N.S. medical officer tells students outside Atlantic region to stay put for holidays

·2 min read

HALIFAX — Students studying outside the Atlantic region should consider staying away from home for the holidays, Nova Scotia’s top doctor said Friday.

Chief medical officer Robert Strang said he made the suggestion in light of the alarming increase of COVID-19 infections across the country.

“As tough as it is to say, the best choice would be for them to actually stay where they’re at,” he told reporters. “I recognize that’s not going to be possible for everybody, but right now if they come back, they’re going to have to think about the implications of that for the household.”

Travellers from outside Atlantic Canada who enter Nova Scotia need to isolate for 14 days -- and if they live with others, all household members need to isolate with them. Universities in the region have postponed the start of the winter semester to allow students time to isolate when they return from holiday travel.

Although cases remain low in Nova Scotia, Strang cautioned that rising infections in the rest of the country and internationally would eventually result in "ongoing introductions of COVID into this province." He said strict border policies, rapid testing and widespread adherence to public health guidance will continue to be large parts of the province's plan to hold back an uptick of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Strang said Friday he was "less anxious" about a cluster of COVID-19 cases that were reported Monday in the Halifax suburb of Clayton Park. He said authorities are still monitoring the situation in the area, but said no cases have been reported there since Tuesday.

"There's certainly nothing to suggest any spread into the broader community," Strang said. 

Strang also stressed that residents in the province need to consider shrinking their social circles to help reduce COVID-19 transmission, especially during the next six to eight weeks.

The province reported two new cases of COVID-19 Friday and renewed the pandemic-related state of emergency until late November.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2020. 

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press