NSHA is extending visitor restrictions at all facilities to limit the spread of respiratory illness, including COVID-19 / New Restrictions; Province, Health System Working to Increase Capacity

The Covid Chronicle

**** NSHA Media Release

Extended visitor restrictions

Nova Scotia Health Authority is extending visitor restrictions at all facilities to limit the spread of respiratory illness, including COVID-19.

No visitors are permitted in any of NSHA’s hospitals.

There are compassionate and supportive care exceptions in consultation with the care team, they are as follows:

patients at end-of-life;​
a designated person per patient is permitted in labour and delivery rooms;​
parent/guardian with pediatric patients;​
substitute decision makers as required for plan of care.

In these circumstances, the visitor/ support person will be named and limited to one person.​ Multiple people waiting in hallways, family rooms or waiting rooms is not acceptable given requirements to social distance. In the case of pediatric patients, an exception may be considered for two parents in consultation with care team.

Visitor restrictions are a series of infection control measures put in place to reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases which are common in health care facilities.​ They are designed to help keep clients, families, staff and visitors healthy and safe.

Updates to closures and cancellations
Please visit http://www.nshealth.ca/temporaryclosures for additional closures and cancellations. This page is updated regularly.

Automated appointment reminders in the Central Zone have been stopped.

All Mental Health and Addiction group-based therapies and group programming will be paused. Urgent and non-urgent one-to-one outpatient clinics will continue. Patients will also have the choice to move their in-person sessions to take place over the phone, where appropriate, or through a secure video conferencing platform, where available.

The following Mental Health and Addiction services will pause:​

All group-based programs, group therapies/ treatments, and community outreach visits;
Non-urgent home visits;
Adolescent Outreach Services (including CaperBase Outreach Services) and Schools Plus, offered in various schools across the province;
New Hope Club in New Glasgow, Crossroads Clubhouse in Sydney, Beacon Program in Kentville, and Connections Dartmouth, Halifax and Sackville;​
Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Program in Dartmouth, and Mental Health Day Treatment Program in Halifax;
Addictions Day Treatment/Wellness Programming at Strait Richmond Hospital in Cleveland and at Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney; and
Driving While Impaired and Smoking/Tobacco/Nicotine Cessation programming.

If you have any questions, please contact your clinician, clinic or service area.

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis or someone concerned about them, by calling toll-free 1-888-429-8167.

Kids Help Phone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free).

New Mental Health Virtual Program​

The Mental Health and Addictions program has accelerated the launch of an online program: ICAN (Conquer Anxiety and Nervousness) – Anxiety Program (18+ years of age):​

People looking for help for anxiety and depression can benefit from doing this program. In this program, you will learn and understand anxiety. You will also learn valuable life-skills that have been proven to overcome anxiety.​ This program provides adults with a manual or access to a secure website, skill demonstration videos, and, most important, weekly telephone support from a coach. This service is private and confidential and offered through the Strongest Families Institute.

Strongest Families Institute is a charity that provides proven services to adults and families seeking help for mental health and other issues impacting health and well-being. Strongest Families provides timely care by teaching skills through a unique distance coaching approach – supporting clients over the phone and Internet in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Strongest Families provides client-centered care that is customized to their needs.
To self-refer please go to: http://login.strongestfamilies.com/folder/1963/


We are grateful for the work of more than 7,000 Nova Scotians who give their time and talents to volunteer with NSHA throughout the province. Unfortunately, as part of the containment effort, we have suspended the volunteer program until further notice.

New or relocated assessment centres

There are new or relocated COVID-19 assessment centres open or opening in Shelburne, Bridgewater, Halifax and Dartmouth.

Nova Scotians who have travelled out of country and who develop a fever with a temperature of 38°C or higher, and/or cough, should use this screening tool to find out if you should call 811 about COVID-19.

If there is a need for in-person assessment, 811 will refer to a COVID-19 assessment centre and you will be contacted for an appointment.

Please do not go to a COVID-19 assessment centre without having been referred by 811.
Those directed to an assessment centre by 811 will then have a physical assessment on site and based on that a swab will be taken for patients for whom it is appropriate.



New Restrictions; Province, Health System Working to Increase Capacity
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Premier Stephen McNeil and Minister of Health and Wellness Randy Delorey announced today, March 18, measures to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 and increase capacity within the health system to respond.

Effective immediately:
— doctors and pharmacists have new options for virtual care, using telephone and secure videoconferencing
— pharmacists can renew prescriptions for most medications and government will cover the assessment fee
— employers cannot require a doctor’s note if an employee must be off work
— College of Physicians and Surgeons waiving the fee for retired doctors to renew their licences so they can come back to work
— retired and other nurses are being brought into the system to assist with 811 staffing
— all service providers funded through the Department of Community Services’ Disability Support Program – including social enterprises, day programs, and supported employment programs for adults with diverse abilities will close to participants and the public

Effective midnight Thursday, March 19, personal service and fitness establishments such as hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons, body art establishments and gyms must shut down.

​ “We are working together with Nova Scotians to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure our health system can respond rapidly to those who need assessment and treatment,” said Dr. Strang. “It’s critical that we all our part to reduce the transmission of the virus through social distancing and self-isolation, when necessary, and that we look out for each other.”

Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia. If you have been in close contact with someone who has travelled and are experiencing fever (above 38 C) and/or new cough should complete the online questionnaire before calling 811. The online questionnaire can be found at: http://811.novascotia.ca/

For more information and updates about NSHA’s response to COVID-19 please visit http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus.

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