"Our case numbers are improving in Nova Scotia and we want to keep it that way," said Premier McNeil in a press conference Friday. "Given the sharp rise in cases in New Brunswick, we are taking the step of tightening our border to limit opportunities for the virus to spread."
Isolation for those heading up the 104 has been mandatory since New Brunswick first left the Atlantic Bubble in November.
In recent weeks, cases in New Brunswick have spiked during the second wave, with 24 new cases announced Friday and 130 active cases in the province in total. Those cases include two outbreaks at long term care facilities and two public schools. The entirety of the province is in now in “code orange.”
“They are following several large clusters related to social activities over the holidays and they are now back to strict public health measures provincewide,” said top doc Robert Strang.”
Nova Scotia will make exemptions for people travelling between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for work, notably in the Amherst-Sackville area, medical appointments and legal reasons including custody agreements.
“Like we did during wave one, we’ll make exceptions for them,” Strang explained.
Anyone who has been to New Brunswick in the past two weeks is being asked to immediately book a Covid test with the province and isolate until they receive their results. “Even if you don’t have symptoms, you need to isolate until you get a negative result,” Strang said. The province also recommends a follow-up test five to seven days after the first test.
Anyone who has had visitors from New Brunswick is being asked to get a test but they do not need to isolate.
Residents from PEI and Newfoundland, which have eight and nine active cases respectively, are still allowed to visit Nova Scotia without isolating, but Strang encouraged those driving through New Brunswick from PEI to make no or minimal stops.
“You need to drive directly, don’t stop for gas or food in New Brunswick,” he said.
For Nova Scotia, all regulations that were set to expire on January 10 have been extended until January 24, with a few exceptions: casinos and gaming centres can re-open Monday, and retail stores can increase their capacity back up to 50 percent from 25.
Public schools are also set to re-open Monday after an extended holiday break, which Strang said could still mean we’ll see a rise in cases in the coming weeks.
“This week has started to paint a picture of the holiday season and what it’s done to our Covid 19 numbers, but it’s still early,” Strang said. “It’s been two weeks since Christmas but only one week since New Years.”