“Nova Scotia’s Top Doctor Urges Vigilance and Vaccination as COVID-19 Numbers Rise”
Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, is addressing the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the province, emphasizing the importance of taking precautions without causing alarm.
Dr. Strang provided a comprehensive update on COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory illnesses during a recent briefing. He highlighted that while Nova Scotia is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the situation is far from the peaks experienced during the height of the pandemic. This observation is based on insights from regions in the southern hemisphere that have already gone through their winter seasons, where they witnessed typical influenza rates and modest increases in COVID-19. Importantly, infection rates remained much lower than during previous pandemic peaks.
Dr. Strang’s message is clear: Nova Scotians should remain cautious but not alarmed. He underlines the need to continue following a successful multilayered approach to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. This approach includes staying home when sick, practicing proper cough and sneeze etiquette, frequent handwashing, and using masks, especially if one exhibits cold or flu symptoms and must be indoors.
The situation in long-term care homes, while seeing small outbreaks of COVID-19, has not resulted in a high number of severe cases. Collaborative efforts are ongoing between these facilities, visitors, and families to protect residents.
Dr. Strang is encouraging residents to get vaccinated for both COVID-19 and influenza, highlighting that the high-dose flu vaccine is now available free of charge to all Nova Scotians aged 65 and older. Vaccination appointments will be easily accessible through pharmacies, clinics, and an online booking site.
The rollout of vaccines, including Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine and Pfizer’s newly approved variant vaccine, is scheduled throughout October. Dr. Strang underscores that getting vaccinated is essential not only for personal protection but also for safeguarding vulnerable individuals in the community.
Dr. Strang also discussed the rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, though he anticipates more significant increases in late fall or winter. While an RSV vaccine is available, the province is awaiting recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) before making decisions about coverage.
In terms of masking policies, Dr. Strang mentioned that health authorities are reviewing current measures. Still, he believes a general masking policy may not be necessary unless the province experiences substantial increases in COVID-19, flu, and RSV cases. He advises individuals to consider mask usage based on their own health assessment, location, and circumstances.
In conclusion, Dr. Strang emphasizes that Nova Scotians have the tools and resources to protect each other during the upcoming respiratory virus season. While enjoying the beautiful fall weather, he urges residents to remain cautious, kind, and proactive in getting vaccinated.
Stay tuned for more updates on Nova Scotia’s fall vaccination campaign and respiratory virus watch.