University student fined $1,000 for failing to self-isolate: Antigonish RCMP
HALIFAX -- The RCMP say a university student in Antigonish, N.S., has been fined $1,000 for failing to self-isolate, as required under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act.
Antigonish RCMP received a complaint on Monday that a student from outside the Atlantic provinces was not self-isolating.
Police investigated and determined the student had violated the Health Protection Act. The student was issued a summary offence ticket on Tuesday.
Police did not specify which university the student attends. When CTV News asked the RCMP if the student attends St. Francis Xavier University, and whether they live on campus or off campus, the RCMP refused to provide any further details, citing "privacy reasons."
However, St. Francis Xavier University issued a statement to the campus community on Thursday, confirming one of its students has been charged under the Health Protection Act.
“The student will now be subject to the StFX disciplinary process as prescribed by the StFX Community Code,” said Elizabeth Yeo, vice-president of students, in the statement.
“While this news is disappointing, we wish to thank the students who are safely self-isolating, and the community for its support.”
The university says it has received travel and self-isolation forms from roughly 1,270 students currently in various stages of isolation.
The mayor of Antigonish says there's been plenty of apprehension about the upcoming year.
"It almost doubles our population so of course there are going to be concerns, but we expect all residents and all visitors to our community to do the same and follow the restrictions," said Mayor Laurie Boucher.
Antigonish resident Michelle Novak appreciates the student population, but has no problem with accountability.
"The students are good to us and we've been good to the students. You have the chance to come to school and get your education and you're not following the rules and regulations. They should be sent home, really, they should be sent home," Novak said.
St. FX has many COVID-19 regulations in effect right now, including the requirement that everybody on campus wear a facial covering whether indoors or out.
"I believe everybody is going to work a lot closer together to make sure everybody is being held accountable and following the public health guidelines," said Jack Irvine, vice-president of residence affairs for the St. FX Students' Union.
"I'm realy hoping this will just strengthen the relationship between the university and the community."
Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic provinces is required to self-isolate for 14 days. The measure is in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Atlantic Canada, which has seen relatively few COVID-19 cases, compared to provinces outside the Atlantic region.
The self-isolation rule also applies to post-secondary students coming to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic ‘bubble.’
"We're disappointed it has happened," Yeo said. "But now that it has happened we understand this will send a strong message to everyone in our community that the expectations of community health are expectations we need to follow."
"The Nova Scotia RCMP is reminding university students arriving in the province from outside of the Atlantic Bubble to follow all Public Health orders which includes completing a self-isolation period of 14 days," said the RCMP in a news release. "We all need to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19."
The news release from RCMP comes a day after Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health urged travellers to abide by the province's 14-day self-isolation rule.
Dr. Robert Strang confirmed Wednesday that a recent cluster of cases in the Nova Scotia Health Authority's northern zone is linked to a traveller who failed to self-isolate.
Strang said the person travelled from outside the Atlantic bubble to visit family and did not self-isolate in Nova Scotia. Three people, including a close contact and two people who were at a restaurant at the same time as the infected person, then contracted COVID-19.
On Sunday, the provincial government reported that a man in his 80s in the northern zone died as a result of COVID-19. The province said the case was related to a traveller from outside the Atlantic bubble.
"If you're supposed to be self-isolating, you need to do so," said Strang during a news conference on Wednesday. "The stakes are simply too high to disregard the rules and if you're unclear about the rules, ask, and err on the side of caution by isolating while you get the answer."