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‘Going down the road’ comes home to bite Nova Scotia (updated)

Iain Rankin. Photo Communications Nova Scotia

Re: Going down the road comes back to bite Nova Scotia 

I have pulled this article because it inadvertently included an incorrect timeline, particularly in terms of what changed on April 6 pertaining to transitional workers. My apologies.

Robert Devet, editor

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    1. Thanks Judy. It’s all very discouraging. When Iain Rankin was looking for his ‘stay the blazes home’ moment, and came up with, “What is wrong with you people?”, this was a calculated move on his part – and the Comms people who frame his message for him – to pass the blame to individuals and get the focus off of his government’s actions and policies. A trick you and I have seen countless times from countless governments.

  1. Fair point to make, but I want to point out that the province never exempted the self isolation requirement for out of province workers returning to NS. The source given, the link to the press release of April 6, makes no mention of changes to the self isolation requirements of rotational workers, nor can I find anything else to support the claim made in the article. In September 2020, some restrictions were eased for workers with the introduction of the modified self-isolation, which still required workers to isolate from the public but allowed some activities such as going for a drive or hike. In January 2021, the province made it mandatory for rotational workers to be tested 3 times during the 14 day modified isolation. The most recent changes to the self isolation requirement this week require workers returning from outbreak areas to do a full isolation instead of the modified self isolation. I can find no mention of any such restrictions being waived on April 6, 2021, other than in this article.

    1. Thanks Nathan. The modified restrictions for rotational workers were announced the same day, and were covered off in the release by the phrase, “other restrictions eased”.

      Here is the language on the govt. modifications, as well as the link: Recognizing that they often spend a significant amount of their time at home in isolation, once rotational workers receive their first negative test result in Nova Scotia, they are allowed have a modified form of self-isolation that gives them some more freedom. https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/rotational-workers-self-isolation-and-testing-factsheet.pdf

      1. The modified isolation mandate has been in place for months – the latest change for rotational workers (full isolation until first negative test result and THEN modified isolation) was in fact a *tightening* of restrictions.

  2. John

    Yes, workers must complete a modified self isolation after they receive their first test and be tested 2 more times during the 14 days. This modified self isolation has been in place since September 2020. However, In your article you state “that these workers were no longer required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Nova Scotia, once they had received a negative test result.” This has never been true. While some of the rules surrounding the modified isolation have changed a few times since September, but they have never waived the isolation rules after receiving a first negative test, as you suggest in your article.

    1. You’re right, Nathan. That paragraph could have more clear. I’ve sent Robert an edit on that paragraph.

    2. Here are the tighter restrictions that were announced on Jan. 15, with Strang saying, “since Dec. 21, 21 of Nova Scotia’s newly confirmed cases, or 9.4 per cent, have been traced to rotational workers”.

      I think the broader point is that our provincial economy’s reliance on workers going down the road, and our government’s back and forth on the restrictions has been problematic since the get go. Airports and flights are another glaring example of this.


      1. John, I don’t necessarily disagree with the point you’re trying to make about Nova Scotia’s reliance on out of province workers. However, the point about April 6, 2021 being an important date in the 3rd wave timeline is weak since tying it to some phantom changes to the isolation requirements for RWs on that day is not very good journalism. Maybe it’s time to retract or rewrite your article and provide better support for your argument.

  3. Just to clarify, rotational workers always had to isolate for 14 days, I don’t know where you get your information, but rotational workers had a modified form of self isolation since September 2020. These include being able to go for walks or go through a drive thru etc. A rotational worker could not go to the grocery store to get food for a barbecue. A rotational worker could not have people over to attend that barbecue. A rotational worker had to complete a daily self check in for 14 days when they returned home to NS. Rotational workers also had to take 3 tests within them 14 days of isolating. April 6 is when they introduced that the rotational must isolate alone until the first negative test comes back then they may continue with modified isolation rules. The link you posted clearly states what I have just said.

  4. Mr.McCracken

    I came across your article “Going down the road’ comes home to bite Nova Scotia” and feel the need to clarify some points you refer to.

    “April 6 appears to be day things started to go South for Nova Scotia, the tipping point, as it were. That was the day that our newly-minted premier, Iain Rankin, announced an easing of several restrictions, including ‘modified self-isolation’ for so-called rotational workers.”
    The April 6 press release there was no easing of restrictions for Rotational Workers they were not even mentioned. In fact Joe public had restrictions lifted. “Malls, retail businesses and fitness facilities can return to operating at 100 per cent of their capacity, with physical distancing. “

    Your following statement is also false. “The modification entailed that these workers were no longer required to self-isolate in the same way, once they had received a single, negative test result. The government gave them more scope in what they could and could not do. This was done in combination with other restrictions that were loosened on April 6.”
    Here is a timeline of Rotational Workers restrictions which all can be found on government news releases. I suggest you retract your previous article and publish the correct info and an apology to all Rotational Workers for the false accusations. Its hard enough being a rotational worker and we certainly don’t need your help stocking the citizens with this rubbish and forming an unruly mob to burn down our homes. Please have a read over the attached link for further clarification.: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/COVID-19-Directive-on-Exceptions-for-Rotational-Workers.pdf
    Sept. 11 2021- Easing of Self-Isolation Requirements for Out-of-Province Rotational Workers
    Effective immediately, rotational workers are allowed the following activities alone or with their household members:
    • interacting with people who live in their household. Maintaining physical distance from household members is not necessary unless the rotational worker becomes unwell. Household members do not need to self-isolate unless they become unwell
    • spending time outside on their own property
    • going for a drive
    • going for a walk, run, hike, bike or ATV ride for exercise and recreation off their property (if they encounter people from outside their household, they must wear a mask and maintain a distance of two metres)
    • visiting a park, beach or other outdoor public space (if they encounter people from outside their household, they must wear a mask and maintain a distance of two metres)
    • spending time at their cabin or vacation home (or a rental location) within the province, following the same rules as if at home
    • dropping off and picking up household members at school, work or recreational activities without getting out of the vehicle
    • no-contact pick-up of groceries or other items purchased online without getting out of the vehicle
    • attending a drive-in theatre without getting out of the vehicle
    • going through a drive-thru, for example at a restaurant or bank
    Effective Monday, Sept. 14, the following activities are allowed:
    • attending necessary (urgent and routine) medical appointments. This includes appointments with physicians and nurse practitioners, dentists, optometrists and other regulated health professionals where in-person treatment is required
    The following activities continue to be restricted:
    • entering public places (e.g. schools, grocery stores, shopping malls, banks, religious institutions, restaurants/bars)
    • attending indoor and outdoor gatherings
    • visiting people from outside their household
    • allowing people from outside their household to visit them on their property or in their home
    • volunteering or working in any capacity that requires them to be in contact with people outside their household
    Dec. 04-2020- Restrictions Extended, More Asymptomatic Testing Rolls Out Across the Province

    Testing for rotational workers who don’t have symptoms started today, Dec. 4. They can book an appointment through the COVID-19 self-assessment (https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en) for day 6, 7 or 8 of their modified self-isolation. They must complete the full 14 days of modified self-isolation, even if they have a negative test result. There is no end date for this testing.
    While the testing is voluntary, it is strongly recommended as an added layer of protection for rotational workers, their families, and their communities. Testing at this time is late enough to increase the chances of detecting the virus if the worker was exposed while away, and still early enough to isolate household contacts before they spread the virus to others.

    Dec 18-2020-Asymptomatic Testing Continues

    Rotational workers are now asked to get two tests during their modified self-isolation. Since Dec. 4, they have been asked to get a test on day 6, 7 or 8. There is now a recommendation to be tested on day 1 or 2. Workers must still complete the full 14 days of modified self-isolation, even if they have negative test results.
    Starting Jan. 4, post-secondary students from outside Atlantic Canada who return after the holidays and don’t have symptoms should get one COVID-19 test on day 6, 7 or 8 of their self-isolation. They must complete the full 14 days of self-isolation, even if they have a negative test result.
    “While asymptomatic testing is voluntary, it is strongly recommended as an added layer of protection for rotational workers and students, their families and households, and their communities,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “By getting tested, you’re helping us detect the virus early enough to isolate household contacts before they can unknowingly spread the virus to others.”

    Jan 08-2021 New Brunswick Border Tightened and Public Health Restrictions Extended

    Rotational workers who work outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador have a modified form of self-isolation when they return home. They should get tested on day 1 or 2 of their isolation and again on day 6, 7 or 8.

    Jan.12-2021Testing Mandatory for Rotational Workers

    Starting Friday, Jan. 15, testing will be mandatory for rotational workers who work outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
    “We are concerned about the high number of cases in other provinces where many Nova Scotians are rotational workers,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Mandatory testing will provide workers, their families and their communities an additional layer of protection.”
    This approach reflects the risk of importing the virus through frequent travel. Workers must complete their full 14 days of modified self-isolation, even if they have a negative test result. They must get tested on day one or two and again on day six, seven or eight.
    Audits will be done to check testing data for randomly chosen rotational workers. If they did not do their first test, they will get a phone call reminding them that it is mandatory. If they do not get their second test, they will be issued a $1,000 fine.

    April 20-2021 Further Restrictions on Travel to Nova Scotia

    Rotational workers must now fully isolate when they first arrive in Nova Scotia. Once they receive their first negative test result, they can switch to modified self-isolation. Specialized workers will only be allowed for critical infrastructure work.

    May 07-2021 Border and Other Restrictions to Reduce Spread of COVID-19

    Effective immediately, rotational workers who are returning home from outbreak zones can no longer do the modified form of self-isolation. They must self-isolate for 14 days in a completely separate space from the other people in their households, but they can share a bathroom that is cleaned between uses. Except for their mandatory COVID-19 testing, they cannot attend medical appointments unless there is an emergency.

    1. Stuart, Robert Devet has pulled this article saying, “it inadvertently included an incorrect timeline, particularly in terms of what changed on April 6 pertaining to transitional workers.”

      In hindsight, I should not have focused on what did or did not happen on April 6, and instead on our province’s approach to travel restrictions since the very start of the pandemic, which have been problematic, to say the least.

      At no point in the article did I target workers. My focus was on government policy, and how rotational workers have also been put through the ringer by these inconsistent changes to travel policy.


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