Six new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Nova Scotia, bringing the provinces total to 21 presumptive and confirmed cases.
In a news release on Saturday, the province announced that six new cases of COVID-19 were identified on Friday, March 20. All six cases are travel related.
The cases are located across the province, with the 21 individuals ranging in age from late-teens to mid-70’s.
One case has been hospitalized. The original hospitalized case of COVID-19 in the province has been released from hospital and is now recovering at home.
“This is an unprecedented time for all of us and I want to thank Nova Scotians for their cooperation given the disruption to all of our daily lives,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in the news release. “If we follow public health advice, support our neighbors, friends and family, and do our part, we will slow the spread of this virus in our province.”
To date, Nova Scotia has 1,826 negative test results, 12 presumptive positive cases and nine confirmed cases.
“This is just the beginning for Nova Scotia and we all need to stay vigilant, practise good hygiene and social distancing, and self-isolate for 14 days if you have travelled outside Canada or are feeling unwell,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “The prevention measures we’ve put in place can work and there is still time for our actions to influence the impact that COVID-19 has on Nova Scotia.”
Also on Saturday, Nova Scotia announced an order under the Health Protection Act stating that dentists can no longer practice dentistry in their offices unless they deem it necessary to perform an emergency dental procedure in the best interest of the patient’s health.
The province also announced that the Nova Scotia Health Authority and IWK Health Centre are taking additional steps to ensure the health system is ready to respond to COVID-19, including making changes to non-essential services, so staff are available to focus on COVID-19 and essential services such as cancer care.
The province’s health care system also are working to provide additional options for virtual care and telehealth care so doctors and other health-care providers can help patients while reducing face-to-face visits.
“Our teams are working very hard to maintain essential services and deliver safe and supportive care in a challenging environment,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, president and CEO, of the Nova Scotia Health Authority. “The difficult decisions that we’ve made to reduce services and limit access to our facilities will help ensure we can continue to provide the most urgently needed care and create capacity in the system for Nova Scotians needing care related to COVID-19, while protecting the health and wellness of our staff and physicians.”
On Friday, the government announced $161 million to help with cash flow and access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses in the province.
“I’ve put together a rapid response team to help us best understand the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and our first wave of supports is focused on those most immediately impacted,” said Minister of Business Geoff MacLellan. “We will take further steps as necessary.”
The province is deferring payments for all government loans and small-business fees, including business-renewal fees and workers compensation premiums, until June 30.
Under the new measures, small businesses that do business with the province will be paid within five business days instead of the standard 30 days.
The province is helping students by suspending payments on Nova Scotia student loans for six months, from March 30 to Sept. 30. Students do not have to apply.