It’s safe to say we’re all sick and tired of COVID-19. For an entire year, it’s all we’ve heard about on the news and in conversations with our friends and family members. It’s an understatement to say the pandemic has been a drag.
Many Nova Scotians have been doing their part to keep friends and families safe from infection – avoiding non-essential travel, wearing masks, keeping their distance and staying home.
But with winter now in full swing – and March break on the horizon – it may be tempting to think about finally getting together or bending the rules just a little bit.
However, with cases of COVID-19 starting to creep up in Nova Scotia, including several recent cases in Halifax that can’t be traced back to travel or a previous case (pointing to community spread), now is the not the time to lower our guard. Read the list of potential exposures here. View the restrictions in place for your area.
For months, Nova Scotia has been the envy of the rest of Canada, keeping COVID-19 cases low and community spread at bay. But as we’ve seen with the recent outbreak in Newfoundland and Labrador, it doesn’t take much for coronavirus cases to explode in a region. In just 22 days (Feb. 3-25), that province has reported a shocking 565 new cases of COVID-19.
The outbreak was due to a new variant of the coronavirus called the B.1.1.7 or U.K. variant, a mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2 (that’s the coronavirus that causes COVID-19). Research shows this variant spreads more easily and may be more severe. Cases of the U.K. variant have been found in all 10 Canadian provinces, including Nova Scotia.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant. That means wearing masks and keeping your distance when you’re around others, socializing with only a small and consistent group of up to 10 people, staying home when you feel unwell, and self-isolating for 14 days when you’ve travelled out of Nova Scotia, have been exposed to COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. Click here for a refresher of the guidelines.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang is urging anyone who has socialized with someone outside their usual social group to get tested within one week of the interaction, especially if masks weren’t worn. He also encourages people to get tested who have a large number of close contacts due to their job. New restrictions have also been put in place for HRM and surrounding communities.
If you’ve been contacted by Public Health for contact tracing, be honest about where you’ve been and who you’ve been around. That’s key to helping stop the spread of this disease.
There’s no shame in getting tested. In fact, now’s the best time! Testing is widely available and encouraged for everyone across Nova Scotia, including for folks who don’t have any symptoms (also known as being asymptomatic).
That’s right, even if you don’t have symptoms or only have one mild symptom – say a scratchy throat or a runny nose – you should book a test and put your mind at ease. If you don’t have Internet access, call 811 to book a test. Also, Public Health has mobile testing units in some communities. See if one is in your area.
Reminder: if you think you might have COVID-19, immediately self-isolate and book a test online or call 811. Don’t visit your doctor’s office, a walk-in clinic or the emergency department.
It’s up to every one of us to do all we can to stop COVID-19 from taking hold in our province and undoing all of our hard work.
Nova Scotia quick links
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19
List of COVID-19 exposures in Nova Scotia
Getting tested for COVID-19
Public Health mobile testing unit locations
Nova Scotia COVID-19 resources
Download the free COVID Alert app