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One person in N.S. hospitalized as a result of COVID-19
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia health officials say one person has now been hospitalized as a result of COVID-19.
“One of our cases, one of our earlier cases that we announced earlier this week, has been admitted to hospital overnight,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, during a news conference Thursday.
“They’re doing well in hospital.”
Strang didn’t release any other details about the person.
The province confirmed two new presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in Nova Scotia to 14.
Of those cases, nine are presumptive positives and five are confirmed.
Both of the new presumptive cases are travel-related.
The 14 individuals range in age from their early 30s to mid-70s. They are all in self-isolation and are recovering at home, except for the individual in hospital.
Public Health has been in contact with those affected and is working to identify others who may have been in close contact with them.
Those individuals are also being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
The province is no longer indicating where exactly the cases are located, but the government says northern Nova Scotia is the only region without a case of COVID-19 at this time.
Officials do confirm one of the cases is connected to Dalhousie University in Halifax.
“Anybody who’s been in close contact with that individual has been or will be contacted directly by Public Health,” said Strang.
Dalhousie University issued a campus-wide email about the case Thursday.
People who attended provincial high school basketball championships in Halifax earlier this month are also being warned that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, though their risk is low.
The NSSAF Division 1 Provincial Basketball Championships were held from March 5 to 7.
The NSHA says people who visited the Halifax Grammar School gymnasium, or the Homburg Athletic Centre gymnasium at Saint Mary’s University, during that time period should closely monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms.
Anyone who was at a high risk of exposure has already been identified and is now in isolation.
New measures to help vulnerable Nova Scotians
The Nova Scotia government has announced new measures to help vulnerable Nova Scotians during the pandemic.
The province is spending $2.2 million so that every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50, starting Friday, to help pay for food, cleaning supplies and personal-care items.
Individuals on income assistance will receive the payment automatically and do not need to apply.
The province also announced $1 million to help Feed Nova Scotia purchase food and hire more staff.
Under the new measures, tenants cannot be evicted because their income has been affected by COVID-19, effective immediately for the next three months.
Nova Scotia is providing emergency funding of $230,000 for programs that help vulnerable seniors.
University students from Nova Scotia who are still living in residences are being ordered to return home immediately so students from outside the province who cannot travel can practise social-distancing while living on campus.
No need for state of emergency
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says there is no need to call a state of emergency in the province at this point, but he isn’t ruling it out.
Strang says there is no evidence of community spread yet, but he’s expecting that will change.
“We just need to look in other provinces, look around the world,” he said.
“We have cases here from outside and it’s inevitable that we will get some community spread. It’s all up to us, how we work together to do all the things that we’ve been talking about to minimize the spread and minimize the impacts.”
One way the province is minimizing impacts is by ordering non-essential businesses, such as hair and nail salons, barber shops, spas, tattoo shops and gyms, to shut down at midnight.
Pharmacies are considered essential and will remain open, but they are making changes.
“The Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists has recommended that limit prescriptions to 30-day supplies in most cases,” said pharmacist Curtis Chafe.
“In some cases, where it’s clinically-relevant to go longer than 30 days, we are allowed to do that, but just for now, we’re looking at 30-day supplies at a time.”
Pharmacists say there are no issues with the supply of medicine related to COVID-19 right now, but they are asking people not to stockpile medicine so there is enough for everyone.
As for COVID-19 testing, Nova Scotia says it is testing daily. There were 1,373 negative test results as of Thursday.
Nova Scotians who have travelled outside Canada, or have been in close contact with someone who has travelled internationally, and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are now being asked to complete an online questionnaire before calling 811.