Volunteers surge in N.S. to help with testing as fourth wave of COVID-19 arrives
As a fourth wave crashes into communities across Canada, volunteers are helping to build part of Nova Scotia's protective wall.
About 60 volunteers are needed each day from now until Thanksgiving to help put together 300,000 take-home testing kits that were shipped to Nova Scotia by the federal government in bulk and need to be assembled for individual use. Volunteers can apply at testtoprotect.ca.
"Instead of sort of getting buried over with fear we're actually working proactively," said Marianne Stanford, a volunteer.
As of Monday afternoon, Nova Scotia was still shy of its target to see 75 per cent of its eligible population double dosed. The province still sits at 74.3 per cent, but is expected to enter its fifth and final phase of reopening next Monday.
The Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia questions whether masks will stay mandatory but knows proof of vaccine will.
"The last survey we did it was about 78 per cent of the restaurants agreed with that," said Gordon Stewart with Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia.
But not everyone is onboard.
The co-owner of Fresh from the Oven in Greenwood said she isn't against vaccines but she is against the province's mandatory vaccine policy.
To avoid asking patrons for proof, Elizabeth Stevens' business will shift from dine-in to take-out only.
"I just can't discriminate against other people and that's how I see it," Stevens said.
"I feel the Nova Scotia government are using us gyms, us restaurants as a back play to get people vaccinated and I won't have any part of it."
Marla MacInnis, media relations advisor with the Department of Health and Wellness said the priority remains keeping Nova Scotians safe.
"We want businesses to be able to stay open and stay safe, so the vaccine policy will be a short-term measure that will help them maintain this balance through the fourth wave," MacInnis said.
"Provincial inspectors will conduct compliance checks. Any compliance action will take into consideration the risk to public health and the willingness of the business or organization to comply with this protocol."
Writing exemptions falls on physicians. A letter sent to doctors includes advice from the chief medical officer and lists conditions considered valid medical reasons— including allergic reactions, a history of venous or arterial thrombosis, or capillary leak syndrome. It also said people with myocarditis or pericarditis after their first dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should wait to get their second dose until more information is available.
"The conditions that are listed on the memorandum that was released are very rare," Dr. Heather Johnson, President of Doctors Nova Scotia.