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COVID-19 Updates & Information

Keeping you connected to your community during extraordinary times through virtual programming

The health of our community is our number one priority. Due to the evolving situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus), all programs and group functions will be suspended until further notice, including programs at our Community Hub on Windmill Road, off-site programs, and group meetings run by our Chapters. However, we are happy to offer a variety of virtual programming options through our “Together in Isolation” Project. Learn More >

Our staff are now working from home and our phone and email lines will remain active during regular hours to ensure you can stay connected to support during this challenging time. 

Symptoms of COVID-19

Call 811 for assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had, or you are currently experiencing:

Fever (i.e. chills/sweats) OR Cough (new or worsening)

OR

Two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

You should also call 811 for assessment if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or have any other symptoms that concern you.

(Coronavirus (COVID-19): symptoms and testing – Nova Scotia Government)

Prevention, information, & updates:

(Click the images below to expand and view content)

NS Government: Fact Sheet for Individuals and Families

NSHA: Coping with COVID-19

ISOS: Transmission, Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment

Updates and Information from the Federal and Provincial Governments

Prevention, information, & updates:

(Click the images below to expand and view content)

NS Government: Fact Sheet for Individuals and Families

ISOS: Transmission, Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment

NSHA: Coping with COVID-19

Updates and Information from the Federal and Provincial Governments

I am confused – should I wear a face mask or not?

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, is now officially recommending Canadians wear non-medical face masks in crowded settings when maintaining a two-metre distance is not possible. This is to help prevent transmitting the virus to others as we now know that many people can have the virus without having any symptoms. However, wearing a mask is not mandatory and Dr. Tam has cautioned in the past that wearing a mask can put you, the wearer, at higher risk of coming into contact with the virus if precautions are not taken. For example, it could encourage you to touch your face more frequently to adjust your mask.

If you choose to wear a mask, remember:

  • Always wash your hands before you put it on.
  • Never touch your mask or your face unless you’ve just washed your hands.
  • Remove the mask from behind your ears rather than handling the mask where it touches your face.
  • Wash reusable masks between uses.
  • Do not reuse disposable masks.

More detailed information is available here >

I am worried about money.

An excellent overview of federal programs for people who are financially impacted by COVID-19 is available on the Government of Canada’s website here >.

In Nova Scotia, a new, extended hours phone line has been set up for information on income assistance eligibility from the Department of Community Services:

  • Call toll-free 1-833-722-1417 from Monday to Friday 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • During regular business hours (Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.), call the regular toll-free line: 1-877-424-1177.

As well, many banks have options for deferring mortgage, line of credit and credit card payments, reducing credit card interest, etc., so it’s worthwhile to contact your bank as soon as possible to see about the best options for your situation.

More specific information on federal and provincial programs to help individuals financially during COVID-19 is outlined in the sections below.

I am not sure I can pay my rent.

As of March 19th, Nova Scotia renters will not be evicted for three months if the pandemic has impacted their income.

Most landlords are willing to work with tenants who have lost work and many are finding ways to ensure both renters and landlords survive the pandemic with minimal disruption.

  • Have you reached out to your landlord to talk about possible options?
  • Can we help you come up with some suggestions so you can call them today?

I am not sure I can pay my mortgage.

If you feel that you will have trouble with your future mortgage payment(s) because you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, contact your financial institution as soon as possible about options: Consult your bank’s dedicated COVID-19 page >.

However, it is important to understand the financial implications of any options you are considering:

  • For example, deferring your mortgage payments may incur additional interest charges. To learn more about mortgage deferral, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s resource: COVID-19: Understanding Mortgage Payment Deferral.
  • If you are thinking of selling your home, it’s critical that you review your mortgage contract and obtain professional advice first because you could face steep penalties for paying out your mortgage early.

I lost my job.

There are several federal and provincial government programs in place to help people through this crisis:

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. The simple questions in this portal will direct you to the service option that best fits your situation.
  • The federal government is increasing the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), providing a one-time GST credit and extending the deadline to file tax returns.
  • In Nova Scotia, the provincial government has created a Worker Emergency Bridge Fund – a one-time payment of $1,000 for Nova Scotians who are laid off or out of work because of COVID-19, who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance and earn between $5,000 and $34,000. More information is available here >.
  • In Nova Scotia, every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50 starting Friday, March 20th. People do not need to apply.
    • The toll-free line for income assistance supports is now available with extended hours, including weekends. If you have questions about eligibility for income assistance:
      • Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., call 1-877-424-1177.
      • Monday to Friday 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., call 1-833-722-1417.

I am struggling to figure out how to get groceries/food.

  • If you need help with having groceries or medications delivered, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) has volunteers offering this service for seniors and adults with disabilities. In HRM, grocery orders up to $150 can be placed by calling 902-454-5755. Once groceries have been picked up from Sobey’s, you will be called before delivery and advised of the total amount due for your order so you can arrange for payment.
    • VON also offers Frozen Favourites – a nutritious, balanced and convenient frozen meal delivery option for anyone requiring extra support. Over 20 different meals are available to choose from for pick-up or delivery at a reduced cost of $5 each (minimum order of five meals), and the regular delivery charge is waived during COVID-19.
    • Payment for grocery service and Frozen Favourites is required by credit card over the phone or you can ask for an invoice with a return envelope to mail a cheque or money order. (If paying by mail, payment for the first order must be received before a subsequent order can be placed.) Click here for local contact information for VON’s grocery delivery service across the province.
  • Meals on Wheels also offers a meal delivery program across Nova Scotia. In Halifax, for example, meals are $8 each with a one-time $5 start-up fee. All meals are delivered chilled in microwaveable containers and include a healthy entrée, vegetables, bread or roll, and dessert. A full directory of local Meals on Wheels locations across the province is available here >.
  • Some stores offer online shopping with delivery or ‘curbside’ pick-up. For example, Superstore offers PC Express which allows you to order and pay for your groceries online and have them delivered to your home (in certain areas) or through contactless pick-up (where you schedule a time to arrive in your local store’s parking lot in a designated spot and open your trunk to allow an attendant to deliver your groceries to your car while maintaining social distancing).
    • These services are in high demand, so it is best to order ahead.
  • Many local stores, pharmacies and other small businesses offer similar options and several local farmers’ markets have come up with innovative solutions as well.
  • Other grocery stores, such as Sobey’s, do not offer online shopping but do have measures in place in their stores to respect social distancing and offer shopping for seniors during the first hour of the day.
  • If you need to access a food bank, Feed Nova Scotia is working hard to address this need. Check out their website to find a location near you.
  • If you need non-emergency, non-medical help, call 211 or visit 211.ca. Available 24/7 in over 140 languages, 211 is a toll-free helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area.
  • If you are accepting help from someone you don’t know, please remember to protect your privacy and safety and follow these tips >.
  • If you still need help with getting essentials like food or medicine, let us know and we will try to connect you with a local ‘Caremongering’ group.

I am a senior – what do I need to know?

See above for more information on services offered by VON for help with having groceries or medications delivered.

Additionally, the federal government has allocated $9 million in funding to United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors such as the delivery of groceries, medications or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess your individual needs and connect you to community supports.

  • For more information and to contact your local United Way, click here >.

For seniors with a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), the federal government has also passed legislation that lowered the minimum amount that must be withdrawn from an RRIF in 2020 by 25%, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

In Nova Scotia, Community Links and Seniors’ Safety Programs are programs that respond to the needs of vulnerable older adults across the province with supports and services like:

  • Volunteers for delivering groceries
  • Technological options for keeping people connected by phone
  • Responding to other social issues as they emerge

How do I avoid COVID-19 scams/fraud?

Unfortunately, there are several COVID-19 scams targeting individuals. It is essential to beware of:

  • Questionable third-party companies offering to help you fill out applications such as CERB
  • Criminals using your identity to sign up for CERB and receive payments
  • Spoofed government, healthcare or research information
  • Unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment and/or offering medical advice, financial relief or government assistance and compensation
    • If you did not initiate contact, you do not know who you are communicating with
    • Never respond or click on suspicious links and attachments
    • Never give out your personal or financial details
  • Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims, products, or research:
  • High-priced or low-quality products purchased in bulk by consumers and resold for profit which may be expired and dangerous to your health
  • Questionable offers such as miracle cures, herbal remedies, vaccinations or faster testing procedures
  • Fake and deceptive online advertisements for cleaning products, hand sanitizers, and other items in high demand

For specific information on reported scams as well as trusted resources and advice, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre >.

I am feeling anxious/depressed.

It is essential to stay connected with your community and to make that more accessible, we are moving many of our programs online via Zoom to better support you including:

  • Yoga for ABI with Chloe Luckett twice weekly, Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:45 p.m.
  • Music Therapy with Mackenzie Costron of Find Your Voice Music Therapy weekly on Wednesdays afternoons
  • Concussion Café twice monthly on the second AND last Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.
  • Coffee Zoom with Community by Accident, a weekly bring-your-own coffee drop-in on Fridays at 11 a.m.
  • Plus, a new Support the Supporter caregiver series with Amy Sullivan of Life Counselling Services on Thursdays at 7 p.m.

To access these programs and for more information, visit our website >.

And, as always, we are still a friendly voice at the end of the phone, so just give us a call at 902-422-5000 or toll-free 1-833-452-7246 to chat.

For more information about local resources on mental health, please visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/mental-health/.

I do not feel safe at home.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you are not in immediate danger but need help or information about emergency shelter, safety planning and available resources, start by calling the 24-hour toll-free line at 1-855-225-0220.

Additional options:

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