NSHA closes facilities to visitors as precautions against coronavirus

HRM closes libraries and recreation facilities

By Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative reporter    
March 18 2020

SHEET HARBOUR – Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital and Harborview Lodge long term care facility in Sheet Harbour are among healthcare facilities closed to patient visitors as directed by the Nova Scotia Health Authority. With the arrival of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, visitors are banned until further notice.

“NSHA’s incident management team has been planning for the probable arrival of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia for several weeks,” states Carla Adams, Sr Advisor, Media Relations, Nova Scotia Health Authority.

“The planning has been provincial in scope,” says Adams in an email interview with The Journal. “We are already taking precautions to prevent the spread of any respiratory illness including COVID-19. We have also set up COVID-19 assessment centres at several NSHA sites to divert potentially ill patients from their primary care providers or emergency departments...These sites are being monitored and updated regularly.”

People are not to go to an assessment centre without a referral. Persons who have travelled outside Canada and who may have contracted the virus are being asked to monitor their health in self-isolation for 14 days after their return home. If symptoms of cough and fever present, they are asked to stay home, and call 811 to receive direction for appropriate action. People directed to an assessment centre will receive a physical assessment on site.

“Halifax Regional Municipality has closed all HRM facilities including libraries and recreation centres. The Nova Scotia provincial government is asking that any function be no more than 50 people at a time,” says HRM Councillor David Hendsbee.

The messaging continues to be that the best way to prevent the spread of any virus is hand washing and proper hygiene. Residents are encouraged to avoid contact with persons who are sick and to practice safe cough and sneeze etiquette.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends residents refrain from travel on cruise ships because of close quarters and how quickly the virus can spread between people.

The Nova Scotia Health Care System website says the Province continues to monitor potential cases of novel coronavirus. NSHA has established a patient screening process for use by the front-line health care workers and is sharing accurate and up-to-date information with Nova Scotians.

On March 4, a decision was made by Nova Scotia Centres of Education to cancel all student school trips with international destinations. This included March break trips and is in effect until April 30. The decisions reached were in consultation with Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health. This approach was taken to create low risk for both students and their chaperones.