Friday, March 13: Here’s how Nova Scotia is being impacted by COVID-19 today

Nova Scotia

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nova Scotia, but here’s a round-up of the latest cancellations and restrictions across the province.

A round-up of the latest local cancellations and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic

Nova Scotians who have travelled abroad are being asked to avoid long-term care homes for two weeks after their return. (Amy Smith/CBC)

Latest

  • People who think they may have COVID-19 must call 811 first before they can be tested
  • Officials preparing for a spike in testing after families return from March Break trips abroad

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, but there are preparations underway around the province.

Here’s what’s happening:

Schools and universities

  • High schools in the Halifax Regional Centre for Education cancelled exam exemptions for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year. The decision was made after concerns that continuing to offer exemptions during the COVID-19 pandemic could encourage students to attend school when they are sick.
     
  • We’koqma’q Mi’kmaw School in Cape Breton will remain closed for a week after March Break and King’s-Edgehill School in Windsor will be closed for two weeks after the end of its March Break. The Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether public schools in the province might follow suit.
     
  • On Wednesday, Education Minister Zach Churchill said students can come back to school after travelling abroad over March Break, provided they are feeling well.
     
  • All of Nova Scotia’s regional centres for education have cancelled international school trips before April 30.
     
  • Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College in Halifax have cancelled all international field courses until September 2020. They also cancelled all student, faculty and staff travel for university purposes to any country with a Public Health Agency of Canada travel health notice related to COVID-19
     
  • Dalhousie Crossroads, an annual interdisciplinary health research conference set for this weekend at the university, has been cancelled.
     
  • Saint Mary’s University in Halifax has cancelled all university-related travel to China, Iran, Italy and parts of South Korea.
     
  • Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax has cancelled all university-related travel to all of the countries with active COVID-19 travel notices (Levels 1-4). This applies to all university-related travel by students, faculty and staff (like for research purposes, conferences, study abroad). 

Health-care facilities

  • The Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK say they are limiting visitors at all sites to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A patient can name up to two people who will be their family or primary support person/people.
     
  • The Nova Scotia Health Authority has opened a number of COVID-19 testing sites and plans to open more in the coming days.
     
  • As demand for COVID-19 testing increases in Nova Scotia, the province has taken a step to speed up the process. Negative tests can now be declared at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax within 24 hours. Presumptive cases will still go to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for confirmation.
     
  • The province is restricting anyone who travelled outside the country in the last 14 days from entering long-term care homes.

Travel

  • As of March 12, there are no impacts to municipal services in Halifax, including Halifax Transit. Enhanced cleaning is being undertaken at municipal facilities, including the installation of hand-sanitization stations. 
     
  • The Halifax International Airport Authority says it updated its pandemic plan and is monitoring the situation. It said it’s working to enhance cleaning in high-traffic areas and have deployed more public hand-sanitizing stations.
     
  • The airport authority also said it’s putting additional screening measures in place to help identify any travellers returning to Canada who might be ill.
     
  • Public health officials have advised against taking a cruise, but there have been no operational changes or cancellations yet at the Port of Halifax or the Port of Sydney.

Events and sports

  • U Sports announced Thursday night the 2020 university hockey championships have been cancelled. The women’s tournament was happening in Charlottetown while the men were in Halifax.
     
  • The Maritime Junior Hockey League has suspended the start of the playoffs. 
     
  • All Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities, including national championships, have been cancelled until further notice.
     
  • All Hockey Nova Scotia events, including: minor hockey games and practices, all provincial tournaments, and all minor hockey and female hockey tournaments, have been cancelled.
     
  • The QMJHL has suspended its season, with all Halifax Mooseheads and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles games paused until further notice. The Eagles said in a statement that fans with tickets to remaining home games should keep their tickets until more information is provided. 
     
  • The National Basketball League of Canada is suspending operations until further notice as a result of concerns regarding COVID-19. This includes all Halifax Hurricanes games.
     
  • The 2020 Halifax St. Patrick’s Day parade scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled.
     
  • The 2020 Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, scheduled for March 31-April 10, has been cancelled.
     
  • The Science Atlantic conferences planned at Cape Breton University for this weekend have been cancelled.
     
  • The 2020 Building Employment Skills for Successful Transitions (BEST) conference planned for Saturday at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax has been cancelled. 
     
  • The National Lacrosse League has temporarily suspended play until further notice, including all Halifax Thunderbirds games.
     
  • The Trauma Association of Canada has cancelled their upcoming Scientific Meeting and Conference scheduled March 25-27, 2020 in Halifax. Its annual general meeting on March 26 will be rescheduled as a teleconference at a future date.
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