HALIFAX – Two Nova Scotians have fully recovered after contracting coronavirus, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang. This announcement came during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, where Strang and Premier Stephen McNeil told the province that there were 17 new cases of COVID-19 identified, bringing the total to 68.
Dr. Strang said this spike in cases was expected as more travellers returned to the province. Strang insisted that “community spread” of the virus hasn’t been seen yet, as all 68 positive results are travel-related, or connected to previously known cases. Strang reported that 2,772 people in the province have been tested with negative results for COVID-19.
“While we’re concerned about the cases, it indicates that what we put in place is actually working,” said Strang.
“I want to Thank Nova Scotians who are adhering to the requirements around self-isolation.”
Strang said they must work with the capacity Nova Scotia has for testing people for COVID-19, and they are trying to expand the labs’ capability.
“We have to make sure we work within our lab capacity,” said Strang. “We’re working… to expand the lab capacity, but we also can’t overwhelm it by having everybody coming in to be tested.”
“If we do get indications of actual community spread, which would mean that we have a case that doesn’t have a link to anybody that’s related to travel…we would certainly be bringing that forward and include that in our regular updates.”
Strang believes that Nova Scotia is currently in better shape than other provinces that have been hit by coronavirus outbreaks.
“We’re in a position where we’re further behind by two to three weeks than some of the larger provinces,” said Strang.
“We are at a place where if we all work together and apply our personal protective measures…if we stick with it for the next few weeks, we have the opportunity to really get out in front of this.”
During the press conference, McNeil tried to clarify what industries were considered essential, as concerns have grown over employers who have large workforces still on the job. Two of the industries he mentioned were construction and call centres, among the list of other, more obvious essential workforces.
McNeil said these workplaces have been told to adhere to rules, like social distancing on the job site, and having hand sanitizer or soap readily available on construction sites.
“These essential services are exempt from the five-person social gathering rule,” said McNeil. “Work is not a social gathering.”
“Some call centres are still up and running; they are essential, and they changed the way they work.”