Premier Iain Rankin at the COVID briefing, April 13, 2020. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Citing an increase in COVID cases in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin today imposed new restrictions on people travelling into Nova Scotia from New Brunswick.

As well, he said it is likely that the creation of an Atlantic bubble, allowing travel between the Atlantic provinces without quarantine, which had been scheduled for April 19, will be postponed.

“Over the past few days, we have seen our numbers [in Nova Scotia] increase slightly,” said Rankin. “We have no sign of community spread. And that’s a result of precautions we take here, including the requirement to self isolate for 14 days when arriving in the province. As well, our COVID testing has increased considerably. So we are catching these cases. But we can’t control what is happening across our borders. In New Brunswick, we are seeing more cases in the Edmunston area, where there is a lockdown and travel restrictions. Now we are seeing some variant cases in Saint John and more worrying, we’re seeing some cases under investigation in the Moncton area. It is not believed these cases are linked to the cluster in Edmunston.

As a result, effective Thursday, people coming into Nova Scotia from New Brunswick will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

This is tough, I know,” said Rankin. “But it’s necessary, given what we are seeing across the border and in several other provinces where the cases are increasing rapidly because of the presence of variants — this is what we want to avoid here, an outbreak resulting from the more contagious spread. I’ve repeatedly said that my focus is on Nova Scotia when looking at alleviating restrictions within Atlantic Canada and so far our approach is proving successful.”

As for the Atlantic bubble, “we had hoped that on Monday, April 19th, we’d have the ability to move across our provinces without self isolating in the Atlantic,” said Rankin. “This is looking unlikely right now. I’m meeting with my fellow Atlantic premiers either today or tomorrow to discuss how that might look in the future. But right now, we are leaning toward pushing back the reopening to sometime in May. It’s the right move right now.”

Today’s cases are all travel related

Six new cases of COVID-19 are announced in Nova Scotia today (Tuesday, April 13).

All the cases involve travellers — five who travelled in from other countries, and one from outside Atlantic Canada.

Two of today’s new cases are in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone (international travel); two are in the Western Zone (international travel); and one is in the Eastern Zone (travel outside of Atlantic Canada).

I asked Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang today for more information about those travelling, but he declined to provide it and said such details were immaterial in any case. Our exchange:

Bousquet: Dr. Strang, can you give us the lay of the land on the travellers’? It’s clear that almost all the cases now are travel related. Do we know how many people are entering Nova Scotia from outside of Atlantic Canada? How many are international travelers? What percentages are positive? Do we have a breakdown on how many are rotational workers versus temporary foreign workers versus snowbirds?

Strang: I don’t have a breakdown of all that information. We’re certainly looking at temporary foreign workers to make sure — I talked with my team today — we’re going to start looking at tracking much more closely the temporary foreign workers and what kind of what’s the results of our testing as they’re in quarantine. But I don’t have a breakdown of all the different kinds. We could probably get it. Everybody who comes in has to go through our safe check in process online, and that data is in there; we just haven’t gone through and pulled all that data out to get a sense of that. To me, it doesn’t matter where they’re coming from and what reason. If they’re coming here, they have to either quarantine or follow a strict protocol — if they’re exempted from quarantine, it makes no difference why they’re traveling — the quarantine or their exempted protocol, and the testing that goes with it, is the important piece.

Four of the new cases are aged 20-39 (three men, one woman) and two are aged 40-59 (both men).

There are now 45 known active cases in the province. Three people are in hospital with the disease, but not in ICU.

The active cases are distributed as follows:

• 16 in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 6 in the Dartmouth/Southeastern Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 3 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 1 in the Colchester/East Hants Community Health Network in the Northern Zone
• 1 in the Pictou Community Health Network in the Northern Zone
• 5 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 7 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network in the Western Zone
• 1 in the Lunenburg & Queens Community Health Network in the Western Zone
• 1 in the Yarmouth, Shelburne & Digby Community Health Network in the Western Zone

Four cases are not assigned to a Community Health Network, but they are in the Central Zone; I believe at least some of these are people from Nova Scotia but living in another province.

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 2,110 tests yesterday.

Pop-up testing has been scheduled for the following sites:

Friday: St Andrew’s Community Centre (Bayers Rd./3380 Barnstead Ln.), 10am-5pm
Sunday: St Andrew’s Church (Coburg St.) 1pm-5:30pm
Monday: St Andrew’s Church (Coburg St.) 10am-5:30pm

But you can also get tested at the Nova Scotia Health labs by going here.

Yesterday, 7,467 doses of vaccine were administered, a one-day record. So far, 157,590 doses of vaccine have been administered — 126,296 first doses and 31,294 second doses.

People who are 65 or over can book a vaccine appointment here. And people 55-64 can book appointments to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Here are the new daily cases and seven-day rolling average (today at 4.9) since the start of the second wave (Oct. 1):

And here is the active caseload for the second wave:

Here is the updated potential COVID exposure advisory map:

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Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Small typo.

    “because of the presence of variance” should likely read “because of the presence of variants”

    1. The AI that does the transcription is super good. I have to double check, but it’s so good I get sloppy with the double-checking. Thanks!