Nova Scotia's state of emergency has ended as the province has entered Phase 3 of its reopening plan.
In general, this means no province-wide gathering limits, physical distancing or mask requirements.
However, some restrictions remain in place in high-risk settings, including health care facilities.
Nova Scotia Health says all patients, support people and visitors will still need to answer COVID-19 screening questions.
Support people and visitors have to wear a mask inside, show proof of vaccination with some exceptions for compassionate reasons, and they are encouraged to do a rapid test before arriving. Anyone feeling unwell should to stay home.
"When possible and appropriate, patients coming to hospital for cancer care, emergency, or ambulatory care clinics, appointments or procedures will also be required to wear a mask," Nova Scotia Health said in a news release. "Inpatients are not required to wear a mask."
Proof of vaccination is not required for those seeking or receiving care or treatment, and patients who have not had COVID in the last 90 days will be tested upon admission.
Expect physicians and staff to be wearing masks and full-face shields or goggles during an assessment or treatment.
Nova Scotia Health says some services are still being impacted by staff shortages as health care workers who have had a positive case in their household need to self isolate for at least 72 hours and test as required.
Hospitals are gradually resuming surgeries that had been temporarily put on hold during the Omicron wave, but there are still limitations, especially for those requiring hospital stays.
If a procedure or appointment needs to be rescheduled, patients will be contacted directly.
There are still visitor restrictions in place, and they may vary between sites based on outbreaks and staffing levels, but in general:
Three designated support people at a time for:
- palliative care and other patients nearing end of life*
- patients receiving medical assistance in dying*
Two designated support people at a time for:
- children and youth under 19 admitted to hospital**
- patients in intensive care units and critically ill patients in emergency departments**
- labour and birth**
One designated support person at a time for:
- children and youth under 19 in outpatient settings
- hospital inpatients***
- patients in emergency departments
- prenatal visits, including ultrasounds
- ambulatory care clinics, appointments or procedures
*Palliative patients and others nearing end of life may identify a maximum of five designated support people. Three of these five designated support people may visit each day and can visit at the same time where space permits.
**Children, patients in ICU, and critically ill patients in emergency departments and patients in labour and giving birth may identify up to three support people; only two will be permitted to visit at a time.
***Please note, hospital inpatients are asked to identify three support people per week. These three designated support people may visit each day, but only one will be permitted to visit at a time.