Nova Scotia reported three new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday.
All of the cases are in the central zone, one of which is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The other two cases are under investigation, province says. As of Tuesday, there are 19 active cases in the province.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said while case numbers are relatively low, cases are popping up across the province.
“There is no single hot spot. The potential for COVID is here, regardless of what community you are in,” Strang said.
He said he’s still hearing stories of people being denied services or entry to businesses, particularly those from the Halifax area. He is also still hearing incidents of denying services to rotational workers and using intimidating language.
“This unacceptable, we cannot tolerate such behavior in our communities. I know there is fear and anxiety… I also know that shaming and blaming people does not prevent the spread of COVID-19. Shaming and blaming creates stigma,” Strang said.
Strang said it’s important to reduce stigma so that individuals will be honest about their travels, close contacts, and social gatherings when it comes to contact tracing.
“We’re in the midst of a pandemic, people will test positive and we need to accept that.”
On Tuesday, the province released its phased approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution in 2021, and it includes plans to receive enough doses to vaccinate half a million people in the next six months.
Starting in January through April, the first phase of vaccination will focus on vaccinating priority health-care workers and approximately 30,000 staff members and residents in long-term and residential care.
There are also over 80,000 adults over the age of 75 who are on the list to be vaccinated in the first phase.
The province said on Tuesday it hopes to complete 10,000 vaccinations per day in a later phase of the plan. It also expects to make vaccination available to 75 per cent of Nova Scotians eligible by the end of September.
Strang said on Tuesday asymptomatic testing will be ramped up again this month.
The province has also made testing mandatory for rotational workers and students returning to Nova Scotia.
Returning post-secondary students from outside Atlantic Canada must get tested for COVID-19 six to eight days after the day of arrival, while in self-isolation. Appointments can be booked up to three days in advance, the province said.
More information on testing for COVID-19 is available here.