NOTE: This week is now over. For the very latest news, please go here. But for an informative look back at exactly how Nova Scotia responded to COVID-19 in realtime, keep on reading.
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Editor's note: In its 27 years The Coast has never been a just-the-facts news service, but for these strange times this news centre offers quick-hit updates.
Things are really looking up in Nova Scotia. People are feeling good, the reopening has started, for a whole weekend there are no new cas—oh shit. The province is reporting one new case of C19 today. In the press release announcing Sunday’s case, Robert Strang reminds us “We still need to be cautious. That is why we are taking things slowly and monitoring how it goes.”
The case is in the NS Health Authority's Central zone. We’ve asked whether it’s connected to long-term care or not; the answer is promised tomorrow.
Here’s today’s summary information from the province: “To date, Nova Scotia has 45,466 negative test results, 1,059 positive COVID-19 test results and 61 deaths. Confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90. Three individuals are currently in hospital, two of those in ICU. Nine-hundred and ninety-nine individuals have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved. ”
Northwood, the largest nursing home facility east of Quebec, has one resident with COVID-19, and one staffmember with the disease.
The virus shows its human side by relaxing as the weekend starts. The province is reporting no new cases today, and no deaths.
According to the press release from the Health and Wellness Department, there have now been a total of 1,058 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province, and Northwood is the only long-term care facility with active cases—one resident and one staffer are infected. In a summary, the province says: “Three individuals are currently in hospital, two of those in ICU. Nine-hundred and ninety-nine individuals have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.”
In a welcome sign for today's business “reopening day,” the province is reporting zero new cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths from the disease. Hooray!
In other signs, the restaurant sector is having some reopening hiccups. How are things working in your sector? Send The Coast your observations, opinions and experiences by email to: email@example.com.
The positive part of the province’s daily C19 report—there are no new cases—gets overshadowed by the negative today: The 61st Nova Scotian has died from the coronavirus.
The deceased is described as “a male in his 70s with underlying medical conditions in the Central Zone; he was not a resident of a long-term care home.”
Most of the people who have died of COVID-19 in the province were residents of Northwood, the largest nursing home east of Quebec and a name that has become synonymous with the tragic disease outbreak there. That outbreak has lately been coming under control. Of the three people who have died in the Central health zone over the last 10 days, only one was a Northwood resident.
The Eastern health zone has gotten its first case of COVID-19 since May 10. It’s the only case the province is reporting today.
Like each of the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s four zones, the Eastern is a huge area with countless communities, ranging to include all of Cape Breton plus Antigonish and Sherbrooke. There’s no information from the province about where in the Eastern zone the case was diagnosed, except that it must not be related to long-term care because Northwood in Halifax is the only care facility being reported with cases right now. We've asked the province for details.
The Western zone—think Digby, Wolfville, the Annapolis Valley, Kejimkujik National Park and the south shore from Yarmouth to Mahone Bay—is the only NSHA district without any new cases in the last week. Actually the Western hasn’t had a case since April 21, making it a C19 cold spot in the province, even though early disease activity there means it has cumulatively had more cases than the Northern or Eastern zones.
Public health doctor Robert Strang and premier Stephen McNeil have their regular COVID-19 briefing at 3pm today. You can watch live at novascotia.ca/stayinformed/webcast, or catch it later at the Nova Scotia government's YouTube page.
For the third time in less than a week, the province is reporting a day with no new COVID-19 cases and no deaths. Still no consecutive zero days, but that’s perhaps just a quibble. At today’s briefing, top doc Robert Strang pointed to the current string as evidence the virus is coming under control.
”Friday we had our first day with zero, then we had a case on Saturday, zero on Sunday, one yesterday and again zero today.”
It’s a low level of infection Strang is hoping stays low, although public health will be watching “extremely carefully” to see how the diagnoses change when the economy begins reopening this Friday, June 5. “The month of June is going to be very important as we watch our epidemiology and see what happens with the number of cases that we that we start to see,” Strang said.
“Strong surveillance, easy access to testing is going to be critically important to sustain in the weeks to months to come,” he continued. “We're not expecting to have zero. As we introduce more"—opening of the economy—"we will likely get more cases. The question I’m more interested in is: Are we able to detect those cases early, are we able to lock them down so that we prevent further spread and do they stay as sporadic isolated cases? That's our goal.”
Today the province is reporting one new case of C19 has been diagnosed. That’s a drag after yesterday’s zero cases—we’ve now had a couple no-new-case days, but still not two days in a row.
In less of a drag, nobody else died from the disease. Nova Scotia is holding steady at 60 deaths out of 1,057 total cases of COVID-19.
Premier Stephen McNeil and Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Robert “Top Doc” Strang, won’t be giving an update on the state of COVID-19 today. Their current schedule is to do briefings Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3pm.
If you’re craving a rerun before tomorrow's episode, the Nova Scotia government's YouTube page has them.