(Halifax) Nova Scotia closed all of its borders to non-essential travel on Monday as the province reported 121 new cases of COVID-19.
Health officials have identified 94 cases in the “central zone,” including the Halifax area, 16 in the “east zone,” six in the “west zone,” and five in the “north zone.” The province had declared 1,655 active cases of COVID-19 and 58 people were hospitalized on Monday, including nine in intensive care.
Nova Scotia banned non-essential travel in much of the country in April. But Monday’s new health ordinance calls for the closure of borders with Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, two provinces previously exempted.
The ordinance also applies to anyone visiting the province, at least until the end of May. In addition, shift workers returning to Nova Scotia from an outbreak area – such as the oil sands field at Fort McMurray, Alta. – must also self-isolate for 14 days.
Premier Ian Rankin announced new restrictions on Friday as part of measures to contain the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Atlantic Canada since the start of the pandemic.
The government also extended school closures until the end of May and introduced rules, which went into effect on Saturday, requiring all businesses to offer personal shopping to impose a limit of one customer per household. In addition, only “essential shops” can accommodate customers in stores, which are limited to a maximum capacity of 25%.
Nova Scotia imposed a province-wide lockdown on April 28 after it became clear the virus was spreading rapidly. The majority of cases have been identified in the Halifax area.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Monday that 26 people were fined $2,422 for attending a religious rally at a church in Annapolis Valley on Sunday for failing to follow hygiene measures. Weston Christian Fellowship Church in Weston was also fined $11,622.
RCMP spokesman Chris Marshall said the congregation, which had been the subject of a complaint last Sunday, was being warned this time that it could face fines.
The RCMP also said on Monday that it was fined $11,622 on May 6 for not closing an unnamed Windsor “personal services” business, as required by law.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic
In neighboring New Brunswick, the Zone 4 sector (Edmondston) that was still in the “orange phase” on Monday was to join the rest of the province in the “yellow phase” at midnight on Monday. This exemption affects the city of Edmundston and the Haut-Madavaska, Saint-Leonard, Grand-Salt, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls areas.
New Brunswick reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday: five were identified in the province and six more, including New Brunswickers who are isolating themselves outside the province. Three of the 11 cases were reported in the Moncton area, three were in the Bathurst area, and one case each was reported in the other five areas.
There were 149 active cases in the province and 11 people were hospitalized on Monday. Seven patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in New Brunswick, with two in intensive care, while four others were hospitalized outside the province.
Officials also announced on Monday that people aged 40 and above can now make an appointment for vaccination. These people can register online for a Vitalite or Horizon Health Network clinic, or contact a participating pharmacy (list is available on the government website).
The government on Monday also issued guidelines for graduation ceremonies in schools, depending on the level of pandemic alert at that time. Proms have already been cancelled.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday: two cases linked to travel within the country and the third linked to already known infections. Authorities also reported a new case, believed to be linked to a school in the Kodroy Valley, west of the island. Public Health says there is no evidence of community transmission in the region.
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