There are two new presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, bringing the total to seven.

One of the two newest cases is travel-related, said Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer. The other case is “related to” one of the previous Covid-19 cases, said Strang. Strang would not say where the people live in the province, but said they are self-isolating at home and are doing well.

Meanwhile, Premier Stephen McNeil has announced the following restricitons:

• effectively immediately, no public gatherings of 50 people or more;

• as of Thursday, restaurants can only offer take-out food, and all bars will be closed;

• as of tomorrow, NSLC is reducing operating hours to 11am-7pm six days a week (closed Sundays), and 10-11am for seniors and others at highest risk of contracting Covid-19

• Service Nova Scotia is closing all Access Centres for one week, “in order to establish a new way to provide services that avoids contact”; on-line service remain, and drivers licences and vehicle registrations that expire in March, April, and May will have the expiration extended to the end of August:

• hospitals are cancelling all non-urgent procedures. Specifically, according to a Nova Scotia Health Authority handout provided to reporters, this means:

— all elective outpatient visists are cancelled. Individual services will contact patients whose appoints are proceeding. Dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and mental health and addictions appointments will continue

— all non-urgent diagnostic imaging appointments will be rescheduled and walk-in x-ray services will be closed. Cancer Care imagining, PET scans and other time-sensitive exams will continue

— Outpatient blood collection services will not close completely but services will be reduced (i.e. reduction in hours and humber of locations. Details regarding these changes will be communicated as soon as they are available.

— all same-day admission and elective surgical procedures are postponed. Cancer and urgent/emergency procedures will continue.

— As currently-occupied inpatient beds become available, they will be held open to create capacity to establish COVID-19 units in designated hospitals

New Brunswick and Newfoundland hospitals have prohibited all visitors, but as of today, Nova Scotia hospital limit of two visitors per patient. I asked Dr. Bernard Carr, the CEO of the NSHA, if that might change, and he made no commitment, saying only that it could change.

Yesterday, Ontario banned all evictions. Today, I asked McNeil if he would prohibit evictions or implement rent controls (McNeil has the power to take either or both actions under the Emergency Measures Act). McNeil replied that he has been “working with our national partner” and “later in the week we will lay out a suite of public policy positions that will respond to the very real needs of [Canadians].”

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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