As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Nova Scotia, the best doctor in the province says he is reassured by some of the figures he sees.
On Wednesday, the province announced 32 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Nova Scotia to 549.
But chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said that the fact that most people are negative and that few have been hospitalized are positive signs.
“This is a good story, for me,” said Strang at a press conference in Halifax Wednesday afternoon.
“We test a lot of people; the vast majority of people have a negative test and we have put in place the appropriate measures to deal with people who have a positive test result. “
The microbiology laboratory at the QEII Health Sciences Center performed 885 tests on Tuesday and operates 24 hours a day.
To date, Nova Scotia has 17,419 negative test results and 549 positive results.
Confirmed cases range from less than 10 years to over 90 years of age.
Forty-nine percent of the cases are women and 52% are men.
The province says 137 people have recovered from the virus and their cases are considered resolved.
Nine people are currently hospitalized. Four of these patients are in intensive care units.
Strang said most of those hospitalized had been there “for a long time” and that there had been no significant increase in the number of hospitalizations.
Strang said he doesn’t see any significant impacts on the health care system at the moment and expects most Nova Scotians to recover.
However, he warned that now is not the time to be complacent or to relax the rules related to COVID-19.
“All the good signs that what we’re doing is having an impact,” said Strang. “Even if what we do is beneficial, we must stick to it. We still have weeks to come. “
Three Nova Scotians died of complications from the virus, including a woman in her 70s, a woman in the 90s and a man in the 80s.
Health officials say the three people all had underlying health conditions.
When can we expect a spike in cases?
Strang said Nova Scotia is likely to see a wave of COVID-19 in late April or early May.
“It’s sort of a better estimate,” he said. “We will see over time, but this is probably where we will see it. “
He said that once Nova Scotia reaches its peak, there will not be a sharp decline in cases, but rather a gradual decline.
As a result, he says it will likely be in June until some of the measures and restrictions in place can be relaxed.
“Even when we start to relax these measures, it’s not like we flip a switch,” said Strang. “We have to remove them carefully and gradually, monitoring the epidemiology of the disease as we go along and being ready to correct it if necessary.”
Where are the cases located?
Health officials say there are cases across the province. More information on the distribution of cases is available on an online map.
The map breaks the cases down into the four Nova Scotia Health Authority areas and indicates where the tests were done, not necessarily where the individuals live.
The Central Zone, which contains the Regional Municipality of Halifax, has had the highest number of COVID-19 cases.
Twenty-nine of the 32 new cases from Nova Scotia have been confirmed in the central area.
The western area has had no new cases, the northern area has confirmed one new case and the eastern area has two new cases.
West zone: 46 cases
Central area: 426 cases
North zone: 35 cases
East zone: 42 cases
Most cases in Nova Scotia are related to travel or a known case of COVID-19, but there is a spread in the community.
As a result, trips have been removed as a requirement for testing.
Symptoms and self-isolation
The province has also expanded the list of symptoms it screens for.
Anyone experiencing two or more of the following symptoms is encouraged to complete an online questionnaire to determine if they should call 811 for further assessment.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate themselves, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who has traveled outside the province must also isolate themselves for two weeks.
Break physical distance rules to help people with disabilities
Strang said it was okay to break the rules on physical removal to help people with disabilities who needed help.
“Many blind and partially sighted people may be independent, but there may be circumstances where they really need the help of someone who can demand that someone breaks the rule of social distancing,” said Strang. .
“So I ask people to know that if there is someone who is visually impaired and seems to need help, offer to help. Even if it means you have to break that social distance, it’s OK under these circumstances. “
Grocery shopping during the pandemic
Strang said he hears security concerns related to the grocery store and plans to discuss the matter with colleagues across the country.
A number of grocery store workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, which has resulted in the temporary closure of some stores as a precaution.
Strang noted that while some workers were positive, they may not have contracted the virus from the store.
He said many stores have taken steps to reduce the spread of the virus, including limiting the number of people inside the store, reducing one-way aisles and installing Plexiglas at checkouts.
“The public also has a role to play,” he said. “There are ways for us as an audience to keep our grocery stores, which are essential for all of us, as safe as possible.”
Strang said this includes having someone from the household go to the store once a week or shop online, if possible.