Nova Scotia reported two cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the first for the province in over two weeks.
The last time officials identified a case was on July 15. By July 26, all of its remaining patients had recovered, leading to zero active cases.
The two recent patients are in the Central Zone and recently travelled outside of Canada. They’ve been following self-isolation rules since returning.
Nova Scotia continues to share the Atlantic bubble with the other three Atlantic provinces, allowing them to travel between their provincial lines without having to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival and departure.
Premier Stephen McNeil said his government wants to find the safest way to reopen to the rest of Canada, but the province “is not there yet” and a timeline remains unclear.
“We cannot continue to keep ourselves locked down,” McNeil said. “There are many parts of the country that are doing as well as we are.
“There’s certainly a level of anxiety in our provinces about doing that. But we need to make sure that as we protect the public health of our citizens, we … begin to look at the economic health.”
On Friday, the province started applying its mask policy, making them mandatory in most public spaces, such as shopping centres and gyms, as well restaurants and bars when people are not eating or drinking.
Nova Scotia Health Minister Randy Delorey said the province doesn’t plan to take a “strong-arm approach to enforcement” and will instead take the honour-system approach. Failure to adhere to the order could result in “fines and other provisions,” but Delorey said there are no plans to enforce it.
“The reason that it’s important to make masks mandatory now, even with few active cases, is part of being prepared for the likely occurrence of a second wave,” Delorey said.
Throughout the pandemic, Nova Scotia has had 1,069 cases of COVID-19. That includes 64 victims of the respiratory virus, and 1,003 people who have recovered. The two patients announced Friday are the only active cases in the province.