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Cape Bretoners say when it comes to COVID-19, they want the numbers

The lastest numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, that included one new case in central zone announced Thursday. As of Friday, there were 28 known cases. CONTRIBUTED
The lastest numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, that included one new case in central zone announced Thursday. As of Friday, there were 28 known cases. CONTRIBUTED
SYDNEY, N.S. —

Cape Breton residents feel with low numbers through the pandemic, they must be doing something right.

“Compared to most of Canada, we’ve done well across Nova Scotia,” said Janelle MacNeil of Sydney, who on Friday was concerned about clusters of new cases identified on the mainland.

“But the cases in eastern zone have always been low, I think that shows we are doing it right here.”

However, MacNeil said the eastern zone includes part of the mainland and feels through the pandemic the numbers should be broken down for Cape Breton.

“We have a right to know what is happening on our island,” she added.

Richmond County District 5 Coun. Brent Sampson also said it would be interesting to know the Cape Breton numbers where we are a separate island and a sizable one at that. 

Sampson said when seeing the lower numbers in eastern zone, he is ‘cautiously happy’ with it. 

“If we let up on it I’m sure things could change quickly like it has elsewhere,” he said. 

Sampson said as long as people follow the public health protocol we should remain in decent shape. 

“The only time we seem to have problems is when people come from away and don’t follow the isolation protocol,” he added.

EASTERN ZONE

The eastern zone of the Nova Scotia Health Authority includes Cape Breton, Antigonish and Guysborough counties. The Cape Breton Post has requested the numbers of COVID-19 for Cape Breton numerous times over the last six months, but Nova Scotia Health and Wellness have denied a breakdown, including on Thursday. During past COVID-19 media conferences, the province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang also declined to break down the numbers, but has confirmed there have been cases in all parts of the province including the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Nova Scotia Health and Wellness spokesperson Marla MacInnis said while many of the recent cases have been in the central zone, it is important to remember how fast COVID-19 can spread. 

“Many people travel from central zone to Cape Breton daily and it just takes one person to bring the virus to a new area,” she said. “With the increase in positive cases in Nova Scotia, it is more important than ever to follow public health protocols diligently – this includes wearing a mask, physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and adhering to gathering limits. “

Sarah Levy MacLeod, also a Nova Scotia Health and Wellness spokesperson, echoed what Strang said Tuesday at the COVID-19 briefing, "There is not one age group or town or region responsible solely for the fight against COVID-19. This is a fight we’re all in – all 980,000 of us.”

"We have a right to know what is happening on our island." — Janelle MacNeil of Sydney

On Oct. 23, there were 54 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in the eastern zone. On Oct. 24, Nova Scotia Health and Wellness reported that one case was diagnosed and recovered in another province but is a Nova Scotia resident in the eastern zone and their case was added to their data, resulting in 55 cases.

On Thursday, Strang confirmed community spread in the province.

Five new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia on Friday, bringing it to 28 active cases.

There have been recent clusters of cases identified in the Halifax area, and the Nova Scotia Health Authority had issued a long list of additional exposure warnings in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

On Thursday, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced a staff member of the Saint John Sea Dogs tested positive for COVID-19. The Sea Dogs were in Cape Breton Wednesday night for a game against the Eagles. The staff member did not travel to Cape Breton with the team. The Saint John players and staff are now being isolated.

CAPE BRETONERS WANT NUMBERS

From left, friends Joey Jacobs of Mira Road and Brooks MacPhee of Sydney River along with MacPhee's beagle, Hunter, on their way to a day of hunting in Cape Breton. Both Jacobs and MacPhee, who say they are close friends and stay in their own tiny bubble, feel Nova Scotia Health and Wellness should provide updates of COVID-19 numbers specific to Cape Breton. CONTRIBUTED
From left, friends Joey Jacobs of Mira Road and Brooks MacPhee of Sydney River along with MacPhee's beagle, Hunter, on their way to a day of hunting in Cape Breton. Both Jacobs and MacPhee, who say they are close friends and stay in their own tiny bubble, feel Nova Scotia Health and Wellness should provide updates of COVID-19 numbers specific to Cape Breton. CONTRIBUTED

 

Joey Jacobs of Mira Road feels when Dr. Strang announces cases in the eastern zone, he should be able to break down not only Cape Breton but also the specific area of the island.

Jacobs said Cape Breton should be broken up into zones. If announcing five new cases in the eastern zone, they should be able to break it down further, whether zone 1 which could be Sydney, North Sydney and Sydney Mines, or maybe zone 2 which could be Glace Bay and New Waterford and so on.

Right now, Jacobs feels there really aren’t any cases in Cape Breton, so feels relaxed. Regardless, he always follows all the health protocols including wearing a mask in public places and stays in his own bubble which he has kept tiny, primarily family and close friend Brooks MacPhee of Sydney River he hunts with.

“If he was to say there were 15 cases in Cape Breton, I would tighten up even more,” he said.

MacPhee also believes Cape Breton should know their own numbers. Even if numbers were broken down, times he knows there are no cases in Cape Breton might make him relax more, but it’s not going to make him careless enough to not wear a mask. He said the problem with eastern zone statistics is not knowing if the cases are on the island or part of the mainland.

“If five cases just popped up in Sydney, I’d like to know,” he said. “My wife works in retail, then I’d know I’ve got to be more vigilant. If there’s cases here, we should know where.”

As well if there were new cases and it was announced they were in Sydney, that would make everyone push the limits a bit, maybe enough to protect himself, his hunting friend Joey and protect everybody, he added.

Sharon-Montgomery-Dupe is the enterprise reporter at the Cape Breton Post. 

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