Nova Scotia

Short-stay, day surgeries to resume in Nova Scotia on Monday

The IWK Health Centre and the Nova Scotia Health Authority will resume day and short-stay surgeries in clinics beginning on Monday.

Additional death at Northwood brings COVID-19 death total to 57 in province

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said people who had day surgeries and short-stay surgeries set up before the COVID-19 pandemic would be hearing from their health-care providers in the near future. (CBC)

The IWK Health Centre and the Nova Scotia Health Authority will resume day and short-stay surgeries and clinics beginning on Monday.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, Premier Stephen McNeil said people who had appointments set up before the COVID-19 pandemic would be hearing from their health-care providers in the near future.

On March 17, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced non-emergency surgeries were immediately postponed, while the measure took hold one day later at the IWK Health Centre.

A spokesperson for the IWK Health Centre said Wednesday services would resume with a phased-in approach. That will begin Monday with non-urgent elective day surgeries and surgeries that require only short in-patient stays.

In an email, a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Health Authority said it is "focusing on areas that will not increase the number of inpatients in our hospitals," which includes "certain day surgeries and outpatient clinics, including diagnostic imaging and laboratory."

At Wednesday's press briefing, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang listed what the new normal will look like in the months ahead once the province begins to open up. Some of those measures include:

  • Frequent handwashing.
  • Sneezing and coughing into one's arm.
  • Not touching one's face.
  • Cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant.
  • Practising physical distancing.
  • Limiting non-essential travel.
  • Staying home if feeling unwell.
  • Limiting group sizes.
  • Wearing non-medical masks.

"The evidence on masks has evolved and we're at a place where we weren't seven weeks ago ... but now as science and evidence have evolved, we can say that having the public wearing non-medical masks ... can reduce the spread of the virus," Strang said.

Strang said masks are only effective if used properly. He said Nova Scotians should consider wearing masks in places where physical distancing cannot be maintained. He named the grocery store as an example.

Some settings, like a medical office or a nail salon, may require practitioners, patients and clients to wear masks as well, Strang said.

"Wave one is coming to an end, that's way different than the pandemic being over," he said.

Another death at Northwood

On Wednesday, the province reported one additional death of a resident at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, bringing the total number of people who have died of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia to 57. Fifty-one of those deaths have been Northwood residents.

Northwood has 19 residents and three staff with active cases, while one other facility has a resident with an active case of COVID-19, the province said.

One new case of COVID-19 was detected in the province and it was at Northwood.

Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said that having the public wear non-medical masks can reduce the spread of COVID-19. (CBC)

"For the first time, we are reporting no new cases outside of Northwood for two days in a row — that's good news," Strang said.

The latest case was discovered on Tuesday, out of a total of 353 tests at the QEII microbiology lab in Halifax.

There are 32 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

Four people are in hospital in intensive care, and four others are in hospital but not in ICU.

A message for businesses

McNeil said businesses should be ready to reopen on day one when the province opens up.

"We're not waiting to get the go-ahead and plan the opening. The opening is being planned as we sit here and talk to you about keeping Nova Scotians safe," McNeil said.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority's COVID-19 map for Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (Nova Scotia Health Authority)

On Tuesday, McNeil said consultations with the business sector would be completed this week on reopening the economy, which could start in early June.

He ended Wednesday's press briefing by asking Nova Scotians to consider supporting the local businesses that have been open and are starting to reopen.

"We just have to be patient and considerate, knowing that public safety will come first," McNeil said.

COVID-19 symptoms

The following is a list of symptoms for COVID-19:

  • Fever.
  • New or worsening cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny nose.
  • Headache.

Anyone with two or more of those symptoms should visit 811's website for a self-assessment questionnaire to determine if 811 should be called for further assessment.

With files from Michael Gorman

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