Increased use of masks needed in Nova Scotia long-term care homes during coronavirus pandemic: Defender – Halifax

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When the Nova Scotia government closed long-term care homes to non-essential visitors, it was a measure to protect vulnerable residents from the new coronavirus.

However, with four facilities in the province experiencing outbreaks among staff, residents or both, some believe that a step may have been missed in the province’s guidelines for long-term care operators.

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“We believe masks should be used wherever possible in long-term care homes,” said Bill VanGorder, senior spokesperson for the marine section of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. “I think we will have learned from this for another time that masks are good protection and just good for making people feel more comfortable.

“Hindsight is always the best,” he said. “It’s a bit like the best time to plant a tree 20 years ago, the second best time today is. “

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VanGorder compared long-term care homes to cruise ships, responsible for some of the biggest epidemics of the pandemic, due to the proximity of residents and staff.

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Although admission protocols have been accelerated since the start of closure, including temperature controls for anyone entering an establishment, the process does not eliminate the potential for an epidemic, as asymptomatic people could enter and unknowingly infecting the population, says VanGorder.

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He says that serious situations like the COVID-19 pandemic can cause high anxiety and fear in the elderly, and that more stringent procedures could go a long way to alleviate these concerns, not to mention reducing the risk. real.

“We really think that masks are something that needs to be really looked at through this whole crisis and to make sure that the next time we make the right decision and take it early,” he said.

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VanGorder said the pandemic also underscores the need for an overhaul of Nova Scotia’s long-term care sector, saying the understaffing has kept the dire situation going for some time.

“We should have solved the problem of staffing in long-term care homes years ago and we still have not done it,” he said. “If we want to learn anything from the COVID-19 crisis, it is that we have to solve this problem. “

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Global News has made several attempts to contact the government to find out whether masks and other personal protective equipment would be required in long-term care homes. But questions posed by Global News via the provincial inquiry line COVID-19 remained unanswered.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you should know:

Health authorities warn against all international travel. Return travelers are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days, starting March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent the spread of the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to provide self-isolation for people returning to the region.

Symptoms may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or the flu. Some people may develop a more serious illness. Those most at risk are the elderly and people with serious chronic conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend washing your hands frequently and coughing up your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying at home as much as possible, and keeping two meters away from others if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage by Global News, click here.

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