Several COVID-19 tests and new specific isolation rules will soon be mandatory for those with custody visits, rotation workers and skilled workers
This week, Nova Scotia’s new guidelines come into effect for certain groups of travelers entering the province.
Starting Monday March 1st, the following groups will be required to perform multiple COVID-19 tests:
- All rotation workers are required to complete three COVID-19 tests during their 14-day mandatory self-isolation
- Skilled workers will perform up to three tests depending on how long they are in Nova Scotia
- Parents and children (ages 4+) whose custody visits include travel outside of Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island are required to take three COVID-19 tests
“This is not a response to the immediate events, but we have certainly been working over the past few weeks to ensure that we have strong measures at our limit because of the variants,” said Dr. Robert Strang, said Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer for health at the COVID-19 briefing on Friday. “We’re also testing groups that regularly travel to Nova Scotia.”
According to Strang, Nova Scotia Public Health is working to create additional testing requirements for other groups of people who travel and are exempt from the 14-day quarantine.
Custody COVID-19 logs
New protocols begin for individuals traveling for custody, including drop-off, pick-up, and visit.
Individuals traveling for custody must complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form prior to traveling to Nova Scotia. You may also need to self-isolate.
The COVID-19 protocol for custody describes the various requirements that parents and children must meet depending on the situation.
Some situations are milder.
For example, parents traveling to Nova Scotia to drop off or pick up a child and leave the province within 24 hours do not need to self-isolate or be tested.
Visits have more specific rules.
Parents and children entering Nova Scotia from outside of Prince Edward Island or on a non-routine visit from New Brunswick are required to complete a daily Nova Scotia Safe Check-in and Modified Self-Isolation Period.
The modified self-isolation period allows visitors to interact with the people in the household they are visiting, spend time outdoors on their property, take a drive, and even visit an outdoor area – like a park or beach – for as long they wear a mask and exercise physical distance when meeting people from outside their household.
However, the parents or children who live in Nova Scotia and receive the visitor do not need to self-isolate as long as they do not have symptoms.
“As long as they have no symptoms, the Nova Scotia parent or child can continue their regular routines,” the protocol said.
Those who have routine visits between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – for example, visits every weekend or every other week – can be exempted from the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period if they meet a list of conditions:
- Travel as direct as possible to where they are and use contactless services for stopovers
- Isolate in their overnight options if you are staying overnight or longer
- Wearing a non-medical mask in a public indoor space other than the overnight accommodation
- Parents have no contact with anyone except their child (s), but children can still go to school, childcare or extracurricular activities
- Closely monitor health and check for symptoms
- Completion of a daily Nova Scotia Safe check-in
In both visiting situations, three tests for COVID-19 are mandatory for travel outside of Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island.
Rotation and skilled workers
“We’re also making some changes to our definition of rotation and skilled workers,” said Strang. “Our provincial jurisdiction only applies to people traveling inland.
“We’re changing our protocols to only cover domestic workers and skilled workers. International rotation workers are subject to the Federal Quarantine Act and must meet federal requirements. “
The provincial website defines skilled workers as workers from another province or area who are performing urgent or critical on-site work that requires skills not available in Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. This includes people who are indispensable for the inspection, installation or repair of special equipment. those essential to maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure and completing large construction projects.
Skilled workers must follow the COVID-19 exemption for skilled workers. This only allows skilled workers to work in Nova Scotia before completing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation.
On the province’s website, rotation workers are defined as “those who live in Nova Scotia and who regularly travel to another province or area (outside of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) for work.”
Workers falling under this category must follow the COVID-19 exemption for rotation workers.
You also get a modified form of 14-day self-isolation. Similar to custody modification, rotation workers can interact with other household members, participate in multiple outdoor activities, and visit an outdoor public space.
During the 14 days, rotation workers still cannot enter indoor public spaces, visit other people outside their household, allow others to visit their household while they are on the property, or work in a role that puts them in contact with non-household members.
Rotary workers can only break their modified form of self-isolation to receive one of their three mandatory COVID-19 tests.
With the new restrictions in effect, Strand is asking Nova Scotians to fully understand these rules before making a judgment.
“Rotary workers are actually allowed to travel around their communities with their families,” he said. “We had this before when people reported that there shouldn’t be one way or another where they actually do what they are allowed to do as a rotation worker.
“Be careful in judging what people are actually doing when you don’t understand what they are actually allowed to do.”
He said if someone has “legitimate evidence” that someone is violating their mandatory quarantine period, they should contact the non-emergency police line.
Strang also said the province is encouraging all Nova Scotians to get tested and should build that into their personal COVID-19 logs.
“Whether or not they are concerned about someone else’s activities in their community,” he said. “We encourage all Nova Scotians to take tests to see if they are asymptomatic.
“Not just because you think someone in your community is doing something they shouldn’t be doing.”