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Nova Scotia’s premier encourages residents to support local as businesses reopen

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HALIFAX —
As Nova Scotians count down the days until the province reopens, Premier Stephen McNeil is thanking them for working hard to follow protocols and flatten the curve.

“We haven’t had a lot of good news in this province in the last few months, but when I wake up and see the low numbers and feel the level of relief and gratitude, knowing what all of you have been doing to keep Nova Scotians safe,” says MaNeil.

“We have said all along that we are in this together and you have proven that every day.”

The premier is reassuring Nova Scotians that testing will continue and immediate action will be taken if there is a spike in cases.

“I know many of you are nervous but we have to get our economy moving again. We are taking it slow, we are reducing capacity, protocols will be in place, and we need everyone to follow them. I believe we all understand the importance of self-distancing and wearing a mask,” says McNeil.

“What’s really important is for all of you to support your local businesses. They need you and they want to welcome you back. So think local, buy local, support local. That makes us Nova Scotia strong and Nova Scotia proud.”

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says every sector that was closed down under the public health order has submitted their reopen plans, however not all of them have had final approval.

“There are a few that are in the final stages. I have a number of emails and plans that I have to approve later today, but we are in a place that everybody has a plan at least somewhere in the process. The majority have already been sent back and approved,” says Strang.

Customer experience will be different

When businesses reopen, Strang says the customer experience will be different and expectations should be adjusted accordingly.

“Whether you are going to a restaurant, whether you are going to a hair salon, whether you continue to go shopping, your experience will look different,” says Strang.

“Certainly in restaurants we know you can expect tables to be further apart, so that they can maintain that six-foot social distancing. There are other public health measures that support better handwashing, controlling how people move around in a restaurant or a bar space, and limitations on the type of activities that can happen in terms of entertainment and dancing.”

Bubble rules still apply

Strang also clarified that, at this time, they are not ready to have people from multiple households come together at a single table at a restaurant.

“The physical distancing requirements and the rules around household bubbles and family household bubbles haven’t changed and they pertain to restaurants and bars, like everywhere else,” says Strang.

“While people may be at tables in up to groups of 10, unless they can be separated by six feet while they are at that single table, which is not likely, they have to be people from the same household or household bubble.”

Public health is working with business and community partners to create environments that support public health requirements.

“At the end of the day, there is an obligation and a need for all Nova Scotians to participate and follow those public health requirements that are being put in place in all our public spaces and retail and business places,” says Strang.

“One of the critical things is that, people need to understand that if you are not feeling well, then it is not the time to go out. You may have COVID-19. If you meet any of the symptoms, if you are not sure do the 811 online assessment, but if you are not feeling well it is critically important that you not go out and potentially expose others to COVID-19.”

CERB

When the pandemic hit, the federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), designed to help people who lost income due to COVID-19. The program is available until Oct. 3 and provides successful applicants with $2,000 a month for up to four months.

As businesses prepare to reopen in Nova Scotia, one of the challenges presented is the reality that some employees who receive CERB are making more to stay home than go to work.

“I strongly encourage all Nova Scotians to take the opportunity to go back to work. While it may have a short-term impact, your hard work and effort in the business you are working with will determine the long-term future of that business and, quite frankly, your long-term employment,” says McNeil.

“Let’s not look at this in the short term, let’s look at this in the long term. Every business needs its employees to go back to work to help with the viability and that means that that business will be there for years to come, not just for a few months when we know that CERB program is going to run out.”

Public schools

With businesses opening on June 5 and daycares not far behind, many Nova Scotians are wondering about the status of public schools.

“We haven’t started a conversation yet about public schools, it’s coming very soon,” says Strang.

“I know we’ve got some meetings coming up in the next couple of weeks. Understanding that we are very busy focusing on getting to Friday and then we are focusing on working on our daycares who are coming soon, so we haven’t had a detailed conversation yet about schools but we need to get there.”

New case in eastern zone

For the first time in over three weeks, a new case of COVID-19 has been identified in Nova Scotia’s eastern zone.

The province last reported a new case of the virus in the eastern zone on May 10.  The eastern zone now has 52 cases of COVID-19.

Strang said Wednesday that the person who tested positive had travelled outside of Nova Scotia.

“Fortunately, this individual followed public health protocol and was in self-isolation from the time they returned to the province, and had minimal exposure at the time they may have been infectious,” said Strang during a news conference in Halifax.

The province isn’t reporting any additional cases, or deaths, at this time.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 639 Nova Scotia tests on Tuesday.

To date, Nova Scotia has 43,340 negative test results, 1,058 positive COVID-19 test results and 60 deaths.

Fifty-three of the deaths have been at Halifax’s Northwood long-term care home, which has seen the most significant outbreak in the province.

A Halifax law firm is proposing a class-action lawsuit against the facility, claiming normal standards of care weren’t met to protect against infection from COVID-19.

993 people recovered

The province says one more person has recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 993 recoveries.

This would leave five active cases in all of Nova Scotia. However, Northwood is still reporting five active cases involving three residents and two staff members.

During the pandemic, there has been confusion over the number of recovered and active cases reported by the province, which don’t always match up with the numbers reported at Northwood.

Strang has explained that the data from long-term care homes comes from a different data source than the one used by public health and is on a different timeline. As a result, the data doesn’t always reconcile.

Two more people released from hospital

The province says two more people have been released from hospital. There are now three people in hospital, with one patient in the intensive care unit.

The province’s confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.

Sixty-two per cent of cases are female and 38 per cent are male.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality, has seen the largest number of cases.

The western, central and northern zones are reporting no additional cases at this time.

  • western zone: 54 cases
  • central zone: 907 cases
  • northern zone: 45 cases
  • eastern zone: 52 cases

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public for 14 days.

Anyone who travels outside of Nova Scotia must also self-isolate for two weeks.

The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to June 14.

COVID-19 symptoms

Last month, the province expanded the list of symptoms for which it is screening.

Anyone who experiences one of the following symptoms is encouraged to take an online test to determine if they should call 811 for further assessment:

  • fever (i.e. chills, sweats)
  • cough or worsening of a previous cough
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • shortness of breath
  • muscle aches
  • sneezing
  • nasal congestion/runny nose
  • hoarse voice
  • diarrhea
  • unusual fatigue
  • loss of sense of smell or taste

Source- CTV News

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New Brunswick leaves Atlantic bubble as Nova Scotia reports 14 new COVID-19 cases Thursday – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Nova Scotia is reporting 14 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 114.

Twelve of the new cases are in the central health zone, which includes Halifax, Eastern Shore and West Hants. The other remaining cases are in the northern zone and the western zone.

It’s not clear whether the new cases are related to previously reported ones.

In a live briefing Thursday, Blair Higgs, the premier of New Brunswick, announced that New Brunswick will leave the Atlantic bubble.

“Effective midnight tonight, we’re resorting back to our original 14-days isolation for anyone from anywhere travelling into New Brunswick,” he said.

Exemptions for essential travel will continue, he added.

New Brunswick is the third province to reinstate the 14-day isolation for travellers from within Atlantic Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. made the changes on Monday.

Negative, left, and positive rapid tests are seen at the rapid-testing pop-up site in the Richard Murray Design Building in Halifax on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. – Tim Krochak

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,253 Nova Scotia tests on Wednesday, the highest number of tests reported to date. There were 856 tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in downtown Halifax on that day.

Five presumptive positive cases were identified at the pop-up site. The individuals were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test. Cases identified through rapid testing won’t be added to the total number of cases until they are confirmed by a standard test.

Rapid-testing clinics are targeted at people in the 18-35 age group or those who have been to or work at a bar in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Locations and times of the pop-up clinics, which could change every time, are announced on social media.

“We’ve seen a great uptake for asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons. People are showing us how much they care about their communities by going to these pop-up rapid testing locations,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health in a news release. “This has allowed us to detect a few cases among asymptomatic people early on and helps to stop the spread of the virus.”

Late Wednesday evening, the Department of Health and Wellness released a new list of potential exposure sites, which includes numerous establishments across Halifax. And on Thursday evening, an additional six locations were added:

  • Stillwell (1672 Barrington St., Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 6 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 4.
  • Bearly’s House of Blues and Ribs (1269 Barrington St., Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 8:30 p.m. and 2 a.m. Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 4.
  • Highwayman (1673 Barrington St., Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 7:30 p.m. and 12 a.m. Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 5.
  • Gahan House (5239 Sackville St., Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 5.
  • Princess Nails (1475 Bedford Highway, Bedford) on Nov. 21 between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 5.
  • Boston Pizza Dartmouth Crossing (111 Shubie Dr., Dartmouth) on Nov. 20 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and Nov. 22 between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.  Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 6.

The department has created a new website that lists all of the potential exposure sites so far. There were 132 locations on the list as of Thursday evening. 

Starting today, new public health restrictions have come into effect in the Halifax and Hants counties. They include the closure of licensed establishments and bars for dine-in. Museums, libraries, and fitness and recreational facilities are also closed.

Over the past two months, Nova Scotia has had 167 positive COVID-19 cases, 38,434 negative test results. No one is currently in hospital.

A rapid COVID-19 test being administered at a pop-up COVID-19 testing site in the Ricard Murray Design Building on Morris Street in Halifax on Tuesday Nov. 24, 2020. -  - Tim Krochak
A rapid COVID-19 test being administered at a pop-up COVID-19 testing site in the Ricard Murray Design Building on Morris Street in Halifax on Tuesday Nov. 24, 2020. – – Tim Krochak

Numbers in Atlantic Canada

New Brunswick has 105 active cases as it reported 12 new cases Thursday.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 28.

Prince Edward Island has two active cases. No new cases were reported Thursday.

COVID-19 symptoms

Anyone who is currently experiencing or has experienced within the last 48 hours one of the following symptoms should visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca for a self-assessment:

  • new or worsening cough
  • fever (i.e. chills or sweats)

People should also visit the website if they are experiencing two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):

  • sore throat
  • runny nose or nasal congestion
  • headache
  • shortness of breath

People can also call 811 if they can’t access the website or if they wish to speak to a nurse. Anyone experiencing symptoms should self-isolate until they receive advice from Public Health on what to do next.

Online booking for COVID-19 tests is available for all primary assessment sites. The swish and gargle COVID-19 test is available at all centres for children aged four to 18.

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Nov. 27 – CBC.ca

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THE LATEST:

  • Health officials will provide their daily update in a live briefing at 3 p.m. PT.
  • 887 new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Thursday, along with 13 more deaths.
  • There have been 29,973 confirmed cases in the province to date.
  • There are 7,899 people with active cases of the disease across B.C.
  • 294 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 64 in intensive care.
  • 384 people have now died of the disease.

B.C.’s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of slowing, with another 887 new cases confirmed on Thursday and 13 more deaths.

That brings the number of active cases in the province to 7,899. A total of 294 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 64 in intensive care.

The Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions continue to drive this phase of the pandemic, accounting for 88 per cent of the new cases announced Thursday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix urged everyone to stick with public health measures meant to stem the spread of the disease.

“Slow and steady is what we need with COVID-19 and it is how we will get through this second wave. The efforts we make each day make a difference,” they said.

Henry and Dix are scheduled to give an update on the pandemic response in a live briefing at 3 p.m. PT.

It comes a little more than a week after strict new restrictions and rules were put in place in B.C., including wide-ranging mask orders for indoor public and retail environments.

Health officials have told British Columbians to pause all social interactions and be vigilant applying different layers of protection, including physical distancing, washing hands and using masks.

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What’s happening elsewhere in Canada

There have now been more than 353,097 cases of COVID-19 in Canada.

On Thursday, federal officials sought to reassure Canadians that they have a plan to procure and distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said as many as six million doses could be deployed in the first three months of the new year.

Canada is expected to receive at least 194 million vaccine doses, with contractual options for 220 million more. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they’re mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or o​​​​​​ther extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

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Province offers grant to Halifax-area businesses ordered closed under new COVID rules – Preeceville Progress

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Halifax-area businesses ordered closed in an effort to curb the city’s rising number of COVID-19 cases are getting another round of financial support from the province.

Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said Thursday that the province would offer a one-time grant of up to $5,000 to small, independently owned bars, dine-in restaurants and fitness and leisure centres.

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The businesses are among those that are now closed for at least the next two weeks under health measures that took effect Thursday.

MacLellan said it’s the third round for a grant which is part of a larger $50-million relief fund for business.

“Those who received this in the past will be fast-tracked,” he told reporters following a cabinet meeting. “If there are any that didn’t apply . . . they still will be eligible.”

Businesses can use the grant money for any operational expenses, such as wages and supplies. To be eligible, businesses must have been operating since March 15. There is no cap on annual revenues.

“It’s not going to solve everyone’s problem. We always wish we could do more,” MacLellan said.

Under the new restrictions, retail stores can remain open, but they have to limit the number of shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of their legal capacity.

MacLellan said while retailers aren’t part of the targeted relief package, his department will monitor the impact on their business over what is hoped will be only a two-week period before the measures can be lifted.

The province reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, including 12 in the Halifax area, one in the northern health zone and one in the western zone.

It said 856 tests were administered at the rapid-testing site in downtown Halifax on Wednesday, and there were five positive results. The individuals were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test.

“We’ve seen a great uptake for asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons,” Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health said in a news release.

“People are showing us how much they care about their communities by going to these pop-up rapid-testing locations. This has allowed us to detect a few cases among asymptomatic people early on and helps to stop the spread of the virus.”

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has reported 167 COVID-19 cases, and it has had 1,257 cases and 65 deaths since the pandemic began.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said companies had to have between $25,000 and $300,000 in annual sales to be eligible.

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