Dr. Robert Strang. (Communications N.S. photo)

HALIFAX: While reporters are limited to one question and one follow-up at the COVID19 press briefings, as has been the case for much of the past 14 months, there are sometimes—okay lots of times—journalists have more.

That’s where the COVID media line comes in.

At the April 22 press briefing The Laker News asked our two questions of Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Iain Rankin, but still had five or six more we wished to seek answers to. The answers to the two we asked will be in separate stories and posted Sunday afternoon.

So, we emailed them off on Thursday at supper time, and got a response on Friday evening (we know they were busy with requests from media and the releases for the recent spike).

The responses from Marla MacInnis, spokeswoman for the COVID media line/Department of Health and Wellness, even if not in full pertaining to the question asked, are below:

Question: Any further info on the connected COVI19 case at Holland Rd school in Fletchers Lake? Is it a staff or student if a student any siblings at other schools?

Marla MacInnis: “An up-to-date list of COVID cases connected to public schools can be found here: COVID-19 Cases Connected to Public Schools – Current (last 30 days) | Education and Early Childhood Development (ednet.ns.ca)

“We are not breaking down school cases by students/teachers to protect the privacy of those who test positive. As always, close contacts will be notified, tested and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.”

Question: What does the rise in cases mean for end of school year ceremonies and summer sports that are beginning registration like baseball and soccer, and the local car race venues whose season are set to start in just over a month?

Marla MacInnis: “Schools will not be hosting any proms or dances. If parents or community members want to do this, they have to ensure they follow all public health guidelines, including gathering limits.  They can choose to engage a recognized business or organization to host an event with 50% of an indoor venue’s capacity to a maximum of 100 or 150 maximum outdoors. There will be no exceptions for larger gatherings.” 

“If the event is hosted by a recognized business or organization at a place like a church, hotel, rental hall or other facility that hosts events as part of its operations, there are event guidelines and guidelines for venues and facilities that should be followed.”

“If the event is at a person’s private property (such as at home), the guidelines for events at  private properties must be followed.” 

“Without a recognized business or organization hosting the event, the limit is 10 if it’s held at a public location. If it is held at your home, the limit is the number of people who live there plus 10 guests. You should follow our guidance for holidays and celebrations.”

Question: With nicer weather, comes larger gatherings of motorcyclists and others out and about. The Laker News was sent a couple of questions from residents regarding motorcyclists gathering without masks and no social distancing in Fall River.

We asked “In this instance if a public health official were to attend, who could face the fine, the ones doing the infraction or the business? How can one enforce the public health measures in this setting n ensure they’re followed?”

Marla MacInnis: “If you have a concern about a particular instance of public health measures not being followed, you can call your local non-emergency police number.

Each person at an illegal event can be fined $1,000.”

{Laker note: This happened recently when 22 people were ticketed $1,000 each in Halifax.)

 Question: Does having the spike in cases have any impact in the continuous rollout of the vaccine (i.e., take staff away from it to deal with the spikes in cases)?

Marla MacInnis: “Our vaccine rollout has not been impacted from the rise in cases in Central Zone.”