Nova Scotia reports two COVID-19 related deaths, extends lockdown to mid-June
Schools to remain closed for rest of academic year
By Keith Doucette
HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia government extended its provincewide lockdown order until at least the second week of June, as health officials Wednesday reported two more COVID-19-related deaths and 83 new infections.
Premier Iain Rankin also announced that schools will remain closed to students for the rest of the academic year and instead offer only remote learning.
“We need to follow these restrictions, so they will remain in place,” Rankin told reporters. “If we do that, then we will be able to be in a better place in mid-June.”
Nova Scotia went into a full lockdown on April 28 when it became clear the novel coronavirus was spreading at a rapid rate, particularly in the Halifax area. Officials had planned to reassess the situation at the end of this month.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said the province is making progress but the number of cases is still too high and they are being identified throughout the province, placing pressure on the health system.
“That’s why we are continuing the restrictions,” he said. “We need to get our case numbers much further down before we can begin slowly reopening.”
With the Victoria Day long weekend approaching, Strang cautioned people to adhere to travel and gathering restrictions. People are allowed to go to their cottage or to a campsite outside their communities, but only if they are staying there for the season, Strang said, adding that they can’t travel back and forth.
Strang said it doesn’t matter that some feel it’s not dangerous to travel directly from one point to another without contact with others.
“The more movement we have, the more chance the virus goes with you,” Strang said. “What happens if you get into an automobile accident or your car breaks down?”
He said it was “an extremely privileged position to be in” regarding people who want to travel to a second home when others are struggling to pay bills or are struggling for their lives in hospital.
“Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to care for each other,” he said. “Recognize how privileged you are and make the right choice.”
Health officials said a man in his 60s died in the province’s eastern zone and a woman in her 60s died in the Halifax area, bringing the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the province to 74.
Wednesday’s new cases included 59 in the Halifax area, 19 in the province’s eastern zone, three in the western region and two in the northern zone.
Two cases in the eastern zone involve a resident and a worker at Harbourstone Enhanced Care, a long-term care facility in Sydney, N.S., while a third case involves a staff member of My Cape Breton Home for Seniors in North Sydney, N.S.
Officials said staff and residents in the affected units of both facilities are being tested.
The province has 1,262 active reported cases of COVID-19 and 101 people in hospital with the disease, including 20 in intensive care.
Dr. Brendan Carr, CEO of Nova Scotia Health, said about 75 per cent of the hospitalizations are in the Halifax area and as a result, eight patients have been transferred to other hospitals in the province to alleviate the pressure.
“Numbers are down slightly from earlier totals, but essentially, we still expect to see more patients admitted to hospital with COVID in this third wave,” Carr said.