Nova Scotia

Bonus cash coming to N.S. health-care workers working on COVID-19 front lines

Nova Scotia will provide a cash bonus for front-line health-care workers who are part of the province's COVID-19 response. The program allows health-care workers to receive a bonus of up to $2,000 after a four-month period, beginning March 13.

Eligible employees could receive up to $2K after a 4-month period, beginning March 13

Eligibility criteria is still being worked out for the bonus program, but officials expect up to 43,000 Nova Scotia health-care workers to be eligible for it. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia will provide a cash bonus for front-line health-care workers who are part of the province's COVID-19 response.

In a news release, the province said it will contribute $13.4 million to the program and the federal government will contribute $80.5 million.

The program allows health-care workers to receive a bonus of up to $2,000 after a four-month period, beginning March 13. Up to 43,000 health-care workers in Nova Scotia are expected to be eligible for the Essential Health Care Workers Program.

Eligibility criteria is still being worked out, but so far includes full-time, part-time and casual employees of:

  • The Nova Scotia Health Authority, including support workers, nurses, clerical staff and health-care workers.

  • The IWK Health Centre, including support workers, nurses, clerical staff and health-care workers.

  • Long-term care staff, including continuing care assistants, residential care attendants, nurses and professional staff such as physiotherapists. It would include dietary and kitchen staff at Northwood as well.

  • Home care staff, including home care and health support workers, continuing care assistants and nurses.

  • Emergency Health Services staff, such as paramedics.

  • Employees who volunteered to be redeployed to work at a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak will also receive this benefit.

Eligible employees who work during the pandemic can receive the benefit, but employees will need to work during all four months to receive the maximum benefit.

Those who work during the four months, but are then placed on isolation, quarantine or COVID-19 sick leave are also eligible for the benefit.

The province said it expects to share more information soon about eligibility.

The Northwood long-term care home in Halifax has been the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nova Scotia. (Robert Short/CBC)

Three more COVID-19 deaths at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax brought the province's death count from the virus to 44 on Thursday.

So far, 38 people at Northwood have died from COVID-19.

"We're doing everything we can to bring the situation at Northwood under control," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said in a statement on Thursday.

"Our number one concern is responding to this unprecedented public health emergency has always been, and continues to be, the safety and well-being of everyone."

There are three licensed long-term care homes in Nova Scotia, including Northwood, with cases of COVID-19. Northwood has 156 residents and 46 staff with active cases of the virus. The other two facilities each have one staff member with an active case of COVID-19.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority's COVID-19 map for Thursday, May 7, 2020. (Nova Scotia Health Authority)

To date, Nova Scotia has 1,007 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Nine of the latest cases were reported on Thursday.

People with confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90. Five people are in hospital because of COVID-19 and two of them are in intensive care. So far, 708 people have recovered.

Nova Scotia has had 32,289 negative test results of the virus so far.

The QEII Microbiology lab completed 875 Nova Scotia tests on Wednesday.

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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