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Nova Scotia Anticipates Busy Season For Respiratory Illnesses

By Evan Taylor Nov 17, 2022 | 2:55 PM

IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax.

Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr.Robert Strang and the IWK’s head of pediatrics, Dr. Andrew Lynk indicated the signs of a busy respiratory illness season are already beginning to show in Nova Scotia.

During a press conference held Thursday afternoon, Dr. Lynk explained that the IWK would normally consider 150 ER admissions a very busy day and in recent weeks they’ve been seeing around 200 daily.

“We’re also now beginning to see the impact outside of HRM,” said Dr. Lynk. “I worked a shift a few weeks back in Cape Breton and it was very quiet on my 72-hour shift, but this past weekend I spoke with a colleague who worked the same shift and said she didn’t even stop to eat in her shift and was admitting children straight time.”.

The two doctors explained that this winter, Nova Scotia along with the rest of Canada will be dealing with influenza, COVID, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Dr. Lynk says the overcrowding of the ER, is becoming problematic for the IWK and its ability to operate efficiently, “We are looking into a surge plan that will help us deal with the rise in admissions we’re seeing,”.

Dr. Strang emphasized four main ways Nova Scotians can best protect themselves from respiratory illnesses this winter during his remarks.

“First get vaccinated, be up to date with your influenza shot and COVID vaccines, this is particularly important for the very young and very old and those with chronic health issues,”.

Strang’s second point of emphasis was to stay home when sick, stressing the importance of limiting contact even if you only have mild symptoms. He also asked that employers be understanding when people say they are sick and allow them to stay home. Strang also told employers to stop asking employees for sick notes when they are staying home as it forces people to go into a hospital where they could infect other people.

Wearing a mask was Stang’s third defensive strategy which he said was particularly important for people who are experiencing mild symptoms. When asked about the possibility of the return of mask mandates Strang said he felt that would be too heavy-handed of an approach given the amount of COVID immunity that now exists in Nova Scotia.

Strang’s final point was to seriously consider your holiday and gathering plans during the upcoming months, suggesting that if you are only experiencing mild symptoms you should be staying home and limiting your contact with other people.



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