Nova Scotia

N.S. identifies communities that will host COVID-19 units for long-term care residents

The units will be based in Antigonish, Kentville, Sydney, Truro, Yarmouth and Halifax/Dartmouth.

Units intended to help prevent facility-wide outbreaks

A total of 53 people died following a outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year at the Northwood facility in Halifax. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government has identified six communities that will host sites designated to receive long-term care residents who contract COVID-19.

Health Minister Leo Glavine told reporters Thursday following a cabinet meeting that units will be based in Antigonish, Kentville, Sydney, Truro, Yarmouth and Halifax/Dartmouth.

He would not provide the exact locations of those units or say whether they will be based in hospitals or long-term care homes.

Glavine said that information would be made available once families at those sites are notified. Other sites could be added in the future, he said.

The units are part of the Health Department's plan for long-term care and continuing care in anticipation of a potential second wave of COVID-19.

Sites are being selected in the hopes of preventing a facility-wide outbreak like the one that happened at Northwood in Halifax earlier this year. COVID-19 sickened 345 residents and staff at the long-term care home and 53 residents died.

Health Minister Leo Glavine says more details on the units are coming soon. (CBC)

The specialized units will group people with COVID-19 in one area with dedicated staff. Glavine said concerns previously expressed by some long-term care officials about staffing levels have since been addressed.

Sufficient staff are already in place at the six sites and ready to go should cases arise, however the option remains to deploy additional staff as necessary, as was the case during the outbreak at Northwood.

Funding for the units is coming from the federal COVID response fund agreed to by the federal and provincial governments, meaning that any long-term care home hosting a COVID-19 unit would not see its bottom line affected, said Glavine.