HALIFAX — Nova Scotia rotational workers will be required to get tested for COVID-19 when they return to the province from outside Atlantic Canada or face a fine of $1,000.
Health officials said the mandatory testing requirement begins Friday. Rotational workers will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine as soon as they return home, and they will need to get tested on the first or second day of their isolation period and then again on day six, seven or eight.
Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters Tuesday he’s concerned about the high number of COVID-19 cases in other parts of Canada, specifically Alberta, where many of Nova Scotia’s rotational workers travel.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said few workers had participated in the voluntary testing program the government set up in December. He said about 9 per cent of COVID-19 cases reported in the province since Dec. 1 have been identified among rotational workers.
"We have not seen as much uptake as we would like," Strang said. "To date, we've only had about a third of our rotational workers getting tested."
Workers will be called if they neglect to get the first test and then slapped with a fine if they don't get the second, McNeil said, adding that rotational workers "have a significant risk of importing the virus into Nova Scotia."
The province said it had administered 3,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of the weekend. Strang said he expects about 10,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines to arrive in the province later this week.
Officials reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the active case count in Nova Scotia to 27.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2021.
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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press