**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release
Strengthening Health System and New Measures
Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced further measures today, March 24, to strengthen the health system and help Nova Scotians dealing with COVID-19.
“Keeping Nova Scotians safe and healthy is our number one job. Everything we are doing, we are doing to keep you safe,” said Premier McNeil. “We all need to keep working together, support one another and make sure we are following the public health advice. That is the only way we can control the spread of this virus.”
Measures announced today include:
— increased testing for COVID-19 — public health officials have begun testing all close contacts of positive cases
— lab capacity is doubling to accommodate increased testing
— expanding virtual care for physicians, nurse practitioners and others so they can offer appointments to patients through telephone or video, minimizing the need to leave the house; more than 80 providers have signed up for video so far
— 811 has increased staff and technology and is now answering 50 per cent more calls; on April 3, 811 will again double its capacity
— enhanced infection control measures at hospitals to protect health-care workers and the public include reassigning and adding new staff to increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection; focusing on high-risk areas and high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces; using stronger cleaning products
— regulated health professions can only stay open for emergency or urgent cases or to provide virtual care, as long as they can meet social distancing requirements in their waiting room or other non-clinical areas and follow the cleaning protocol
— non-regulated health professions (such as naturopaths) must close. One exception is podiatrists who must follow the directive related to regulated health professions
— Access Centres and Registry of Motor Vehicle Offices will start to resume operations in a scaled back, limited contact business model. Staff working out of Access Centres and Registry of Motor Vehicle offices in Amherst, Bridgewater, Dartmouth, Kentville, Stellarton, Sydney and Yarmouth will be available to help people with urgent matters by calling 1-800-670-4357. In addition, government has extended deadlines for more vehicle permits, registrations and renewals until Aug.31. Drop-off boxes for applicable services will also be available at Access Centres in Amherst, Bridgewater, Dartmouth, Kentville, Stellarton, Sydney and Yarmouth. Many of the services are also available online.
Essential service sectors in Nova Scotia, which are exempt from the five-person-or-fewer gathering rules, have been clarified and are:
— food, agri-food and fisheries
— transportation, including trucking, rail and transit
— construction and manufacturing
— IT, telecommunications and critical infrastructure
— public services, such as police, fire and ambulances
Individual business in these sectors must still maintain social distancing and other public health protocols.
“We need your help to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Strang. “It is critically important to wash your hands, practise social distancing and self-isolate if you need to. It’s also important to be truthful in your interactions with health-care workers and don’t call 911 unless you have an emergency. Working together we can protect our communities and our most vulnerable citizens.”
Ten new cases were identified Monday, March 23. The cases are travel-related or connected to earlier reported cases. Several of the new cases are connected to groups or families who have returned to Nova Scotia following travel outside of Canada. None of these cases are from spread within the community.
The 51 individuals affected range in age from under 10 to mid-70s. Cases have been identified in all parts of the province. One individual remains in hospital. One individual has recovered and their case of COVID-19 is considered resolved.
Public health has been in contact with these individuals and is working to identify others who may have come in close contact with them. Those individuals are also being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
To date, Nova Scotia has 2,474 negative test results and 51 confirmed cases.
Anyone who has travelled outside of Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days. If you have travelled outside of Nova Scotia or been in close contact with someone who has travelled and are experiencing fever or new cough you should complete the online questionnaire before calling 811. The online questionnaire can be found at: http://811.novascotia.ca/
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and remains in effect until noon, April 5
— under the state of emergency government can control or prohibit assembly as well as travel to and from areas. It can also coordinate commerce activity and emergency responders
— testing numbers are updated daily at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to give advice to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19
nse to COVID-19: Municipal service updates
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 (Halifax, NS) – The Halifax Regional Municipality continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving effects of COVID-19.
**** HRM Media Release
The municipality is committed to taking important steps in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
There are no reductions in public safety service levels. All essential services of the municipality – including 311, fire and police – are operational and adhering to the most updated guidance and precautions from health officials.
An important reminder to residents: Please DO NOT call 9-1-1 for non-emergency purposes. Residents can call 3-1-1 and police non-emergency lines.
The following is an update on municipal services:
Parks & Recreation
- Consistent with the decision by the Province of Nova Scotia to close all provincial parks, all municipal parks, beaches, playgrounds, and sports fields/courts, as well as many trails are closed until further notice.
- Clarification on municipal trail closures:
- Residential pathways that connect streets can be used.
- Multi-use paths along streets that replace sidewalks can be used.
- Residents can walk/cycle to a trail in their neighborhood only, provided that trail is not connected to or in a park.
- Residents are not permitted to drive to trails outside of their neighbourhood.
- Residents are not to gather in groups larger than five people and must continue to follow social distancing guidelines in accordance with provincial orders.
- All municipal spring recreation programming is cancelled.
- Summer recreation program registration scheduled for April 1 is cancelled. The status of summer recreation programming will be determined at a later date.
- Some municipal arenas will begin to remove ice surfaces in the coming days for maintenance. Should this affect a previous booking, staff will be contacting residents about refunds.
For more information on municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Halifax.ca/coronavirus.
Thank you for helping with the community effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Government of Canada: http://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397