Nova Scotia announces civil servants must be fully vaccinated
Directive applies to 11,000 direct employees of the provincial government
Nova Scotia announced Wednesday that provincial public servants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 30.
The news comes on the heels of announcements requiring mandatory COVID vaccinations for correctional workers, people in regulated child-care centres, teachers and health-care workers.
The province said people who do not comply with the policy will be placed on unpaid leave, unless they have an employer-approved exemption.
Being fully vaccinated will also be a requirement for new civil servant hires.
The policy applies to direct employees of the provincial government — not employees of Crown corporations such as the NSLC or agencies like Develop Nova Scotia.
"We want to keep as many Nova Scotians as safe as possible," said Premier Tim Houston at a Wednesday COVID-19 briefing.
He said he doesn't anticipate any disruptions to service as a result of the vaccine mandate.
Premier would like private employers to have vaccine mandates
Asked at the briefing what he thought of this, Houston said the province has taken several steps to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
"Do we wish others would follow along and support us? Yes," he said.
Houston said he'd like Halifax and private employers to have vaccine mandates.
'Flip me the bird,' says premier
On Monday, Nova Scotia's proof-of-vaccination policy for non-essential activities came into effect. Houston said Wednesday that he's proud of how Nova Scotians are following public health guidance and looking out for others.
But he said he's heard stories of people being rude to staff, refusing to wear masks or showing proof of vaccination.
"We all know how ridiculous this type of behaviour is," he said.
Houston said there are "no excuses" for these kinds of actions.
"If you don't want to do the things that keep us all safe, just stay home," he said.
Houston said if people have a problem with the proof-of-vaccination policy, they shouldn't take it out on the people enforcing it.
"Flip me the bird," he said.
Later this month, the province will release an app that will allow businesses and organizations to scan people's QR codes to ensure proof of vaccination, said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang.
1 new death, 25 cases
The province reported one new death and 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
The person who died was a woman in her 70s who lived in the central zone.
The newly reported cases bring the number of active cases in the province to 254.
Twenty of the new cases are in the central zone, two are in the northern zone, two are in the western zone and one is in the eastern zone.
There are 15 people in hospital with the virus, including five who are in intensive care.
'I believe schools remain safe,' says Strang
Strang said new case numbers are averaging around 40 a day, which is "largely what we expected," he said.
Strang said that despite the highly contagious and severe nature of the delta variant, the symptoms children who contract COVID-19 experience are mild in the vast majority of cases.
"I believe schools remain safe, even though we may have some virus activity," he said.
Strang encouraged parents to keep their kids in school, unless they are directed by Public Health to do otherwise.
Houston said the best thing people can do for kids is take actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
"Do what you can to protect the people around you who cannot protect themselves," he said.
People must be at least 12 to be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
75.6% of Nova Scotians fully vaccinated against COVID-19
As of Wednesday, 75.6 per cent of Nova Scotians have been fully vaccinated.
Labs in the province processed 4,645 tests on Tuesday.
Four schools were notified of an exposure on Tuesday. A full list of school exposures can be found here.
Atlantic Canada case numbers
- New Brunswick reported one new death and 71 new cases on Wednesday. The province has 775 active cases and 51 people in hospital, including 25 in intensive care. New Brunswick is implementing a 14-day circuit breaker, which includes limiting Thanksgiving gatherings to single households.
- Newfoundland and Labrador reported nine new cases on Wednesday. The province has 132 active cases, and 14 people are in hospital.
- Prince Edward Island reported one new case on Tuesday, and has nine active cases.