Amid declining COVID-19 numbers, Strang says there's still community spread
Nova Scotia announced 62nd COVID-19 death and 1 new case on Tuesday
Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang cautioned Tuesday there is still community spread happening for COVID-19, even amid few new recent cases.
Strang said there have been two consecutive weekends where Nova Scotia had a single case of COVID-19 appear, but it's unclear where those people were exposed.
"There are still some signs of community transmission in the recent past," he said during a Tuesday press conference. "So even though our numbers of COVID-19 are low, that emphasizes the need for us to continue to take a cautious approach."
While Nova Scotia had a few days of few or zero cases, Strang said people shouldn't read into the numbers too much.
"While all of this is good news and things are trending in the right direction, we have to be careful and we need to be continuing to take a very measured and cautious approach as we move into recovery," Strang said.
The province also announced a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions was the 62nd person to die from COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.
This death was in the Nova Scotia Health Authority's central zone, a region that covers the Halifax area, West Hants and East Hants. The woman was not a resident of a long-term care facility.
Strang said the woman died "a number of weeks ago."
"Her death had been under investigation since then to determine if it was actually COVID-19 related or not," Strang said. "We've now got the information to make a conclusion that this was actually related to COVID-19."
The province also announced one new case of COVID-19. It's unclear what health zone the new case comes from, but Strang said the newest case was a close contact of someone who was sick.
To date, Nova Scotia has had 1,060 cases of COVID-19. The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 578 Nova Scotia tests on Monday.
Northwood Halifax only has one active COVID-19 case involving a resident. It is the only long-term care facility in Nova Scotia known to have an active case.
Strang said he expects to make an announcement later this week about when people can visit those living in long-term care homes.
It's unclear how many known active cases remain in Nova Scotia. The province is working on updating its data system so numbers can be reconciled and consolidated. Strang said that update is coming on Wednesday.
Strang encouraged people thinking about vacation plans this summer to stay in Nova Scotia.
"We encourage people to actually do your vacation at home within Nova Scotia, travel around the province doing that safely, but at the same time supporting the local economy and community around the province," he said.
Premier Stephen McNeil said discussions around potentially having an Atlantic bubble, which would allow Atlantic Canadians to travel freely between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador without needing to self-isolate for 14 days, are still ongoing.
He said it will all depend on the epidemiology.
"The next couple of weeks are going to be critical for us," McNeil said. "And then we'll make further decisions on how we open up our economy and potentially opening up the region."
People with one or more of the following COVID-19 symptoms are asked to visit 811's website:
- Fever (chills, sweats).
- Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
- Sore throat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Muscle aches.
- Nasal congestion/runny nose.
- Hoarse voice.
- Unusual fatigue.
- Loss of sense of smell or taste.
- Red, purple or bluish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers that do not have a clear cause.