The extreme snowstorm earlier this week impacted services across the province, including health care.
Brett MacDougall, vice president of operations for Nova Scotia Health for the eastern zone, which includes Antigonish and Guysborough counties as well as Cape Breton, said heading into the weekend they were trying to prepare for snowfall from 80 to 100 centimetres but saw an escalation of snow with some parts of Cape Breton getting up to 150 centimetres. Working through Saturday and Sunday, he said they saw significant challenges relating to staff’s ability to get into work and return home safely.
Emergency departments scheduled to open remained open but over the course of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, admissions started to build up and early on they had limited staff for some departments such as nutrition and labs. He said staff made extraordinary efforts to get in and support their colleagues and patients, and MacDougall thanked health teams across the board for their work.
He noted some elective procedures and appointments and to be postponed, adding staff began working to rebook those appointments as the week progressed.
As for moving forward, MacDougall said Nova Scotia Health hosted a meeting Thursday morning to check in with local operations leads, noting almost all of their services are up and running to provide the necessary care for patients. They are now looking to see if they can bring in additional resources over the next week to try and get caught up in some areas. It said it was challenging all around, noting communities and health teams rallied around each other, and he thanked everyone for their patience as they moved forward.