Nova Scotia

COVID-19 deaths in Nova Scotia hit 51 after 3 more announced at Northwood

Three more residents at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax have died of COVID-19, the province reported Wednesday. It also said four new cases of the virus have been identified in Nova Scotia, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 1,024.

Province also announced 4 new cases of virus, bringing total of confirmed cases to 1,024

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang at the Wednesday, May 13, 2020, COVID-19 briefing. (CBC)

Three more residents at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax have died of COVID-19, the province reported Wednesday.

Of the province's 51 deaths from COVID-19, 45 have been at Northwood, which has been the epicentre of the virus's outbreak in Nova Scotia.

Four new cases that were identified through testing on Tuesday also came from Northwood, the province's chief medical officer of health said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The provincial total of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia is 1,024. About 85 per cent of those people have recovered. Nine people are in hospital, with four of them in intensive care.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said in the last 48 hours, work was done to ensure the province's data reflects the accurate number of active cases at long-term care homes. He said that's why active cases at Northwood dropped from 157 on Tuesday to 64 on Wednesday.

Strang said the active cases among staff rose from eight to 13. He said this is a result of five staff who were previously listed as recovered, but were actually still sick.

"I noticed yesterday lots of people were doing math and so we want to make sure you understand if there's differences in the numbers you see today," he said.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority's COVID-19 map for Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (Nova Scotia Health Authority)

On Tuesday, Strang said all community outbreaks — or "clusters" of cases — were resolved, and there are only sporadic cases appearing in communities even within the Halifax Regional Municipality, which has seen the most COVID-19 activity.

However, Strang cautioned people must continue to take precautions against spreading the virus.

At the end of the press briefing, Premier Stephen McNeil addressed questions about when Nova Scotia's economy will reopen.

McNeil said Strang is still in the midst of consultations and explaining guidelines and protocols to businesses, labour unions and associations. He said those groups will then have to work with their own members to operate under public health protocols.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil noted that while some other provinces have started reopening their economies, Nova Scotia was the last province to have a confirmed case of COVID-19. (CBC)

When the consultations are complete and Strang has seen "good results on flattening the curve," he will advise the government on "his comfort level" in reopening the economy. After that, McNeil said he will have a specific date and plan to share.

"Other provinces have already opened up, some quicker than others. We are among the last, but remember, we were the last to receive COVID," McNeil said.

"This is not a competition, we are not in a race. We need to be safe. We need to continue to see a pattern of fewer cases."

Symptoms to look for

As of Tuesday, the province had 34,604 negative test results. The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 502 tests on Tuesday.

The province recently expanded the list of symptoms being screened for COVID-19. They are:

  • 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.