Nova Scotia

COVID-19 can't stop Mother's Day celebrations at Northwood

The province reported seven new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths on Sunday. 

'Since we can't hug ... we just hope this is a ginormous hug today'

Melinda Daye, left, and Cecelia Gray, right, sent a Mother’s Day message to their mothers, who share a room at Northwood. Both mothers tested negative for COVID-19. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

Through the sound of banging pots and pans, bagpipes and clapping — people cheered for the residents of the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax — all in celebration of Mother's Day.

Halifax resident Jenn Currie organized the event. She asked people to visit the care home, from a safe distance, with noisemakers and signs in tow to honour the residents inside.

"All we keep hearing is the awful news that's happening [at Northwood] and I just wanted to brighten some days," Currie said.

Currie came up with the idea on Friday and shared it on social media. Within two days, she had offers from family, friends and local businesses who were willing to help.

Jenn Currie organized the event to celebrate Mother's Day with the residents at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

Anchored Coffee provided coffee and Made With Local gave individually wrapped bars for the residents and staff at Northwood. 

Currie also said that family and friends donated cash, which went back to the local businesses to support them during the pandemic.

Currie's friend, Mike Sears, also played the bagpipes for the residents.

"Since we can't hug — we have to socially distance — we just hope this is a ginormous hug today," Currie said.

Firefighter and bagpiper Mike Sears volunteered to entertain the residents at Northwood on Sunday. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

Melinda Daye and Cecelia Gray came out to visit their mothers who share a room at Northwood. 

"She saw us today and was so happy to see us and she waved and blew us kisses and she's doing good," Gray said about her mother.

Both of their mothers have tested negative for COVID-19.

People banged pots and pans and cheered for the residents at Northwood on Mother's Day. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

Daye said her mother was able to talk to the family on the phone while they were visiting.

"We all wished her a Happy Mother's Day. She said it was hard," Daye said.

"She said, 'It's good to see you, but it's hard.' And it's hard for us because we couldn't put our arms around her."

Northwood also announced on Saturday that it will now be accepting cards for loved ones daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the central desk entrance in Halifax and the main entrance in Bedford.

'Send your love virtually'

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, reminded Nova Scotians that Mother's Day should be enjoyed while following public health protocols.

"Mother's Day weekend is usually filled with visits and hugs for moms, grandmothers and mother-figures. Unfortunately, for many families, Mother's Day will look different this year," McNeil said in a press release.

"Please celebrate your mother as safely as possible today. If you don't live with her, send your love virtually. This virus doesn't pause its spread for even one day."

7 new cases, no new deaths

Nova Scotia reported seven new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths on Sunday.

There have been 1,018 cases in the province, according to Sunday's update, but 749 people have recovered. Nine people are in hospital, three in intensive care.

The provincial death toll remains at 47.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority's COVID-19 map for Sunday, May 10. (Nova Scotia Health Authority)

The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 676 Nova Scotia tests on Saturday and continues to operate on a 24-hour schedule.

The province has reported 33,579 negative tests.

Recoveries on increase at Northwood

Three licensed long-term care home and unlicensed seniors facilities in Nova Scotia have active cases of COVID-19, including the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax and two additional care homes.

One of the unnamed care homes has a previously reported case among staff, while the other is reporting one new case among residents. 

Northwood, which is considered the provincial epicentre for the virus, reported two new cases among residents at its Halifax campus on Sunday. It has had 41 deaths due to COVID-19.

People came out with noisemakers and signs to celebrate Mother's Day at Northwood. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

The facility has 157 residents and 20 employees with active cases, but recoveries have increased significantly, the facility's CEO said Saturday.

"We're showing the single largest group of recoveries this week with more than 48 residents who have won the battle against this disease and we do expect another 53 residents to be officially declared recovered this week," Northwood CEO Janet Simm said in a Facebook video.

Simm also said the 65 staff members have also recovered and are returning to work.

Symptoms to look for

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 Shaina Luck