Nova Scotia is expanding the winter break for public school students “with extreme caution” and to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19.
Premier Stephen McNeil on Friday announced that schools in the province would close on December 18 instead of December 22 and reopen to students on January 11 instead of January 4.
“We are very clearly concerned about the upcoming family reunions, the people who are consulting with each other. If we close it for an extra week, it will give a two-week cycle from Christmas day to January 11,” McNeill told a news conference Friday.
“And if there is any kind of outbreak in our communities, we can identify the children before they go back to school.”
Staff will return to school on Jan. 4 for five days of professional learning.
The announcement came on the same day that a second case of the virus was discovered at Shannon Park Elementary School in Dortmouth. The first case Marked Tuesday.
The school has been closed since the first case was announced there on Tuesday. Students will now return next Wednesday.
Students will continue learning from home during the closure and families will receive an update Tuesday.
The outbreak was announced at a poultry plant
The province is Announced the outbreak of COVID-19 in a large poultry facility plant In the Annapolis Valley after multiple cases were identified this week.
Provincial Chief Health Officer Dr Robert Strong said all employees at Eden Valley Poultry in Berwick, NS, were tested. Nova Scotia Health today expects test results for 300 employees.
On Tuesday, Strong said Two people tested positive for the virus At the facility. Two other employees have tested positive since then.
Strong said infected people and their close acquaintances are being isolated.
The plant will be closed for the next two weeks and all employees will be tested again next week.
Strong said the outbreak began at the facility after an employee became infected with a family member who had traveled outside Atlantic Canada. He said there was no evidence of community transmission, but that characteristic tests would be improved throughout the Annapolis Valley area.
9 new cases
Nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the province on Friday, bringing the total to 65.
Three cases are in the western zone, which includes the Annapolis Valley. Two of those cases are close acquaintances of previous cases, the other is under investigation. One case is in the North Zone and is under investigation.
The other five cases are in the Central Zone. Both are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada and those individuals are self-segregated. One case is a close acquaintance of the previous case, and one case is under investigation.
Nova Scotia Labs completed 1,859 tests on Thursday.
Vaccine roll out in Nova Scotia
Wednesday, Health Canada Pfizer-Bioentech approves COVID-19 vaccine. Nova Scotia expects 1,950 doses of the vaccine on December 15, with regular weekly allocations starting in January.
Strong said Nova Scotia will eventually receive 150,000 doses, which is enough to give 75,000 people immunity.
He said that in the early stages of immunity, those who cause harm will be given priority.
During the first three months of 2021, long-term care residents and staff, front-line health care workers responding to COVID-19, and people 85 years of age or older were the first to be vaccinated.
In the spring, Tuvalu, Nova Scotia will receive higher doses to give immunity to other health care and needy workers, Strong said. It will not be until the summer before the vaccine is offered to the wider community.
“I know people are interested in getting the COVID vaccine, it’s encouraging, but we need people to be patient,” Strong said.
“You have to understand that this is a process that takes months and our evidence follows a national evidence-based approach when it comes to who gets the vaccine and in what order.”
Although people are starting to get vaccinated, Strong says COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing a mask and physical distance will still be in place.
More mental health funding
The province announced further mental health and addiction support for those struggling during the epidemic.
Nova Scotia’s Mental Health Foundation receives over $ 1.6 million in grants to organizations in the province. Grants range up to $ 25,000 each.
The province is also restoring the state of emergency. The order will take effect from Sunday afternoon and will be extended until noon on December 27.
Cases in Atlantic Provinces
Newfoundland and Labrador announced on Monday they would not return to the Atlantic bubble for at least a month. That means anyone from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island must remain self-isolated for 14 days.
PEI announced on Thursday that travel restrictions in the area will be in effect until at least December 21.
The chief medical officer of New Brunswick on Wednesday commented on the fate of the Atlantic bubble, saying the establishment would never be reopened.
Latest figures from Atlantic Provinces:
- Newfoundland and Labrador Friday reported a new case and has 20 active cases.
- New Brunswick Four new cases were reported on Thursday and there were 75 active cases. Four of the three were hospitalized in intensive care.
- PEI There were no new cases on Friday and 12 active cases.