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Three N.S. doctors named to COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Leadership Group – CTV News

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HALIFAX —
Three Nova Scotia health research leaders have been appointed to Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Leadership Group.

Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, VP Research & Innovation of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), Dr. Susan Kirkland, Chief of Community Health and Epidemiology, NSHA and Dalhousie University and Dr. Scott Halperin, director of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology, a partnership of Dalhousie, IWK Health Centre and NSHA have all been named to the task force leadership group.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the establishment of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Leadership Group on April 23rd as part of a broader announcement of new federal investments in research and innovation.

“Joining this task force is a privilege and opportunity to bring forward the voice of Nova Scotia health care research and innovation to this critical discussion,” said Dr. Tomblin Murphy in a news release. “Building on the wealth of experience, knowledge and resources from across health care, government, and academic leadership teams, we are able to leverage our collective expertise for a Canadian solution. This coordinated approach will ensure that we have the agility and insight to respond quickly with research-informed results for federal, provincial and territorial decision-makers.”

The primary mission of the task force is to harness the power of COVID-19 antibody blood tests to identify and map those who have had previous infection/exposure to the virus and therefore potential immunity. This essential population-based evidence will inform critical decision-making and policy development as our governments guide us through a safe re-opening strategy and later an immunization matrix to prioritize groups at risk.

“It is this leadership and expertise that positions our Nova Scotia research community as vital contributors who will help inform COVID-19 national research in order to achieve the best health outcomes for all Canadians,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, CEO of NSHA.   

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Nova Scotia reports no new cases of COVID-19 for first time since March – Brandon Sun

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HALIFAX – Nova Scotia increased its social gathering limit on Friday as the province reported no new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since its initial infections were identified in mid-March.

Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, called the development a “significant and encouraging milestone” in a province that has seen a continuing downward trend in new cases over recent weeks.

It kept the total number of confirmed cases at 1,055, including 978 people who have recovered from the virus. Eight people are currently in hospital and three of them are in intensive care.

“It hasn’t been easy but we are seeing positive results,” said Strang.

Nova Scotia announced more details of a reopening plan set for next Friday, even as neighbouring New Brunswick put the brakes on expanding the current phase of its plan. That province is dealing with a growing cluster of new cases in the Campbellton area, allegedly caused by a health-care worker who returned from Quebec and didn’t self-isolate.

Strang was asked about what lessons Nova Scotia could take from the Campbellton outbreak.

“The message in that is really about the importance of self-isolation when you cross borders,” he said. “What it shows us is the importance of very closely monitoring our borders. We need to be very thoughtful and careful about how we lift those border restrictions.”

Premier Stephen McNeil announced a new gathering limit of 10 people effective immediately — a doubling from a limit of five that was imposed when health restrictions were put in place in late March.

Physical distancing of two metres would still be required, except among members of the same household or family “bubble.” The limit is the same indoors and outdoors, with exceptions for outdoor weddings and funeral services which can have 15 people.

Strang clarified that when it comes to weddings, that limit of 15 would have to include photographers and caterers if that’s what couples wanted in their ceremonies.

He said the gathering limit also applies to arts and culture activities such as theatre performances and dance recitals, faith gatherings, and sports and physical activity. Businesses such as theatres, concerts, festivals and sporting activities would also have to adhere to the 10-person limit.

“We are watching our epidemiology and will consider expanding the way people can have close social interaction when we see how this first stage in the reopening is going,” said Strang. “It’s very important that we don’t introduce too much risk of COVID-19 at any one time and we have the capacity to monitor the effect of any steps.”

McNeil said that private campgrounds would also be allowed to open, but would only operate at 50 per cent capacity and must ensure public health protocols are followed, including adequate distancing between campsites.

Provincial campgrounds are scheduled to open June 15 at reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of six metres between individual sites.

The latest measures came two days after McNeil announced that most businesses required to close under a public health order in late March would be allowed to open next Friday, provided they are ready with a plan that follows physical distancing protocols.

The list of businesses includes bars and restaurant dining rooms, hair salons, barber shops, gyms and yoga studios, among others.

Some health providers would also be allowed to reopen, including dentistry, optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices. Veterinary services can also operate along with some unregulated professions, such as massage therapy, podiatry and naturopathy.

Earlier Friday, the province announced it would add 23 new long-term care beds because of a need resulting from some facilities slowing or stopping admissions during the pandemic.

It said it is entering into an agreement with Shannex RLC Ltd. to convert a floor at the Caritas Residence, a private assisted-living home in Bedford, N.S., into nursing home beds.

Residents would be able to move into the facility in early June and will be tested for the virus before being admitted.

According to the government, there are 132-long term care facilities in Nova Scotia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020.

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Nova Scotia reports 1 more death at Northwood, 1 new case of coronavrius – Globalnews.ca

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“Our thoughts are with those who are mourning at this time. I recognize how difficult it can be for family and friends to grieve with restrictions in place,” said Premier Stephen McNeil, in a press release.“As these restrictions are loosened over the next week, I ask all Nova Scotians to continue to respect the rules and follow public health advice.”As of Saturday, Nova Scotia confirmed one new case of novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 1,056.“This summer will look very different. I know there are things people want to do and can’t,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health.READ MORE: Nova Scotia to allow 10-person gatherings as no new coronavirus cases announced Friday“I continue to ask for people’s patience, understanding and cooperation. No matter what you do, please respect the rules – practise good hygiene, stay home if you’re feeling unwell, limit large groups and wear non-medical masks when and where appropriate.”The province said the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 694 Nova Scotia tests on May 29 and is operating 24-hours.To date, Nova Scotia has 41,391 negative test results, 1,056 positive COVID-19 test results and 60 deaths.

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Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Saturday May 30, 2020 – Cornwall Newswatch – Cornwall Newswatch

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(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Saturday, May 30, 2020:

  • There have been 27,210 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 344 cases (or 1.3 per cent) from the previous day. There are 20,983 people recovered from the virus while 2,230 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 680,687 of which 13,351 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 89,418. The country has 6,979 deaths from the virus – 164 in British Columbia, 143 in Alberta, 10 in Saskatchewan, seven in Manitoba, 2,230 in Ontario, 4,363 in Quebec, three in Newfoundland & Labrador and 59 in Nova Scotia.
  • A person who has been weeks in an Ottawa intensive care unit has been released and is on the regular floor of the hospital. There are still a total of three in hospital with one other person still in ICU. The number of confirmed cases stayed steady Friday at 147 with 11 deaths and 92 recoveries. Local testing jumped by 273 on Friday to 8,378 tests. The breakdown of cases are 15 in Cornwall (15 resolved), 25 in SD&G (20 resolved) and 107 in Prescott-Russell (57 resolved). There are two active nursing home outbreaks.
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added another case Friday to a total of 342 confirmed cases. There was also another death bringing that total to 50. Ninety per cent of COVID-19 cases (264) have recovered.
  • Officials with Public Health Ontario outlined their next phase of novel coronavirus testing across Ontario. Testing will concentrate on first responders, more essential workers and those in prison settings. It will also concentrate on hot spot areas, where Ontario Public Health would send a strike team into a business, for example, where there’s increased COVID-19 activity.
  • Premier Doug Ford says the government is looking at a regional reopening of the economy. “It’s an option that we’re looking at. Everything is on the table.” Ford says they are getting a better picture of the spread of the disease through more testing and mobile testing units.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the North Country and Central New York could move to the next phase – phase two – of reopening. That includes St. Lawrence County (home to Massena, Potsdam and Canton) and Franklin County (home to Malone). New York’s phase two includes reopening office-based business, in-store retail shopping, and limited barber and hairdressing services. St. Lawrence County has had 201 positive cases to date, which 183 recovered and two deaths.
  • The Children’s Treatment Center will resume in-person counselling with children and parents on Monday, June 8. The center says it will “implement all necessary measures” to provide safety for children, parents and staff members. Executive Director Robert Smith reduced his counselling hours and the center has hired another counsellor, Ashley Dicintio, who previously had a private practice in Cornwall and works at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Center as a women’s social worker.
  • A ban on cruise ships entering Canadian waters has been extended until October. The ban was to expire on July 1.
  • The federal government has rolled out an additional $650 million for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities across Canada. It will go to public health, income assistance and shelters for women and children. That’s in addition to the $305 million already promised.
  • A health care worker in New Brunswick has been suspended after travelling to Quebec and not self-quarantining after returning, choosing instead to go to work. There’s now an outbreak in the Campbellton area with at least six new cases, including two in ICU. The RCMP is investigating.

Have a story or news release related to COVID-19? Send it along for possible inclusion in a future digest on Cornwall Newswatch. Email editor@cornwallnewswatch.com. Please put “COVID-19 Digest” in the subject line.

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