HALIFAX -- As the number of new COVID-19 cases remains low in Nova Scotia, the province is working to restore health-care services that were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) announced Tuesday that it has begun the process to reintroduce programs, services, and the number of patient procedures.

“Over the past few weeks our teams across the organization have been working on how to safely reintroduce our health-care programs and services that had to be postponed to support our COVID-19 response efforts,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, the CEO and president of the NSHA, in a news release.

“We had made significant and unprecedented adjustments to the delivery of health care and careful planning is required to resume services and procedures.”

During the pandemic, Nova Scotians were still able to access primary, emergency, and urgent care, including surgeries, cancer care, mental health and additions support, and virtual care in many program and services areas.

However, there was a decrease in the level of activity, and some services were stopped.

“We know there are many Nova Scotians who are concerned about their health since their care or treatment has been delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carr.

“We share their concern and request your patience as resuming services is going to take some time as we assess and prioritize patients whose procedures were cancelled. This needs to be done gradually and cautiously.”

All appointments that were booked out to June 30, 2020, are cancelled and will be rescheduled as services are reintroduced.

Key areas where services will resume include:

  • Ambulatory (outpatient) clinics: various outpatient clinics will resume, continue to see patients virtually with in-person appointments as required, and/or increase the number of patient visits. The types of clinics that will resume will vary at locations across the province. Examples of these clinics include: wound care, ECG, renal, medical specialty, orthopedic assessment.
  • Diagnostic imaging: increase in the number of procedures including CT, MRI and ultrasound at departments across the province.
  • Laboratory: increase the number of appointments as blood collection will continue by appointment only (there are some sites in the northern zone where walk-in service is currently available.)
  • Surgery: initial focus will be on completing day surgeries and outpatient procedures, such as cataract surgeries and endoscopy procedures; continue to do urgent/emergent; and, cancer surgical cases.

The NSHA says patients will be contacted directly when their appointment has been scheduled.