Government providing masks for emergency cases
Front-line workers in every public and private long-term care home, residential care facility and home-care agency across Nova Scotia will now be expected to wear masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
And effective April 14, masks will be distributed to all front-line workers in residential care and continuing care facilities and to home-care employees under the government’s partnership with the Health Association of Nova Scotia to distribute the masks.
“Masks are in high demand around the world and we wanted to be sure we had the supply before we started to distribute,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “I know front-line staff are concerned and I’m sorry if we contributed to that. But I can tell you that making sure we have adequate supplies is a full provincial effort – with government and the private sector working together to protect front-line workers who are working to protect Nova Scotians every day.”
The protocol applies to nursing homes and residential care facilities licensed by the Department of Health and Wellness and to private, unlicensed assisted-living facilities, retirement homes, memory-care homes and enriched-care homes. It also applies to direct-care staff in residential facilities funded by the Disability Support Program and licensed by the Minister of Community Services under the Homes for Special Care Act: adult residential centres, regional rehabilitation centres, residential care facilities, small option homes, developmental residences and group homes.
All facilities must continue to get masks through existing supply chains as the government will only provide masks to the facilities on an emergency basis, says the government.
Home-care workers must also wear a mask under the protocol.
The province declared a state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to April 19. As of April 13, there are 21 residents and 14 staff in six long-term care facilities licensed by the Department of Health and Wellness who have tested positive for COVID-19. Overall, Nova Scotia has recorded three deaths related to COVID-19 and a total of 474 positive test results.