Nova Scotia premier concerned about rising COVID exposures in bars, public venues

·2 min read

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's premier is expressing concern about complacency amidst rising numbers of potential COVID-19 exposures in bars, churches and other public places in Halifax.

Stephen McNeil's comments come hours after public health officials advised people who were at a Halifax martini bar on Monday night to urgently get tested for the virus. 

It's the latest in a string of similar, recent warnings involving venues in the provincial capital as well as the Halifax transit system. 

McNeil says he's concerned about the recent spike in potential exposures, even though the provincial case count remains relatively low. 

He says Nova Scotia residents can't afford to get complacent about the virus

He's urging everyone to observe all public health protocols in order to keep the pandemic contained. 

"I am concerned about the recent increase in both the number of cases and public exposure notices," he said. 

"We cannot become complacent about this virus. That means we all must continue to follow public health protocols, including social distancing, wearing a mask, proper hand hygiene and limiting social contacts."
The latest exposure warning from public health officials came on Sunday morning and focused on the Bitter End Bar in downtown Halifax.

They said potential exposure to the coronavirus occurred sometime between 9 p.m. and closing on Nov. 2.

In a news release, the province asked anyone who was at the bar that day to phone 811 immediately, regardless of whether they are showing any symptoms.

As of Sunday, the province still had only 20 active cases of COVID-19, with three new cases identified on Saturday and three people recovering from the illness.

Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia, said public health officials have been sending alerts about potential exposures in a number of community settings, including bars, restaurants and sports facilities.

The province has advised people to monitor for symptoms if they were at the BMO soccer centre on the evening of Nov. 1; the Canada Games Centre on the morning of Nov. 2; the Braemar Drive superstore from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 3 or the Fit4Less facility in Bedford from 7:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Nov. 3.

The release also warned those who rode the Halifax transit route 59 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. or who were at Gahan House during the night of Nov. 4 of possible exposure.

On Sunday, the province called for people who worshipped at the Saint Andrew's United Church in Halifax on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. to immediately call 811 to arrange for testing, along with people who were at Montana's BBQ and bar in Halifax that evening.

To date, Nova Scotia has had 1,128 COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths. No one is currently in hospital.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2020.

The Canadian Press