COVID-19 outbreaks have 'stabilized' at N.S. long-term care homes, says province
'It has become very much under control,' says Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang
Amid another death related to COVID-19 at Northwood in Halifax, the province's chief medical officer of health said Wednesday the coronavirus outbreak has stabilized at long-term care homes in Nova Scotia.
"The situation, while it remains serious, is that it has become very much under control. It is certainly stabilized," Dr. Robert Strang said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
He said he expects most of the Northwood residents who contracted COVID-19 will recover with "good care."
Twenty-two residents at Northwood have died due to the virus since April 18. Twenty-eight people in total have died of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.
As of Tuesday, there were 10 licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors facilities in Nova Scotia with cases of COVID-19, involving 227 residents and 97 staff.
Before a COVID-19 outbreak can be officially declared over, Strang said there has to be an incubation period of 28 days. He said there's currently no ongoing disease activity at the rest of Nova Scotia's long-term care facilities, but the 28-day period isn't up yet.
Still, it's a good sign, Strang said.
"It's a testament to the preparedness and the commitment of our of our continuing care and long-term care sector," he said.
Twenty new cases of COVID-19 in the province were identified through testing on Tuesday, after the QEII microbiology lab processed 905 tests.
Eleven people are in hospital and three of those people are in the intensive care unit.
Indications COVID-19 slowing down in N.S.
The province has 935 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those people, 529 have recovered. To date, there have been 27,486 negative test results in Nova Scotia.
Strang said testing was up on Tuesday.
"We have a relatively low number of positive cases and the majority of those cases are associated with the Northwood outbreak," Strang said.
"To me, this is a further indication that we are beginning to see a slowing down of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, which is very good news."
The following is a list of symptoms for COVID-19:
- New or worsening cough.
- Sore throat.
- Runny nose.
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.
"Don't wait if you feel you have those symptoms," Strang said. "Do the assessment ... the sooner we test you and recognize it, the less the ability that it can be spread around."
Premier Stephen McNeil concluded the press briefing by announcing that "barring any major news," he and Strang are reducing the frequency of their daily press briefings to three times per week: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Michelin masks on the way
The Nova Scotia Health Authority announced on Wednesday Michelin donated 75,000 surgical masks this week and 50,000 more are on the way.
In a news release, the health authority said a portion of the masks will be given to long-term care facilities across the province and the rest will help keep front-line staff "safe while they provide care to patients."