HALIFAX - Just a day after reporting its largest single day increase of COVID-19 cases since the health crisis began, Nova Scotia reported another death related to the virus Tuesday.
The province's chief medical health officer, Dr. Robert Strang, said the death occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, and brings to 10 the number of COVID-19 deaths in the province.
"It is tragedy upon tragedy these days," Strang said, alluding to the mass shooting in the province Sunday that left at least 23 people dead.
Nova Scotia reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 737.
"We now have 10 licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors' facilities that have had cases of COVID-19," Strang said at the daily briefing. The number of residents involved among those facilities is 128 and the number of staff is 62.
Eleven people are currently in hospital with COVID-19 in the province — three of them in intensive care — and 286 cases have been resolved.
Strang said everything possible is being done to stem the outbreak at Northwood.
"We have established infection control practices along with appropriate personal protective equipment for health-care workers that we use every year for respiratory viruses such as influenza. We have established appropriate outbreak control measures specific for COVID-19," he said.
"There are some challenges unique with Northwood given the multiple introduction of the virus and the large size of the facility," Strang said.
He said infection control practitioners are at Northwood to support staff to make sure they can minimize the chance of further spread of the virus.
Strang said while they are dealing with patients there, some cases are better off in hospital.
"If there is a need for somebody to go to hospital, they will go to hospital," he said.
Meanwhile there were no new cases of COVID-19 among the other three Atlantic provinces Tuesday.
New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, said her province is expanding the scope of testing, while in Newfoundland and Labrador, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald once again reminded citizens to follow guidelines and practice social distancing.
In Prince Edward Island, where the total number of cases remains at just 26, Premier Dennis King said his province would look to begin to ease some of the public health restrictions in early May.
"As we begin looking at ease-back, we must recognize that this requires us to act smartly, cautiously, methodically. We need to continue our strong screening process at our points of entry, as one of the biggest potential risks to our province has been — and continues to be — those travelling," King said.
"Our plan, as we have been practising to date, will for the foreseeable future err on the side of public health and safety. We have made incredible strides through the process of containing COVID-19, and we surely don't want to go backwards," he said.
P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said the lifting of restrictions would start with certain outdoor activities and elective procedures in the health system.
—By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2020.
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