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Five more people in Nova Scotia have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, bringing the total to 12.
All 12 cases are either people who travelled from other countries to Nova Scotia, or connected to those cases. They range in age from their 30s through their 70s.
The ongoing cascade of closures and restrictions continues:
The Nova Scotia Health Authority announced that visitors will no longer be allowed in hospitals, but:
• a designated person per patient is permitted in labour and delivery rooms;
• parent/guardian with pediatric patients;
• substitute decision makers as required for plan of care.
Health Minister Randy Delorey has announced the following changes through the end of June:
• the waiving of fees for retired doctors to be relicenced.
• to increase the numbers of nurses, the government increasing “opportunities for casuals, recent graduates, and retirees.” Delorey gave the example of people staffing the province’s 811 line: “to date, 26 RNs have completed their training… and 70 more are being trained.” As well, 811 is adding 11 triage assessors, and 17 more are in training.
• allowing doctors to provide care via telephone or videoconferencing “where appropriate as deemed by the physician.” Some doctors may have the technology to do so already, and they can use it immediately, but the province is also providing support for the technology. Asked how many doctors would use such technology, Delorey had no answer.
• employers are no longer allowed to require doctor sick notes from employees
• changes to pharmacy regulations that were announced last year have been speeded up and expanded. For example, the requirement that certain clinical services be conducted in person is waived, at pharmacists’ discretion
Premier Stephen McNeil announced the following actions:
• Personal services and fitness establishments such as hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons, and gyms are closed (gyms were already ordered closed).
• Still no government closure order for dentists (although the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia has already ordered closure) and physiotherapists yet, but they’re being looked at.
• All service providers funded through the provincial Department of Community Services’ Disability Support Program — including social enterprise, day programs, supportive employment programs for adults with disabilities — are closed. Families that rely on such services will be supported with respite care through the group homes.
On Monday, Irving Shipyard sent a notice to employees saying the shipyard would remain open (read the notice here). I asked the premier today why the Irving Shipyard, which employs about 1,300 people and which is funded almost entirely through government contracts, should remain open. McNeil’s response:
Obviously it’s a national government site, but we are in contact with the national government to ask what is happening on that site.
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