HALIFAX: National park sites in the Strait area have restarted and the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) confirmed the resumption of programs, services and procedures.

Starting June 1, the St. Peters Canal National Historic Site and Canso Islands National Historic Site will offer limited visitor access and basic services.

At the St. Peter’s Canal National Historic Site this includes the operation of locks and the swing bridge, as well as the re-opening of green spaces and walking trails.

Green spaces at Canso Islands National Historic Sites will also re-open.

However, there will be limited washroom facilities available in select areas.

All camping facilities will remain closed until at least June 21, while Parks Canada assesses whether and how these services might resume. Group activities and public events are suspended until further notice.

Visitors to Parks Canada sites are asked to plan ahead by checking the site-specific Web site before they travel to find out what is open and closed, what they can expect and how to prepare for their visit.

More information can be found on the Parks Canada Web site at: pc.gc.ca/ns.

In the meantime, the NSHA reintroduced programs, services and the number of patient procedures that were suspended due to COVID-19.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams across the organization have been working on how to safely reintroduce our health care programs and services that had to be postponed to support our COVID-19 response efforts,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, NSHA President and CEO. “We had made significant and unprecedented adjustments to the delivery of health care and careful planning is required to resume services and procedures.”

Since the pandemic began, Nova Scotians continued to receive primary care; emergency and urgent care, including surgeries, cancer care, mental health and additions support; and virtual care.

However, there was a decrease in the level of activity and some services were stopped. All appointments that were booked to June 30 are cancelled and will be rescheduled as services are reintroduced.

Key areas where services will resume include ambulatory (outpatient) clinics. They will continue to see patients virtually with in-person appointments as required, and increase the number of patient visits. The types of clinics that will resume will vary at locations across the province. Some examples of these clinics include wound care, ECG, renal, medical specialty, and orthopedic assessment.

There will be an increase in the number of procedures including CT, MRI and ultrasound at departments across the province.

Blood collection will continue by appointment only.

In surgery, there will be an initial focus on completing day surgeries and outpatient procedures such as cataract surgeries and endoscopy procedures. Urgent/emergency and cancer surgical cases will continue.

“We know there are many Nova Scotians who are concerned about their health since their care or treatment has been delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Carr. “We share their concern and request your patience as resuming services is going to take some time as we assess and prioritize patients whose procedures were cancelled. This needs to be done gradually and cautiously.”

Patients will be contacted directly when their appointment has been scheduled. As services resume, NSHA will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic which includes testing, contact tracing and caring for COVID-19 patients. Public health measures continue inside facilities, including social distancing, and visitor restrictions.

The public is reminded that visitor restrictions remain in place for the safety of patients and staff. There have been recent changes to lift some of those restrictions gradually to support patients who require additional support.

Parking fees had been waived at NSHA parking facilities since March 20. The gradual re-introduction of suspended health care services over the coming weeks across the province is expected to result in an increased demand on parking spaces for patients, visitors, staff and physicians.

In order to accommodate that increased demand, the NSHA has resumed normal parking operations and fees at all sites.

The NSHA will continue to offer reduced rates for frequent visitors. Less expensive weekly and monthly passes will be available at some facilities, while special visitor passes or discounted parking tokens will be available at others.

To ensure a healthy and safe experience for all, additional infection prevention and control measures will be implemented, including increased sanitation procedures for touch surfaces.