Starting Friday, Nova Scotia rotational workers will need to be tested for COVID-19 twice each time they return home.

"We had to make a tough decision, but we believe it is the right one," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "Audits will be done, and if they do not get their first test, they will be found, they will be called and reminded to get their second test. And if they do not get their second test, they will be fined $1,000 for that."

McNeil said Tuesday that 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.

Rotational workers are supposed to follow a 14-day modified self-isolation. Nova Scotia Public Health hopes that it can identify COVID-19 sooner and slow the spread of the virus.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said that since Dec. 21, 21 of Nova Scotia's newly confirmed cases, or 9.4 per cent, have been traced to rotational workers.

Strang said they will be tested on Day 1 or 2 and then again on Day 6, 7, or 8. They will need two negative tests, he said.

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."

NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES RISES TO 27

Nova Scotia has announced one new COVID-19 case on Tuesday. There were no recoveries reported Tuesday, as the number of active cases in the province has increased to 27.

Tuesday's new case was identified in the Central zone and and is a close contact of a previously reported case.

UPDATE ON VACCINES

Nova Scotia health reports 3,831 doses of the vaccine have been administered as of Jan. 9. Of those patients, 1,076 have received a second dose of the vaccine.

The province has received 13,450 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since the vaccine arrived on Dec. 15, with additional shipments scheduled to arrive weekly. Half of each vaccine shipment will be reserved to ensure second doses are available.

N.S. COVID-19 DATA

The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,408 tests on Monday.

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 131,581 tests. There have been 445 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. No one is currently in hospital. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 70. Four hundred and eighteen cases are now resolved.

Since the pandemic began, Nova Scotia has completed 254,759 tests. Cumulatively, there have been 1,534 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 65 total deaths.

There is currently no one in hospital due to COVID-19.

The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.

Fifty-five per cent of cases are female, and 45 per cent are male.

There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the Central Zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.

The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.

  • Western Zone: 89 cases
  • Central Zone: 1259 cases
  • Northern Zone: 114 cases
  • Eastern Zone: 72 cases

The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Jan. 24, 2021.

COVID ALERT APP

Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is available in Nova Scotia.

The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

LIST OF SYMPTOMS

Anyone who experiences a fever or new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following new or worsening symptoms, is encouraged to take an online test or call 811 to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion

With files from The Canadian Press.