The Chief Medical Officer of Health of Nova Scotia, Drs. Robert Strang said it was highly likely that the provincewide shutdown would extend beyond the two-week time period.
Strang said that given the extent of the outbreak of the virus, the province had a high prevalence of COVID-19 in early April, which public health was aware of.
“So many people have no symptoms or mild symptoms and just never tested … so we’ll take a little time to get out of it,” Strong said in an interview with Global News Morning on Monday.
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The good news is that the laboratories of the Nova Scotia Health Authority made “significant progress” on Sunday, following the huge backlog of tests announced on April 20.
Strang said it could take another day for labs to go back to completing their normal turnaround time, the bulk of which is for people to get their results within 48 hours of testing.
Meanwhile, he said that the province is seeing an increase in hospitalization, which needs to be taken seriously.
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As of Sunday, the hospital had 34 people, which is four more than on Saturday. Six of them are in intensive care.
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“This new version, the third wave version, is a different virus from the first wave. It causes a lot of disease in young people and can progress to serious illness very quickly, ”said Strang.
“They are more contagious, they spread more easily, they spread faster … So it’s almost as if we’re dealing with an entirely new virus.”
Strang said last week that Nova Scotia is primarily looking at the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, but the province is also looking at other variants.
But despite the potential seriousness of the new version, Strang said the province would not change its age-based approach to vaccination.
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The reason for this, he said, is that in this approach everyone will be vaccinated by June.
“We are making very fast progress. Strang said that through our central booking process to accommodate all these different groups has really slowed us down considerably.
As more Nova Scotians receive vaccinations, Strang said that implementing public health measures could prevent the spread of COVID-19, even though it is now more contagious.
“This means that we have to be more careful, each of us, in terms of following the COVID protocol … the way to get it under control is you have to recognize it and work on it quickly , Which we have done … but it will take some time to break those series of broadcasts.
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