Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health says there is a very real risk of people being lulled into a false sense of security as the province’s COVID-19 curve flattens.
Dr. Robert Strang made the comments Monday, the first day since March that the province announced no active cases of the coronavirus.
Many people continue to follow public health directives, including physical distancing, gathering restrictions, regular handwashing and coughing etiquette, but Strang said he’s also seeing evidence of people who are not.
“We need everybody to understand that the way we keep our economy and our communities open is for everybody to practise all those public health measures,” he said in a telephone interview.
Those measures will continue to change and evolve based on epidemiology, said Strang. One possible example is the use of masks.
Although the World Health Organization and Public Health Agency of Canada recommend people wear masks in public, Strang noted the WHO recommendation targets areas with known or suspected community transmission, and both recommendations are then adjusted based on local epidemiology.
In Nova Scotia, where the risk of someone having COVID-19 is low, Strang’s office recommends people consider wearing a mask when they’re in public around people where physical distancing isn’t possible, such as on the bus or at the grocery store.
That recommendation could change, however, as the province considers further easing of restrictions by opening up Nova Scotia to travellers from other provinces.
“The real risk now for Nova Scotians is the reintroduction of COVID into the province,” said Strang.
“What we’ve talked about is actually not waiting for perhaps more cases to occur, but having a stronger recommendation around masks at that time, because that would build another layer of prevention as more people come into the province.”
Atlantic bubble could come soon
Last week, Premier Stephen McNeil and his counterparts talked about the prospect of an Atlantic bubble forming soon, which would allow people to pass through the four Atlantic provinces without having to self-isolate for 14 days. McNeil also said he’d like to see the province open to the rest of the country by mid-July.
Although nothing has been settled, Strang said he thinks the Atlantic bubble is the right place to begin. That kind of a change would need to be observed before further changes could be made, he said.
Strang said the opening of borders is being discussed regularly with his counterparts across the country, and would partly depend on the situation in Quebec and Ontario, where COVID-19 continues to prove stubborn in certain areas.
“No decisions have been made at all around timing or even definitive commitment to do anything around border restrictions,” he said.
The job for public health officials continues to be finding the balance between how to open things up, but in a way that doesn’t take on unnecessary risk, said Strang.
Learning to live with COVID-19
People need to accept there’s a strong likelihood there will be more cases of COVID-19 in the province. The real issue, said Strang, is whether those are sporadic cases that public health can quickly recognize and isolate, or if it’s something more significant.
“If you have wide community spread, then you also have the risk of reintroduction into higher-risk settings like long-term care homes or a homeless shelter,” he said.
If a few cases of the coronavirus do emerge, it doesn’t mean the system has failed or that everything needs to be immediately shut down again, said Strang.
Rather, people need to learn to live with having some level of the disease in their community, something that can be achieved by following public health protocols and maintaining the increased capacity that’s been built into the system in the last three months through screening at 811, lab testing and follow-up monitoring by public health staff.
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COVID-19: Vancouver bar patrons may have been exposed to virus – Vancouver Sun
Vancouver Coastal Health is alerting bar patrons who were at Vancouver’s Hotel Belmont a week ago that they may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
The VCH says individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 were at the hotel’s bar and nightclub on both June 27 and 29.
Bar-goers who patronized the Hotel Belmont, located at the corner of Nelson and Granville streets, on either of those nights are advised to monitor themselves for 14 days.
“As long as they remain healthy and do not develop symptoms, there is no need to self-isolate and they should continue with their usual daily activities. If you have no symptoms, testing is not recommended because it is not accurate or useful,” the VCH said in a statement.
“If you develop any of these symptoms of COVID-19, please seek COVID-19 testing and immediately self-isolate. Please call ahead and wear a mask when seeking testing.”
The VCH said there is no known risk to anyone who were at the Hotel Belmont outside these two dates.
30 Vaughan mushroom farm workers test positive for coronavirus: York health – 680 News
York Region Public Health says 30 workers at a Vaughan-area mushroom farm have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The health unit said the “workplace cluster” is at the Ravine Mushroom Farm, located on King Vaughan Road, which is in between Weston Road and Pine Valley Drive. They said they were first made aware of the situation on June 27.
Twenty-four of the individuals who tested positive for the virus are residents of the region, the health unit said in a notice on their website.
The outbreak is considered large, said Dr. Karim Kurjii, the medical officer of health for the region in a YouTube update Monday.
“We have one large outbreak at a farm and a few cases each at several farms in York Region,” he said. “These have been proactively identified with our hospital partners, in particular, South Lake Hospital.”
He added that public health inspectors have visited the sites.
“Our public health inspectors have been into these farms in order to give infection prevention and control advice to the farmers, as well as ensure the living conditions are adequate,” he said.
Kurjii did not list what other farms were experiencing these outbreaks.
York health said they conducted risk assessments on the infected individuals at the Vaughan site and determined that the risk to the general public is low.
London-Middlesex may enter Stage 3 of reopening near the end of July: MLHU – Globalnews.ca
London-Middlesex is on its way to enter Stage 3 of Ontario’s novel coronavirus reopening plan, according to London’s chief medical officer of health.
Dr. Chris Mackie said Monday that he’s hopeful the region will be given the green light to move ahead with the province’s reopening plan within the next few weeks.
“I think (we) could see a move to Stage 3 over the next two to three weeks. I would not be surprised at all to see that,” said Mackie.
“I also think that it’s likely the province will choose to do a regional approach as they did with the Stage 2 reopening.”
Mackie also commented on Leamington and Kingsville in Essex county entering Stage 2 as of Tuesday, saying it is a sign that “this region is really getting COVID-19 under control.”
According to the Province of Ontario, in Stage 3 the province will consider opening more workplaces, dine-in restaurants, and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, including playgrounds.
Casinos, fitness facilities and amusement parks are also on the list, all with added public health measures in place.
London-Middlesex has not seen any new cases of COVID-19 for two days in a row. The last reported death in the region related to the virus was June 12.
As of Monday, there are 630 confirmed cases in the region, which includes 57 deaths and 515 recoveries.
Coronavirus: Ontario health minister says there’s ‘hope’ for move to stage 3 soon
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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