What you need to know about COVID-19

With so much in the news about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it’s understandable that you might be worried. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the outbreak a pandemic and there are now six presumptive and one confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. It’s important to get reliable information, including how to help stop the spread of the disease.

Let’s break down what we know and what you can do.

What we know:

What you can do:

Wash your hands
It sounds simple, but good hygiene is the best defence against respiratory viruses, like COVID-19, which affect our lungs.

Get into the practice of doing a good and thorough hand wash. It will protect you from getting the flu and COVID-19. Check out this video that demonstrates how to wash your hands the right way.

Cover your cough!
Use a tissue to cough into and throw it away immediately. Don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow or sleeve.

Practise proper hygiene at home
Wash your hands as soon as you come home. Clean and disinfect items and surfaces you touch often (such as doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, railings and drawer handles). Use soapy water first, followed by your regular household cleaner and be sure to follow the directions. Wash bedding and towels regularly. Disinfect remotes and smartphones with alcohol wipes.

Stay away from people most at risk
Currently, all long-term care homes in Nova Scotia are closed to visitors. Nova Scotians aged 65 and older have a higher risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19. That’s because they’re more likely to have weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions like lung disease, diabetes or cancer.

Do your part to help keep others healthy. If you feel unwell, stay home and don’t visit loved ones or community members in their homes or other settings. Restrictions are in place for visitors to all hospitals in the province.

Don’t gather in groups
Organizations and businesses are advised to practise social distancing of two metres (six feet) and keep gatherings below 5 or much smaller. Try to avoid close face-to-face contact with others. Work from home, if you can!

Be prepared
Have the essential supplies on hand that you would need to sustain yourself for at least 14 days if you are directed to self-isolate.

Keep up-to-date with the latest information from Nova Scotia’s coronavirus information hub.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19

If you’ve travelled out of country and develop a temperature of 38°C or higher, or you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, call 811. Not sure? Check out the 811 online assessment tool before calling.

Don’t visit your doctor’s office, a walk-in clinic or the emergency department. When you call 811, they will tell you what to do next, such as to visit a health assessment centre or how to access emergency care. Don’t go to an assessment centre unless 811 tells you to.

If you have general questions about COVID-19, there is a toll-free federal hotline you can call: 1-833-784-4397.

Travel precautions from Public Health

The Federal Government advises against non-essential international travel. Avoid cruise ship travel.

If you’ve travelled outside of Canada (including to the U.S), you are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return to the country.

If you start to feel unwell, stay at home and self-isolate away from other people. If you are told to self-isolate, you can get supporting health information by contacting your local Public Health office.

Why it’s important

We all can play a role in protecting Nova Scotians who are most at risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

Together we can slow the spread of the illness, so that health services are available for people who are most in need. While in most cases, the symptoms of COVID-19 are mild to moderate, in some cases the infection can lead to death.

Let’s recap

The WHO has called the outbreak a pandemic, as cases of the respiratory infection continue to spread around the world.  While there is no need for panic, you should be concerned for yourself, your loved ones and your community members. If you’ve travelled outside of Canada, you must self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the country. Practise good hygiene, like washing your hands and coughing into your elbow, and don’t gather in big groups. Work from home if you can. If you have a temperature of 38°C or higher and think you might have COVID-19, call 811. Not sure? Check out the 811 online assessment tool before calling.

If you have general questions about COVID-19, there is a toll-free federal hotline you can call: 1-833-784-4397.

It’s OK to be concerned but there is no need to panic.

For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit Nova Scotia’s coronavirus information hub.

Want more information on healthy living and health-care delivery sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter to get all of our content first!



Your email address will not be published.

Submitted By: Jackie Clements

Thank you for taking the time to send this valuable information. We appreciate the many sacrifices (including risks to their own health and that of their families) made by our “medical community as a whole” in their endeavours to beat this pandemic and reduce the damage it can cause. We will continue doing our part to maintain good health and good hyigene and whatever else it takes to help reduce the spread of this virus .