Coronavirus Update 2 – March 16, 2020

This update was posted morning of March 16, 2020. The situation is changing by the hour. Please check the CanadaNova Scotia and Halifax websites for the most up to date information, and follow the social media links below.

The information below no longer entirely up to date.  All relevant info from these updates has been compiled into my COVID-19 resources website, with information on current Government ResponseIndividuals & FamiliesBusiness as well as Links to Resources including key social media to follow.


With the announcement yesterday of thee presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia announcements started coming fast and furious.

A presumptive case means the patient has tested positive in the QE2 lab, and the test is being verified at the national laboratory in Winnipeg.

My March 14, 2020 update continues to have important information in it, and I have updated it where appropriate.

A lot of people are contacting me wondering if there will be supports for lower income folks who live pay cheque to pay cheque.  Government of Canada has repeatedly said that they make sure people get support. We are expecting a major Federal announcement at 1pm EST.

Mental health

We have certainly experience stress, fear and anxiety this weekend in my house and extended family. You are not alone! The best ways to address concerns and support each other include:

  • listen and provide reassurance – it’s normal to have questions
  • get information from reliable sources
  • address questions and correct misinformation
  • watch for discrimination or bullying related to COVID-19
  • maintain normal routines and programming as much as possible

If you need assistance the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team provides intervention and short-term crisis management for children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis.  You can reach them at 902.429.8167 or 1.888.429.8167.

As always if you feel you are a risk of harm to yourself or others, you should call 911, or visit your local emergency department.

Two weeks supply, not six months!

As I write this I hear Premier McNeil on CBC saying “Do not stock up for six months, this is the time to worry about your neighbour.”  He is absolutely correct, people who are able should be buying no more than two weeks worth of food. 

 Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open in Italy, even while everything else has closed.  There is no chance we will run out of toilet paper as a society.

Hording and panicked buying is the only thing creating shortages and that is what could create immediate harm for your neighbours and the vulnerable.

Helping your neighbours

Nova Scotians are pulling together and helping make sure friends and neighbours are safe and supported. It is important that we help each other as we are able, especially considering the elderly and housebound.

There are a great number of folks doing different things to help their neighbours:

We are going to get through this by working together and supporting one another.  Please email or message me what you see happening in your community so I can share the good news!

DO NOT CALL 811 unless you meet the criteria for COVID-19 Exposure

People are calling 811 with questions and concerns and overwhelming the phone centre. DO NOT CALL 811 unless you have develop a fever, with a temperature 38°C or higher, or a cough.

If you have been experiencing issues calling 811, please call the toll-free number 1-866-770-7763 to be redirected to 811.

To help you better understand if you need to talk to 811, please review this simple questionnaire. If that page won’t load I made an alternate on Google Docs here.  DO NOT CALL 811 UNLESS YOU MEET THIS CRITERIA.

Provincial COVID-19 update

Starting tomorrow, public health inspectors will be onsite at the Halifax International Airport and the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport.

Closures and restrictions

  • Long-term care facilities closed to visitors effectively immediately
  • Public schools closed for two weeks following March Break; to be reassessed
  • Regulated childcare centres to be closed Mar 17 to April 3 and then will be reassessed
  • March break camps cancelled
  • Casinos in Halifax and Sydney are closing Mar 16 and bar owners can no longer operate VLTs
  • Anyone who travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate even if symptom-free
  • Organizations and businesses must practice social distancing of two meters and keep gatherings below 150 or much smaller if possible. This applies to restaurants, bars, movie theatres and other gathering spots

For accurate, up-to-date information, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

Municipal COVID Response:

Transit: Effective Monday, March 16 passenger capacity on all ferries will be limited to 150 persons per trip. Additionally, buses will be limited to seating passengers only (standing passengers will not be permitted at this time). Transit services will continue to operate on a regular schedule. 

Halifax Transit has already taken measures to help reduce the spread of disease, including an increased frequency in wipe-downs of high-touch surfaces, as well as making the first seat unavailable to riders.

Residents and visitors who are feeling ill are asked to avoid using transit services until your health returns to normal. 

Library: Effective Mar. 16, all branches of Halifax Public Libraries will be closed for 3 weeks, more info here.

Parks & Rec: Effective Tuesday, March 17 all municipally owned recreation facilities, community centres and arenas will be closed, and all programs and bookings will be suspended until further notice.

While facilities will be open Monday, we encourage residents to stay home if possible and avoid facilities if they are feeling unwell or have recently travelled outside of Nova Scotia.  Details here.

HRM services: Until further notice, HRM employees who can work from home are directed to do so. All others are to report to their usual work location and continue to exercise safe social distancing to the extent possible. 

Coronavirus Resources:

Websites

For information on coronavirus and how Nova Scotia is responding
https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

For information on what Halifax is doing to support the response:
https://halifax.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Being prepared
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel advice
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html]

Deeper Dive into more detailed resources:

Federation of Canadian Municipalities – in depth list of Federal resources and links to every province
https://fcm.ca/en/resources/covid-19-resources-municipalities

Word Health Organization – Coronavirus info from the global agency responsible for health.
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 – to the

Social Media

Facebook:

Nova Scotia Health and Wellness
Healthy Canadians
Travel Advice from the Government of Canada
Halifax

Twitter:
NS Health @nshealth
Halifax @hfxgov
Government of Canada Travel advice @TravelGoC
Government of Canada Health @GovCanHealth
Canada Public Health @CPHO_Canada

LinkedIn:
Public Health Agency of Canada