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Living with COVID-19 - How to Protect Myself and Others

COVID-19 is still present in our communities, that’s why it’s important to continue to take steps to minimize the spread. 

Get Vaccinated 

Reduce the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 by staying up-to-date with your vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe and effective. Nova Scotians 6 months and over are eligible to be vaccinated. 

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination in Nova Scotia, including available vaccines, eligibility and dose schedules here.

Those who have been vaccinated can find their proof of vaccination online: 

Book a Vaccine Appointment

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Stay Home if You Feel Sick 

If you feel sick, stay home to prevent the spread of illness in your community. 

  • Avoid high-risk people and places until you are feeling better, see sections below for more information.
  • If you are not able to stay home, wear a mask when in indoor public places even if you only have mild symptoms.
  • Test if you have any one of the symptoms listed under Monitor for Symptoms and Get Tested on this page.

If you test positive for COVID-19, follow these instructions for your next steps.

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Be mindful of who is at higher risk of severe disease

It is important to be mindful of people who are at higher risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, as well as places where they live, gather or receive care. When you are sick, you should avoid visiting these people and places until you are feeling better. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should wait to visit 7 days from the start of symptoms, or the date of your positive test (if no symptoms).

The following people may be at increased risk of severe disease:

  • Older adults (increasing risk with each decade, especially over 60 years)
  • Any age and living with:
    • lung disease
    • heart disease
    • diabetes
    • kidney disease
    • liver disease
    • dementia
    • cancer
    • neurodevelopmental conditions (such as Down Syndrome)
    • sickle cell disease
    • neurological conditions (e.g., epilepsy, stroke)
    • immunocompromised status, including those taking medications which lower the immune system, such as chemotherapy
    • obesity (BMI equal to or greater than 30)
  • Pregnant persons

Be mindful of higher risk places

The following places are considered at higher risk for significant spread of COVID-19, and some people who live in these places may be at higher risk of severe disease:

  • Long-term care facilities 
  • Disability support programs, including residential care facilities 
  • Acute care settings 
  • Senior congregate living facilities (e.g., retirement homes) 
  • Correctional facilities 
  • Shelters and transition homes 

Individuals at higher risk of severe disease may also gather in other places, such as faith buildings or recreational/community centres.

Monitor for Symptoms and Get Tested

Nova Scotians should test if they have any one of the following common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Cough (new or worsening/exacerbation of chronic cough)
  • Fever (chills, sweats)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Loss or change in sense of smell or taste
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion/excessive sneezing
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue/tiredness
  • Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting

Access to COVID-19 testing remains available in Nova Scotia. If you are experiencing symptoms, book an appointment online for a PCR test or to pick up rapid tests, or call 811.

If you don’t have symptoms, you can pick up rapid tests in your community – find pick-up locations near you. It is recommended that you have rapid tests on hand in case symptoms develop.

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Travel Safely

If you plan to travel, you need to research the requirements for the place where you are going, as well requirements for re-entry into Canada after international travel.

When travelling, protect yourself and others by wearing a mask in indoor public places, social distancing when possible and practicing good hand hygiene. 

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Slow the Spread

As we learn to live with COVID-19, continuing to follow good health and hygiene practices is encouraged. 

When to wear a multi-layer well-fitting mask in indoor public places:

  • If you have cold- or flu-like symptoms (also known as respiratory symptoms) or have tested positive for COVID-19, you should wear a mask when unable to stay home. This includes in indoor public places, public transit, and crowded places.  
  • Even if you do not have symptoms, it is recommended that you wear a well-fitted mask in crowded indoor settings. A space is considered crowded when you cannot consistently maintain distancing such as public transit, crowded venues, and some faith gatherings.

To perform a personal risk assessment on when to wear a mask in the community, consider:

  • Are you at risk for severe disease?
  • Are you around people at risk for severe disease? 
  • Will you be uncomfortable if not wearing a mask? 
  • Are many people crowded closely together? 
  • Is there poor ventilation, like an enclosed space with no windows that open? 
  • Is it possible you might be exposed to others who have cold- or flu-like symptoms? 

Answering yes to one or more of these questions may lead you to choose to wear a mask. 

Take steps to gather safely:

  • Think about who your contacts are and consider keeping your gatherings small if anyone is at risk of severe disease.
  • Outdoor gatherings are safer than being indoors.
  • If possible, keep your space well ventilated. For example: open a window.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick, and avoid close contact with anyone showing cold- or flu-like symptoms. 

Maintain healthy habits:

  • Clean your hands often. If soap and water are not available, and your hands are not visibly dirty, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wash and disinfect high-touch surfaces (kitchens, bathrooms, door handles, etc.).
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, not into your hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

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Find more helpful Coronavirus Resources 

Learn more about Public Health’s COVID-19 guidance and resources here.

Accessing Primary Care

There are many ways to access primary care, even if you're not currently attached to a primary care provider.

Answer a few quick questions to receive personalized instructions for accessing Nova Scotia Health's primary care options near you including in-person, virtual and telephone options.

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Find Emergency Care

Use this tool to identify the emergency care options that are currently available nearest to you.

If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance

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