**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release
New Measures for Long-Term Care, Home-Care Workers
Front-line workers in every public and private long-term care home, residential care facility and home-care agency across the province will now be expected to wear masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Distribution to workers began over the weekend.
Effective Tuesday, April 14, masks will be distributed to all front-line workers in residential care and continuing care facilities and to home-care employees.
“Masks are in high demand around the world and we wanted to be sure we had the supply before we started to distribute,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “I know front-line staff are concerned and I’m sorry if we contributed to that. But I can tell you that making sure we have adequate supplies is a full provincial effort – with government and the private sector working together to protect front-line workers who are working to protect Nova Scotians every day.”
— the protocol applies to nursing homes and residential care facilities licensed by the Department of Health and Wellness and to private, unlicensed assisted-living facilities, retirement homes, memory-care homes and enriched-care homes
— home-care workers must also wear a mask under the protocol
— the protocol also applies to direct-care staff in residential facilities funded by the Disability Support Program and licensed by the Minister of Community Services under the Homes for Special Care Act: adult residential centres, regional rehabilitation centres, residential care facilities, small option homes, developmental residences and group homes
— all facilities must continue to get masks through existing supply chains. Government will only provide masks to these facilities on an emergency basis
— government is partnering with the Health Association of Nova Scotia to distribute the masks to all facilities
“We’re now seeing increased community spread and we know from other jurisdictions that this means an increase in cases in long-term care facilities,” said Dr. Robert Strang chief medical officer of health. “It’s almost impossible for people working in long-term care facilities to practise physical distancing given they are helping people who need hands-on care. Wearing a surgical mask is another measure we can use to prevent further spread of infection and protect healthcare workers and those most at risk of becoming severely ill.”
Nova Scotia has recorded three deaths related to COVID-19 and a total of 474 positive test results. Confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90. Nine individuals are currently in hospital, four of those in ICU. One hundred and one individuals have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved. Cases have been identified in all parts of the province. A map and graphic presentation of the case data is available at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/data .
If you have two or more of the following symptoms, visit http://811.novascotia.ca/ to determine if you should call 811 for further assessment:
— new or worsening cough
— sore throat
— runny nose
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .
— testing numbers are updated daily at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to April 19
— as of April 13, there are 21 residents and 14 staff in six long-term care facilities licensed by the Department of Health and Wellness who have tested positive for COVID-19
Government of Canada: http://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397
The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll free).
Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free).