N.S. increasing self-isolation enforcement of travellers from outside Atlantic Canada
Daily phone calls for 14-day period, police will be called if 3 calls go unanswered
Nova Scotia is imposing stricter measures to ensure people from outside Atlantic Canada self-isolate upon entering the province.
Travellers will have to fill out a form, available on the province's coronavirus website on Tuesday, providing the address where they will be isolating and a phone number where they can be reached.
A public health worker will call every day for the 14-day isolation period. After three calls go unanswered, Premier Stephen McNeil said the police will check at the address provided.
"If they are in self-isolation, they should be able to take a call," McNeil said Monday at a COVID-19 briefing.
He said conservation officers working at the border were collecting the information from travellers Monday.
Nova Scotia has four active cases of COVID-19 after a single new case was identified during testing on Sunday — a man in his 20s who flew from the U.S. to Toronto and to Halifax, but failed to self-isolate upon entering Nova Scotia.
"Clearly, some people who say they will be self-isolating aren't," McNeil said. "They are putting us at risk, this is not acceptable."
The man is also connected to some new infections on P.E.I. Public health officials are tracing his contacts in Nova Scotia, between June 26 and July 4.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said there is no "conclusive information" yet, but as contact tracing continues, the public may be notified of possible exposures to the coronavirus.
McNeil said the man had a student visa to study on P.E.I., but did not have the necessary paperwork filled out and was refused entry.
The man did, however, spread the coronavirus to another man, also in his 20s. That individual travelled June 26 from P.E.I. to Nova Scotia, where he came in contact with the man who had travelled from the United States, and then returned to the Island three days later.
McNeil reiterated that this recent case was not related to the opening of the Atlantic bubble, and the bubble would stay in place as long as there are no spikes of COVID-19 in the region.
The man who travelled from the U.S. is now being held under federal authority at a local quarantine facility, Strang said.
Because the border is under federal jurisdiction, anyone with Canadian citizenship, permanent residency or immediate family in Canada is legally allowed to enter the country.
Under the Federal Quarantine Act, with the exception of essential workers, those people still need to follow the 14-day quarantine period. Strang said the case this weekend "raises questions" about people following those rules.
"But I also ask people to not make assumptions about what they may be seeing people doing," he said. "If you see American licence plates, don't assume that the people are here illegally and that they haven't done their quarantine period."
The province is "urgently" working on a tracking system for people coming to Nova Scotia from outside of the Atlantic region, he said.
Can do 'much better'
Although mandating the use of non-medical masks is "not off the table," Strang is encouraging everyone to have a mask readily available when they enter spaces where physical distancing is not guaranteed.
Getting in the habit of wearing a non-medical mask is something he said Nova Scotians can do "much better" on in anticipation of a potential second wave.
"Once it's here, it'll be too late for us to get our mask-wearing to the point where it needs to be," he said. "We need to adopt this now."
The latest positive test result was one of 178 tests completed at the QEII Health Science Centre on July 5. The lab continues to operate 24 hours a day.
To date, Nova Scotia has had 1,065 cases and 63 deaths. Two people who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 are still being treated in hospital, but their cases are considered resolved.
People with one or more of the following COVID-19 symptoms are asked to visit 811's website:
- Fever (chills, sweats).
- Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
- Sore throat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Muscle aches.
- Nasal congestion/runny nose.
- Hoarse voice.
- Unusual fatigue.
- Loss of sense of smell or taste.
- Red, purple or bluish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers that do not have a clear cause.