Update to Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Response

With the World Health Organization saying COVID-19 no longer requires a global emergency-type response, Nova Scotia is changing its approach to managing the virus.

COVID-19 will be treated similar to other respiratory illnesses like influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The change means the COVID-related Health Protection Act Order is no longer necessary, and public health’s COVID-19 reporting will also change.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, made the announcement today, May 23.

“It is important to note that while COVID-19 no longer requires an emergency-type response, we continue to monitor COVID-19 activity and will adjust our plan as needed, as we do with other diseases,” said Dr. Strang. “As we begin to plan for the upcoming respiratory season this fall, we are taking a more general approach, integrating COVID-19 into our respiratory illnesses program. The same type of personal measures that protect us against COVID-19 will also protect us against influenza and other respiratory illnesses.”

Effective today, Nova Scotia has lifted the Health Protection Act Order, the mandatory vaccination protocol for high-risk settings and the directive around COVID-19 management in long-term care facilities.

Employers and operators of high-risk settings will be responsible for policies about COVID-19, including masking and whether employees, outside service providers and volunteers need to be vaccinated. Employees and others who have questions about an organization’s vaccine policy should contact the organization directly.

Public health has provided guidance for operators of congregate settings on COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

On Thursday, May 25, the weekly COVID-19 dashboard will be updated for the last time. Nova Scotia will continue to report the data in the monthly COVID-19 report. The report, produced in the middle of the month, reflects the COVID-19 epidemiology in the province for the previous month.

Starting in October, COVID-19 data will be reported with other respiratory illnesses in Respiratory Watch, a document produced by public health. It will initially be published monthly and then more frequently during respiratory season.

Quick Facts:

  • the Health Protection Act Order came into effect March 15, 2020
  • the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Protocol in High-Risk Settings came into effect on November 30, 2021
  • high-risk congregate living situations include healthcare facilities, long-term care homes, correctional facilities and some facilities operated by Department of Community Services