No changes to bubble, but N.S. is monitoring COVID-19 in N.B.; no new cases reported
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Nova Scotia are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in New Brunswick, but there will be no changes to border protocols or travel restrictions between the two provinces at this time.
“As of today, we are not closing our borders to any other province in Atlantic Canada,” said Premier Stephen McNeil during a news conference in Halifax on Wednesday.
New Brunswick is currently dealing with two outbreaks of COVID-19, in the Campbellton and Moncton regions. As of Tuesday afternoon, New Brunswick was reporting 90 active cases in the province. Moncton and Campbellton each have 43 active cases of COVID-19.
“What we’re seeing in New Brunswick is an important reminder that COVID is still here and how quickly it can rear its head and have it create significant numbers,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health.
“It’s a reminder that we must not become complacent simply because we’ve gone long stretches with very few or no cases here in Nova Scotia.”
New Brunswick is part of the “Atlantic bubble,” which allows residents of Atlantic Canada to travel freely within the four provinces, without restrictions.
Strang said there is no evidence of community spread in New Brunswick, or of increased risk within the general community, so there is no need to restrict travel to New Brunswick or tighten the bubble at this time.
"There's nothing to suggest that if you or I travelled to Moncton or to Campbellton tomorrow, or we were there over Thanksgiving, that we're putting ourselves at any increased risk of COVID exposure at this time,” said Strang.
He did say Nova Scotians who have recently travelled to the Campbellton or Moncton regions should monitor their health, however.
When asked if Nova Scotia would close the bubble to New Brunswick if cases continue to rise, Strang said he would have to see “a significant risk of COVID being imported.”
COVID ALERT APP
Seven provinces, including New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, are now able to report a COVID-19 diagnosis by using the COVID Alert App.
McNeil said he will have more details on when the app will be available in Nova Scotia on Thursday,
"The app is a good thing, but it's not like a golden ticket,” said Strang.
“It's another tool. I think the key messages for Nova Scotians, use the app but by no means should the app be used to replace all the public health guidance around staying socially distanced, staying in small social groups, use your mask, wash your hands, etc."
The Nova Scotia government has released guidelines for trick-or-treating and Halloween celebrations, stating they can go ahead as long as people take the proper precautions.
Strang said it’s especially important that Nova Scotians get the flu vaccine this year as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on.
“We need to minimize the chance of both COVID and influenza spreading at the same time and having a significant impact on our health-care system,” he said.
Strang said the flu vaccine, which is free in Nova Scotia, is being distributed to clinics and pharmacies.
He noted that there will be no vaccine clinics this year due to COVID-19, so it may take longer for people to get the vaccine.
“We’re asking people to be patient. Every year there’s always a rush at the start of the campaign,” said Strang. “You have from now until Christmas … you have about eight weeks to get vaccinated, so we don’t have to rush and everybody get vaccinated at once.”
NO NEW COVID-19 CASES
Nova Scotia reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
There are still four active cases in the province and one person remains in hospital, in the intensive care unit.
Nova Scotia has now gone four days without reporting a new case of COVID-19.
The province last reported three new cases on Saturday, in the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s central zone.
Two of the latest cases are related to travel outside Canada while the third case is a close contact. The people are self-isolating, as required.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 401 Nova Scotia tests on Tuesday. No new cases were identified.
To date, Nova Scotia has 102,273 negative test results.
There are 1,092 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, but 1,023 cases are considered resolved, and 65 people have died, leaving four active cases in the province.
There is still one person in hospital, in the intensive care unit, as a result of COVID-19.
The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 per cent are male.
There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.
The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.
- western zone: 56 cases
- central zone: 914 cases
- northern zone: 68 cases
- eastern zone: 54 cases
LIST OF SYMPTOMS
Anyone who experiences a fever or new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following new or worsening symptoms, is encouraged to take an online test or call 811 to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- runny nose/nasal congestion
SELF-ISOLATION AND MANDATORY MASKS
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form before coming to the province.
However, the province has eased some self-isolation requirements for out-of-province rotational workers.
Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are not required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia, but they must be prepared to provide proof of their place of residency at provincial borders.
Visitors from outside the Atlantic region who have already self-isolated in another Atlantic province for 14 days may travel to Nova Scotia without having to self-isolate again.
It is mandatory to wear a non-medical mask in most indoor public places in Nova Scotia.
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Oct. 18.