Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health wants people to stay ahead of the pandemic.
At the COVID-19 update Friday, Dr. Robert Strang said a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the Halifax neighbourhood of Clayton Park has been largely contained because residents followed quarantine protocols.
“Even though it wasn’t perfect, in many of the situations the public health measures were being followed which limited the ability of the virus, even though it was in a family, for instance, to get beyond that,” said Strang. “So, I think it’s important to emphasize that these collective approaches that have kept us safe so far are what will continue to keep us safe.”
Strang said there is nothing to suggest the cluster of cases has led to spread in the broader community. The Nova Scotia Health Authority labs tested 1,260 people for COVID-19 on Thursday and identified two new cases, which are unrelated to the Clayton Park cluster.
Public health determined one case is related to travel outside the Atlantic bubble and that person is self-isolating. Staff is investigating the cause of the second case.
The total number of active cases in Nova Scotia sits at 19 as of Friday.
Strang emphasized the measures in place are working to protect Nova Scotians from the spread of COVID-19. He said wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and self-isolating, when required, are the tools that will keep the pandemic from flaring up in Nova Scotia as it has done in many other provinces.
“Here in Nova Scotia, it’s not about flattening the curve but it’s actually being out in front of the curve so we don’t have to flatten it. It’s keeping our situation. It’s a preventative measure for us,” said Strang.
He said we have to start thinking now about whether we can maintain that position into the new year.
“In the next six to eight weeks to minimize our social contacts. Decrease the number of people that we are in contact with. Keep our social groups small. Keep our social activities limited and [participate] in safe ways. And when we’re in places where we need to use masks, wear your mask and wear it properly. If you’re not feeling well, just stay home,” said Strang.
The holiday season is quickly approaching and Strang said he will soon be releasing guidelines to malls and stores around how to safely cope with a larger number of shoppers.
He said those retail locations will need to have precautions in place but a safe shopping experience isn’t solely up to them.
“But ultimately this is the responsibility of Nova Scotians. If you’re going into a mall, what are you doing to make sure that you’re keeping physically distant? What are you doing to make sure that unless you have a valid reason to not wear a mask, you’re wearing a mask and wearing it properly?” said Strang. “I don’t want all the responsibility to land on the business operator or the mall operator. There’s equally opportunity for Nova Scotians to take responsibility for their own actions.”
Reported by Ed Halverson