HALIFAX — Nova Scotia reported a new daily record for COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with 537 infections, as well another death attributed to the novel coronavirus.
Health officials said the latest death was a man in 50s from the northern zone.
"I am saddened to hear about the loss of another Nova Scotian, so close to what is supposed to be a joyful time of year," Premier Tim Houston said in a statement offering condolences.
He urged people to keep their gatherings small and follow public health rules.
"Now is not the time to let our guard down," he said.
Of the newly reported cases, 434 are located in the central zone which includes Halifax. Another 36 cases were in the eastern zone, 44 in the northern zone and 23 in the western zone.
Officials say 10 people are in hospital, with three of them listed in intensive care.
Also Wednesday, the province announced it would be renewing its paid sick leave program for workers affected by the rising COVID-19 cases in the province.
Under the temporary program, people can qualify for up to four paid sick days if they can't work remotely and miss less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work time in a one-week period.
The program is expected to begin Jan. 10 and will run until March 31 and will retroactively cover sick days starting from Dec. 21.
It covers employee wages, including wages of self-employed people, up to a maximum of $20 per hour or $160 per day for a maximum payment over the 15-week period of $640 per worker.
Eligible businesses that continue to pay their employees during their leave may be reimbursed by the program.
The program, which originally launched in May of this year and covered sick days from May 10 to July 31, paid out $600,000 in benefits covering 4,000 sick days according to the province.
The premier urged people to stay home when they are ill.
"People should continue to do the right thing — just as they did during the third wave — to keep our workplaces safe," Houston said in a news release.
The program is meant to compliment the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which may apply after an employee has been off for 50 per cent or more of their scheduled work week.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2021.
The Canadian Press