NS will ease restrictions on visitors to long-term care homes and make masks mandatory on public transit

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HALIFAX – Residents of Nova Scotia long-term care facilities will soon be able to enjoy visits with more of their loved ones and the resumption of certain activities. The provincial government announced further relaxation of restrictions on COVID-19 in long-term care homes at a press conference on Friday.

The changes will allow residents to visit more people outside and limit indoor visits.

Long-term care facilities can implement the following changes on July 22:

  • Interior and exterior visits will be allowed with a limited number of visitors. Appointments must be scheduled.

  • Residents and visitors should wear masks and observe physical distance, except for limited physical contact, such as a hug.

  • Residents and staff can meet in groups of 10 or less for dinner, entertainment or socializing without physical distancing. Groups must remain consistent and visitors cannot join.

  • Tourist bus tours for groups of up to 10 people, including residents, staff and the driver, are permitted. However, residents and staff cannot get off the bus and the vehicle must be thoroughly cleaned before and after each trip.

  • Licensed hair salons in long-term care homes may reopen to serve residents only.

The province says long-term care homes can decide what changes to make.

Adult shelters and regional rehabilitation centers approved by the Minister of Community Services can also organize interior visits according to the same guidelines.

MASKS

The Nova Scotia government also announced Friday that drivers and passengers will be required to wear non-medical masks on public transit starting July 24.

The mandatory mask requirement applies to municipal buses and ferries, school buses, public transport vehicles and private taxis and shuttles.

Children under two years of age and those with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask are exempt.

The provincial government will help public transit provide masks for those who cannot bring their own, but passengers are encouraged to use their own masks whenever possible.

NO NEW COVID-19 CASES

On Friday, for the second day in a row, the province reported no new cases of COVID-19, although it tested nearly 1,000 people on Wednesday and Thursday.

The microbiology laboratory at the QEII Health Sciences Center performed 499 tests in Nova Scotia on Wednesday and 491 tests on Thursday.

To date, Nova Scotia has 59,124 negative test results.

TWO ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19

The number of confirmed cases remains at 1,067, but 1,002 cases are considered resolved and 63 people have died, leaving two active cases in the province.

Among the 63 Nova Scotians who died from COVID-19, 53 residents of Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.

There are no active cases of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility and the Northwood epidemic is considered to be resolved.

There are also no more hospital patients due to COVID-19.

Confirmed cases in the province range from less than 10 years to more than 90 years.

Sixty-one percent of the cases are women and 39 percent are men.

There are confirmed cases across the province, but most have been identified in the central zone, which contains the Regional Municipality of Halifax.

The provincial government says cumulative cases by area may change as the data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.

The figures reflect a person’s place of residence, not the place where their sample was taken.

  • west zone: 54 cases

  • central area: 903 cases

  • northern zone: 57 cases

  • east zone: 53 cases

The provincial state of emergency was extended until July 26.

SYMPTOMS AND SELF-INSULATION

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate themselves at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone traveling to Nova Scotia outside the Atlantic region must also isolate themselves for 14 days and must complete an online self-declaration form before coming to the province.

Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are no longer required to isolate themselves when traveling to Nova Scotia, but must provide proof from their place of residence at provincial borders.

Anyone who experiences any 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, sweating)

  • cough or worsening of a previous cough

  • sore throat

  • headache

  • shortness of breath

  • muscle aches

  • sneezing

  • runny nose / runny nose

  • hoarsely

  • diarrhea

  • unusual tiredness

  • loss of smell or taste

  • red, purple or bluish lesions on the feet, toes, or fingers without a clear cause

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