HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government has announced a number of new measures aimed at strengthening the province’s healthcare system and limiting the spread of COVID-19.

The measures, announced Tuesday, include increased testing for COVID-19, expanding virtual care for healthcare workers, and boosting 811 resources.

Here is a breakdown of the new measures:

COVID-19 testing

  • The laboratory at the QEII Health Sciences Centre has doubled to accommodate increased testing for COVID-19.
  • The lab can now test 400 people a day.
  • Public Health officials have started testing all close contacts of positive cases.

Virtual care

  • The province is expanding virtual care for physicians, nurse practitioners and other healthcare workers.
  • This will allow them to offer appointments to patients via phone or video, minimizing the need to leave their homes.
  • More than 80 providers have signed up for virtual care so far.


  • The province has increased staff and technology, including the addition of 53 nurses and telehealth associates.
  • The province is doubling 811’s phone banks to 138 lines.
  • These changes have allowed 811 to answer double the number of calls to the service.
  • 811 will double its capacity again on April 3.

Infection control at hospitals

  • The province is enhancing infection control measures at hospitals to protect healthcare workers and the public.
  • This includes reassigning and adding new staff in order to increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection.
  • There will be a focus on high-risk areas, high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces.
  • Stronger cleaning products will be used.

Regulated health professions

  • Regulated health workers can stay open for emergency or urgent cases, or to provide virtual care.
  • However, they must meet physical-distancing requirements in their waiting room or other non-clinical areas.
  • They must follow cleaning protocols.

Non-regulated health professions

  • The province says non-regulated professions, such as naturopaths, must close.
  • One exception to this rule is podiatrists, who must follow the directive related to regulated health professions.

Access Nova Scotia

  • Access Nova Scotia and Registry of Motor Vehicle offices will start to resume operations, but in a scaled-back, limited-contact business model.
  • Staff working out of offices in Amherst, Bridgewater, Dartmouth, Kentville, Stellarton, Sydney and Yarmouth will be available to help people with urgent matters by calling 1-800-670-4357.
  • The province has extended deadlines for more vehicle permits, registrations and renewals until Aug. 31.
  • Drop-off boxes for applicable services will be available at Access Centres in Amherst, Bridgewater, Dartmouth, Kentville, Stellarton, Sydney and Yarmouth.
  • Many services are also available online.

As of Tuesday, Nova Scotia was reporting 2,474 negative test results and 51 confirmed cases of COVID-19.