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• There are two more positive COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, bringing the total to 14. Both of the new cases are travel-related. One of the 14 people has recently been hospitalized; “they are doing well,” said Dr. Robert Strang;
• The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) has warned people about possible “low-risk” exposure at a basketball tournament held March 5-7 at the Halifax Grammar School gymnasium and the Homburg Athletic Centre gymnasium at Saint Mary’s University; those who had close contact with the infected person have been contacted, and if anyone else was infected, they should develop symptoms by this Saturday, March 21;
• Someone who is part of “the Dalhousie community” has been diagnosed with COVID-19; no further details are provided, but Strang said those who have been in direct contact with that person either have been or will soon be contacted;
• The province is giving $1 million to Feed Nova Scotia in order to buy food and expand staff;
• The province is spending $2.2 million in emergency assistance to automatically give everyone on Income Assistance an extra $50; that money should start arriving in bank accounts tomorrow, and the figure could be increased;
• $230,000 in emergency funding is being spent on Community Links and Senior Safety programs;
• Premier Stephen McNeil: effective today, “no tenant in the province of Nova Scotia, whose income has been impacted as a result of COVID-19 can be evicted by their landlord” for the next three months;
• McNeil also said that students living in university dorms who are Nova Scotia residents should “go home”; “I also want to say to those who are left on campus: there’s absolutely no partying or large gatherings”;
• The Irving Shipyard has closed.
There are 800-900 people living in Adult Residential Centres, Regional Rehabilitation Centres, and Residential Care Facilities. These residents are people living with disabilities, and they typically live in dormitory-like settings, with shared washroom facilities. It’s unrealistic in those circumstances to practice safe distancing, and there are lots of care providers coming and going from the facilities.
Very many of these people — most of them — and their families have requested being placed in their communities through the Small Option Homes initiative. In fact, the province has adopted a framework for moving those people out of the institutions, but has missed its deadlines and the wait list is growing.
I asked Community Services Minister Kelly Regan if in the light of the current emergency, there were any plans to accelerate the moving of people out of institutions. Her response:
The Association that governs [the institutions] has a very robust plan for events such as this, and we can certainly make the head of that association available if you would like specific advice about what is happening there. What I can tell you is that in our most recent budget we had money to move 50 Nova Scotians into new placements this year, and that ramps up to 400 over the next few years, so there are plans underway to do that.
I’ll take that as “no.”
I had further questions for Strang, but I’ll relate those in a separate post to be published either later this evening or tomorrow.
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