Nova Scotia is reporting 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as the province asks post-secondary students returning from outside of Atlantic Canada to book a COVID-19 test.
Nine of these cases are in the province's central zone. Seven are close contacts of previous cases and one is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. Another remains under investigation, according to a news release.
One case is a student at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. The student lives on campus and has been self-isolating.
Another case has been identified as a student at Dalhousie University in Halifax. The student lives on campus and the case remains under investigation.
There are currently 29 active cases in Nova Scotia.
In Wednesday's news release, the province is asking university students who have returned to Nova Scotia after the break from outside of Atlantic Canada to book a test.
This should be done on their sixth, seventh or eighth day of isolation, according to the release. Appointments can be booked up to three days in advance. "I want to welcome returning students and thank them for following public health protocols. I also remind asymptomatic students to get a COVID-19 test during their self-isolation," said Premier Stephen McNeil in the release.
"Staying vigilant and following all the protective measures will help keep our case numbers low as our vaccine program is rolled out across the province."
This comes a day after Nova Scotia released its plans for the vaccine, with the provincial government aiming to immunize three-quarters of residents by the end of September.
McNeil said during a news briefing on Tuesday that more than one million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive between now and June, enough to vaccinate "more than half of our population."
The premier also said he was encouraged by the low number of cases in the province, but added that Nova Scotians needed to continue following the public health guidelines.
The low numbers allowed bars and restaurants to reopen to in-person dining on Monday. The Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation also announced on its website that activities may restart next Monday, provided COVID-19 guidelines are followed.
Nova Scotia's labs completed 1,578 tests on Tuesday.
31 new cases in New Brunswick
New Brunswick reported a record single-day increase of 31 new cases on Wednesday.
Case numbers have been climbing steadily over the last few days in the province, and New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, said on Wednesday that things are likely to get worse before they get better.
Russell anticipates a spike in cases within seven to 10 days related to New Year's Eve parties.
On Tuesday, when New Brunswick announced 27 new cases and rolled back to the orange zone, McNeil said he would continue to monitor the situation.
People from other Atlantic provinces are still allowed to enter Nova Scotia without the 14-day quarantine.
New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador have imposed isolation rules for travellers after the Atlantic bubble burst in November.
N.L. Premier Andrew Furey extended the hiatus from the Atlantic bubble for at least another month on Wednesday.
Atlantic Canada case numbers
The latest COVID-19 numbers from the Atlantic provinces are:
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