Nova Scotia has gone a full week with no new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and announced a plan Tuesday to begin easing hospital visitor restrictions effective June 23.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab in Halifax completed 355 tests on Monday and no new cases were identified, according to the Department of Health.
"Today marks our seventh day in a row with no new cases of COVID-19. Each and every Nova Scotian has made sacrifices to get us to this place," Premier Stephen McNeil said in a news release Tuesday.
"And while we can all be pleased with our progress, it's vital we remain vigilant. Please continue to follow all guidelines and do everything you can to keep our province safe."
The Nova Scotia Health Authority announced on Tuesday that patients at some Nova Scotia Health Authority hospitals will be permitted to have one designated person as a visitor, which can rotate on a weekly basis.
Patient visits will be scheduled to minimize the number of people in each unit. Care teams will contact designated visitors to schedule visits. The health authority said people should not contact hospitals directly to arrange visits.
Visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms when they enter the hospital. To enter, they must be feeling well, maintain public health's physical distancing rule of two metres from patients and staff, and go directly to the patient's room and stay there for the duration of the visit.
Visitors are encouraged to wear a non-medical mask and will not be permitted to:
Bring gifts or cards.
Sit on the patient's bed.
Use patient washrooms.
Share devices, books or food.
All other visitor restrictions will remain in place. Patients with appointments or procedures are asked to continue visiting alone, unless under exceptional circumstances.
IWK Health Centre changes
The IWK Health Centre in Halifax will also be easing restrictions on support persons beginning June 19.
Patients in the IWK's prenatal special care unit and adult surgery patients who are required to stay overnight will be allowed to have one support person.
Support persons will be screened before they can enter the health centre.
General visits to the IWK remain restricted.
So far, 997 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province and there are now only two known active cases out of the 1,061 positive cases.
The two people with active cases are both in hospital, one of them in intensive care.
There are no active cases at any licensed long-term care homes in Nova Scotia.
So far, there have been 49,398 negative test results and 62 deaths.
Among Nova Scotia Health Authority employees, zero employees now have COVID-19, which marks the first time since employees started testing positive that there are no longer any active cases. Thirty-one employees contracted COVID-19 in the following health zones:
Eastern — 6.
Northern — 2.
Central — 21.
Western — 2.
People with one or more of the following COVID-19 symptoms are asked to visit 811's website:
Fever (chills, sweats).
Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
Shortness of breath.
Nasal congestion/runny nose.
Loss of sense of smell or taste.
Red, purple or bluish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers that do not have a clear cause.
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