A resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia won’t trigger a provincewide disruption in health care the way the first wave did, the head of the province’s health authority said Wednesday.
Appearing before the legislature’s public accounts committee, Dr. Brendan Carr talked about the different philosophy his organization is using to handle a potential second wave.
“Rather than think of the province as a single unit, we are thinking about it more geographically. And we’re developing … a scaled approach depending upon what’s happening within a community,” said Carr, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
“Our objective is to try to minimize the amount of disruption of ongoing services.”
When the COVID-19 virus was first detected last March in Nova Scotia, hospitals across the province closed clinics and drastically cut back on face-to-face services. Thousands of surgeries and procedures were cancelled to make room for a possible surge in hospitalizations related to COVID-19.
That surge never happened and hospitals are still working to clear up the backlog caused by the disruption in service.
Carr, an emergency room physician, said the plan for a second wave would balance the needs of people who require hospital care due to COVID-19 with the basic, ongoing health-care needs of all Nova Scotians.
“We are developing plans that are designed to try to continue delivering services where possible throughout our system, in particular important things like cancer care, surgeries, other followup care for people with chronic conditions,” Carr told reporters following the committee meeting.
To that end, the health authority will use four existing administrative zones, each staffed with a team of health professionals to act as “eyes and ears on the ground,” he said.
The teams will assess the threat of infection in their zones each day to determine which services can go ahead.
“The overarching principle is that we want to do our very best to optimize the resources that we have as a system,” said Carr.