacts, so that’s good news for all of us.”
To date, Nova Scotia has 56,227 negative test results.
Among the 63 Nova Scotians who died from COVID-19 are 53 residents of the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.
There are no active cases of COVID-19 in any long-term care facilities and the Northwood outbreak is now considered resolved.
There is still one person in hospital. The province says that person’s infection is considered resolved, but they still require treatment.
The confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 per cent are male.
There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s central zone.
The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.
The numbers reflect where a person lives, and not where their sample was collected.
- western zone: 54 cases
- central zone: 901 cases
- northern zone: 57 cases
- eastern zone: 54 cases
Strang again reiterated the importance of wearing masks when physical distancing can’t be maintained in public places.
Masks are not mandatory in Nova Scotia, but Strang said public health has made a “strong recommendation” to wear a non-medical face mask in certain situations, such as grocery shopping and on public transit.
“We encourage everybody to always have a mask with them and if necessary you can put on the mask. We need to make it a habit … to always have a mask with us every time we go out the door,” he said.
“It’s a way we keep each other safe by each of us wearing a mask. Masking is one piece of our efforts around controlling the spread of COVID-19. It’s important that people understand that masks are part of the package I’ve been talking about.”
Strang said the topic of face masks is an ongoing conversation among Canada’s chief medical officers of health.
Some cities, such as Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, have made face masks mandatory.
“If we need to go down the road of mandatory, we are ready to do that,” said Strang.
The new school year begins in less than two months, but the Nova Scotia government still has not released its education plan.
Premier Stephen McNeil said Thursday that a plan is in the works and it will be communicated to families and teachers “in the coming weeks.”
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 to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region is also required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form online before coming to the province.
Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are no longer required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia.
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
- red, purple or blueish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers without clear cause
The provincial state of emergency has been extended until July 12.