Change to visitor restrictions in Nova Scotia Health facilities

Nova Scotia Health has increased visitor restrictions across the province to further reduce the risk of the virus being introduced into its facilities.

The rise in COVID-19 cases, known community spread in the Central Zone (Halifax Regional Municipality, Eastern Shore and West Hants areas) and growing potential for community spread in other areas of the province, significantly increase the risk of COVID-19 amongst patients and visitors. 

Effective immediately, the following new visitor restrictions are in place across the province:

  • TWO designated support people per day (one at a time) for:
    • Palliative care and other patients nearing end of life*
    • Patients receiving medical assistance in dying*
    • Children under 18 admitted to hospital**

*to minimize the number of different individuals visiting Nova Scotia Health facilities, patients may identify a maximum of five designated support people; two support people per day from among these identified people will be permitted per day, one at a time.

** to minimize the number of different individuals visiting Nova Scotia facilities, families may identify up to two support people per week.

  • ONE designated support person for:
    • Labour and birth
    • Children under 18 years in outpatient settings
  • ONE designated support person per week will be permitted in the following circumstances, only for patients who need support to receive care due to physical, intellectual, cognitive or emotional conditions. The decision to allow a support person in these circumstances requires agreement between the patient and the care team.
    • Hospital inpatients
    • Outpatients, including patients arriving at the hospital for cancer care, emergency and ambulatory clinics, appointments or procedures

Whenever possible, our teams will use technology to enable virtual involvement of support persons.

While Nova Scotia Health recognizes the importance of support people for patients receiving care in its facilities, these restrictions are felt to be necessary to protect patients, families and our heath care team.

Having COVID-19 positive visitors unknowingly enter Nova Scotia Health facilities may lead to exposures that require health care staff to be absent from the workplace, potentially leading to critical service disruptions. These exposures would also require the use of added safety measures for some inpatients.

We regret any additional concerns or stress this situation may cause patients and their families and will revisit the decision in two weeks.