Coronavirus: Nova Scotia rotational worker calls for similar testing options as New Brunswick

Rotational workers are up against differing protocols when returning to their home province in the Atlantic bubble.

New Brunswick announced testing options for workers returning to the province Thursday.

“New Brunswickers who travel out of province for work will be directed to enter a modified form of self-isolation upon return, for up to 14 days, depending on their length of stay back in New Brunswick,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell.

“There will be the option of reducing this time by being voluntarily tested for COVID-19.”

This doesn’t apply to truckers, daily commuters, and those working under an already-established and approved WorkSafeNB operational plan.

But it means those rotational workers can still look after the necessities, said the province’s top doctor.

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Read more: Nova Scotia eases self-isolation restrictions for out-of-province workers during pandemic

“These workers will be able to access essential goods and services, including necessities of life and supporting services, health care, goods and services required for work, banking and financial services, transportation, child care, animal care, and funeral or visitation services for members of their immediate family,” she said in a statement.

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Sheldon Carter, of Timberlea, N.S. looks after maintenance on a ship on the Great Lakes. His rotation has him on the job for two months before returning home for one month.

The Nova Scotia native’s two-week isolation ended earlier this week, and he says testing in that province should be available, similar to other provinces within the Atlantic bubble.

“You test on entry, and then in the next four to seven days, do another test, and possibly shorten up this isolation period for the rotational workers,” he says.

Carter is pleased isolation restrictions were previously loosened, allowing him now to leave his property unlike earlier in the pandemic.

Read more: Nova Scotians who work away from home frustrated, confused by self-isolation rules

And he acknowledges it’d be very difficult for someone who is home for less than two weeks or someone who needs help getting groceries or other necessities.

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When asked about testing upon return for rotational workers without symptoms, a Nova Scotia public health spokesperson says the testing strategy has evolved — and will continue to do so.

But Marla MacInnis also says that “a test does not replace the need for self-isolation in Nova Scotia for those returning from outside the bubble.”

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