HALIFAX -- Even with eight new cases of COVID-19 today, the total number of cases in the Maritimes is still barely above 60.

It's an enviable place to be, compared with other parts of the country, and sparks discussion about reinstating the Maritime bubble.

But, case count isn't the only factor in determining if and when we go back into the bubble.

With an ever-present eye for a picture, drone operator Brandon Blades finds no shortage of scenery on the South Shore, where his family roots run deep.

These days, though, his travel ambitions extend beyond Nova Scotia's borders.

"I've launched this Facebook group in hopes of finding some like-minded people to join me in some Atlantic bubble travel, if it ever opens up," Blades said.

Freedom to travel in the Atlantic region was something people got used to quickly and then it all collapsed in a surge of cases.

"We had five months of the Atlantic bubble and it really was a success in so many ways," said Dr. Heather Morrison, Prince Edward Island's chief public health officer.

Cases topped 200 when the bubble finally burst last November.

Even with Tuesday's new cases, the Maritime region has less than a third now of what we had back then, but that doesn't mean the bubble is back.

"It's not just the number of cases," Morrison said.

Many more moving pieces now, according to the region's top doctors, including the variants, provincial policies, and of course, vaccinating the vulnerable.Still, the premiers plan to talk about it tomorrow.

"Just looking at New Brunswick's numbers and they're continuing to stay low, so I stay optimistic that we'll be able to do something soon," said Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin.

As for dates, Morrison suggested it could be sometime next month -- if all goes well.

If it happens to be later, Blades will be disappointed, but understanding.

"Well, I'd have to be OK with it, I suppose," Blades said. "Anything to keep everybody safe.  We've got a good thing going on here."

A good thing we'd like to enjoy with loved ones, friends and neighbours in the safety of a Maritime bubble.