Coronavirus (COVID-19): healthcare and continuing care
How healthcare and continuing care are working to increase health system capacity and control the spread of COVID-19.
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Monitoring and detection
Nova Scotia's health system is monitoring and detecting potential cases of novel coronavirus. This includes:
- establishing a patient screening process for use by all front-line healthcare workers
- monitoring hospitals for potential cases
- implementing public health and infection control measures
- sharing information with community organizations, partners and universities
- making sure Nova Scotians have accurate and up-to-date information
Increasing health system capacity
Physicians, nurse practitioners and other health professionals can offer appointments to patients through telephone or video. This reduces the need for practitioners and patients to leave the house.
Pharmacists can renew prescriptions for most medications. Government will cover the assessment fee.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons has waived the fee for retired doctors to renew their licences so they can come back to work.
811 and testing expansion
811 has more than doubled capacity to handle calls from Nova Scotians calling about COVID-19.
COVID-19 testing capacity has expanded to include temporary assessment centres, mobile assessment centres and Emergency Health Services (EHS) assessment units.
Testing lab hours have increased to 24-hour-a-day operations. The lab can now process over 1,000 tests per day.
Public Health officials are testing all close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases to better detect and stop the spread of COVID-19.
Hospitals are using enhanced infection control measures to protect healthcare workers and the public. Enhanced measures include using stronger cleaning products and increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection, focusing on high-risk and high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces.
Measures in long-term care homes
Licensed long-term care homes and home care agencies are following the Health Protection Act Order (PDF) to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.
Staff at all facilities (public and private long-term care homes and residential care facilities) and home care agencies are required to wear masks to reduce infection. Facilities need to get masks through their existing suppliers. Government is partnering with the Health Association of Nova Scotia to distribute masks to facilities on an emergency basis.
Support for Healthcare Workers
The Essential Health Care Workers Program will provide eligible healthcare workers with a bonus of up to $2,000 after a 4-month period beginning March 13.
Recipients will include eligible full-time, part-time and casual employees at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre and in long-term care, home care and in-home support and emergency health services. Employees who volunteered to be redeployed to work at a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak will also receive this benefit. Employees need to work during all 4 months to receive the maximum benefit, but they’ll still qualify if they worked part of that time but are self-isolating, quarantined or on sick leave for COVID-19.
The program is a partnership with the federal government. Nova Scotia is contributing $13.4 million and the federal government is contributing $80.5 million.
Resources for health professionals
Resources from the Department of Health and Wellness are available to help healthcare and continuing care professionals access emerging information on COVID-19. Resources include: