New Brunswick COVID-19 Outbreaks No Increased Risk for Nova Scotians: Strang

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Nova Scotia has no plans to close the border with neighboring New Brunswick, despite the growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in that province.Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Robert Strang said on Wednesday the outbreaks in New Brunswick did not pose an increased risk to Nova Scotians at this time as there was no evidence of spread in the community.

Strang joined Premier Stephen McNeil to provide an update on developments in Moncton and Campbellton, N.B. that province announced eight new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of active COVID cases -19 to 90.

“It’s a stark reminder to all of us, COVID is always on the move and looking for a home,” McNeil said.

Strang said there was no evidence yet of any community spread in New Brunswick. Public health officials in that province have said their cases have been linked to specific outbreaks, including one in a long-term care home in Moncton. Another cluster in Campbellton includes schools and a special care home.

No community spread across NB

People who have tested positive in New Brunswick are in close contact with other infected people or people directly linked to the outbreaks, Strang said.

“What they don’t see, fortunately, are unexplained cases – that there is no way to explain their exposure,” he said.

“So there is nothing to suggest that if you or I went to Moncton or Campbellton tomorrow… we put ourselves at increased risk. ”

The government of Nova Scotia is the only government inside the Atlantic bubble that has yet to issue special guidelines for travelers to New Brunswick’s two hot spots.

Officials in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are discouraging travel to and from Moncton and Campbellton.

To close the border with New Brunswick, Strang said there would have to be a “significant risk” of COVID-19 being introduced to Nova Scotia.

Dr Robert Strang at the COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, October 6. (CBC)

McNeil said the province has offered to help New Brunswick as needed and encouraged Nova Scotians to send positive energy to this province “because we all know kindness matters.”

Some nursing homes in Nova Scotia, particularly in the northern region, have implemented new screening protocols for staff and families who have been able to travel to New Brunswick.

“This is of deep concern for our entire sector,” Michele Lowe, executive director of the Nova Scotia Nursing Home Association, said in an email.

“Although we have had tremendous success in this province, we know COVID is close to [Nova Scotia] and we continue to take all necessary precautions to prevent it from entering. “

Cheating or treating during a pandemic

In Wednesday’s update, McNeil and Strang also touched on Halloween as the end of the month approaches.

Strang said the stuff or the treats and the parties could go ahead but with all the right precautions.

For adults hosting a house party, he said the 10-person no-physical distance rule still applies, and ideally should be reserved for family and close friends. Guests should not share bowls, plates or cups if food and drink is offered.

Strang also said that a Halloween mask is not a substitute for a non-medical mask, as many have breathing holes that defeat the purpose.

For cheaters, Strang encouraged children to stay outside, not yell or sing, and knock on doors with their fingers rather than pushing doorbells or using doorknobs. They should also be in small groups of up to 10.

People who distribute candy should wear masks, and children should wash their hands before digging candy piles.

Rules will not be relaxed due to concerns from trade groups

Strang also addressed concerns raised by the business community, including the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, about what would happen if cases were to resume more and more in Nova Scotia.

He said his team was developing a ‘backtracking plan’ of how and when businesses might need to shut down in another COVID-19 outbreak that could apply to specific communities or areas wider.

This plan will be presented to the corporate sector for comment, Strang said, because it might have creative ways to keep some businesses open while still allowing for proper security measures.

Whatever plan is created, Strang said he needed flexibility to respond to how the virus appears in the province.

Although the chamber of commerce has also called for some restrictions to be relaxed in Nova Scotia, such as restaurant capacity and the lack of physical distance in elevators, Strang said “slackening is not the thing to do. ” for the time being.

He said he emphasized to the business community that good public health is good economy. If Nova Scotia can minimize a second wave, Strang said the economy is recovering faster.

McNeil said he couldn’t “in good conscience” ask Strang to relax the protocols knowing that what the province is doing is working well.

“We’ll be consistent on this until we have a vaccine, and see how we can work with this virus,” McNeil said.

Nova Scotia reports no new cases

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Nova Scotia on Wednesday after the province performed 401 tests for the virus.

There are currently four active cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia and one person is hospitalized in intensive care.

The last cases of the virus in Nova Scotia were reported on Saturday. Two of those cases were travel-related and a third was close contact with travelers, according to the Department of Health and Wellness. All three have self-isolated.

The latest figures for the Atlantic bubble are:

  • New Brunswick had eight new cases on Wednesday and there are a total of 90 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
  • Prince Edward Island had no new cases reported on Tuesday. There are three active cases in Prince Edward Island
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and has eight known active cases.

Symptoms

Anyone with any of the following symptoms of COVID-19 should visit the COVID-19 Self-Assessment website or call 811:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also encouraged to visit the website or call 811:

  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.

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