Nova Scotia Journal

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

2020 in review: COVID-19 in Nova Scotia

Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Stephen McNeil sat down to address Nova Scotians at their first briefing on March 6

It’s quite clear one issue dominated news coverage in 2020; COVID-19.

In our province, Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Stephen McNeil sat down to address Nova Scotians at their first briefing on March 6.

“At that time, we were only just learning about this novel virus and none of us knew what the journey ahead would look like,” said Strang at his 87th briefing of the year on Tuesday.

“We’ve done our best to be frank and open with Nova Scotians, providing you with up-to-date information to keep yourselves and others safe,” he added. “We’ve also issued 776 news releases with case numbers and COVID-19 announcements.”

“We’ve shared with Nova Scotians the news of 1,480 cases, we’ve mourned with you over 65 deaths and we’ve found hope with you about the 1,385 resolved cases,” our chief medical officer of health stated on Dec. 29.

Christmas Day was the first in 10 months Strang’s communications staff didn’t send out a news release.

Nova Scotia’s first COVID-19 testing centre opened on March 10, since then over 23,000 tests have been conducted.

Assessment centres have expanded across the province and mobile testing units have been dispatched to areas experiencing outbreaks.

In November, a pop-up project was launched to give rapid tests to asymptomatic Haligonians. That also was quickly brought to other areas.

“Our lab has gone from initially 200 tests per day up to 2,500 tests a day at normal capacity,” Strang said. “And we’ve been able to have a surge capacity. We had a record high of just over 4,000 tests on Nov. 30.”

“On top of that, we’ve had almost 12,000 rapid tests that have been done through the pop-up sites.”

The province’s State of Emergency was first declared on March 20. Since then, it’s been extended 20 times, “making it the longest State of Emergency Nova Scotia has ever had,” Strang said.

“The public health order under the Health Protection Act was established March the 23rd, and as the pandemic has evolved, we’ve revised that 40 times to implement restrictions, to ease them and apply new ones as needed.”

Strang said Nova Scotians have stepped up to adapt to those new regulations by physical distancing, wearing masks, working from home, supporting local businesses and helping friends who need to self-isolate.

“Even while staying apart, you came together to mourn the Portapique tragedy and you’ve shown the world that we are Nova Scotia strong,” he said. “And that wasn’t the only tragedy we faced together. With every blow that was dealt us, you’ve shown our Nova Scotian resilience.”

“And through this whole ordeal, you’ve consistently shown your sense of caring, community and common sense. You have shown that kindness can spread more quickly than any virus, time and time again.”

And as we ring in 2021, Strang said we still have a long road ahead of us, but we have reason to be optimistic.

“We have vaccines approved and it’s now going into arms,” he said. “And with the arrival of a vaccine, there also arrives a new hope that we will soon see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Until then, let’s stay the course, be COVID-safe, not just for yourself, but for each other.”

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