Nova Scotia public health officials are working closely with their colleagues across Canada to make sure cases of novel coronavirus are quickly identified and managed.
In December 2019, cases of pneumonia were reported in Wuhan, China caused by a new virus that hadn’t been seen in humans. That virus is known as “COVID-19”. The first cases in Canada were reported in late-January 2020 and the Government of Canada is maintaining a list of confirmed cases.
There have been no cases of this virus in Nova Scotia and the risk to Nova Scotians is low at this time.
How Nova Scotia is preparing
Nova Scotia’s health care system is working on monitoring and detecting potential cases of novel coronavirus, and if needed , isolate cases. This work includes:
- sharing the latest information with partners
- establishing a patient screening process for use by all front-line health care workers
- monitoring hospitals for potential cases
- communicating directly with community organizations and universities
- sharing accurate information with Nova Scotians
Symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia in both lungs. Similar to other viruses, the novel coronavirus can spread between people, the severity can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, infection can lead to death.
It's the time of year when viruses that cause the common cold and other illness, like the flu, are in our communities. Follow these prevention tips to stay healthy:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
- cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue (throw the tissue away)
- limit contact with others when you're sick
- limit touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- don't share items that may have saliva on them like utensils and bottles/glasses
- clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs, and countertops often
When to seek help
Travellers coming to Canada from Hubei province continue to be at an increased risk for infection. If you have travelled there in the last 14 days, limit your contact with others (self-isolation, stay at home) for 14 days from your last day there.
Steps you should take include:
- avoiding close contact with people with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults
- avoiding having visitors to your home
- avoiding situations like social gatherings, work, school, daycare, visiting other people who are in a health care facility or long-term care residence
- limiting taking public transit, taxis and ride sharing
- washing your hands often with soap and warm water frequently for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- covering your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing
People in Nova Scotia who self-isolate can receive supporting health information from Nova Scotia Health Authority public health by contacting the nearest office.
People who have travelled from any other part of China in the last 14 days are asked to closely monitor their health for 14 days from their last day in China.
Anyone with either of the travel histories noted above who develop a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should call 811 to arrange an assessment and testing for novel coronavirus at their closest emergency department.