Update: Omicron Variant

Nova Scotia has seen increasing numbers of COVID infections over the past 45 days, with the Omicron variant being the most dominant strain of this virus as it spreads more easily that the original COVID virus. Public Health officials continue to study this new COVID variant but there are several key characteristics that are understood by researchers that first responders need to know:

  • Anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms;
  • COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness;
    Wearing a face mask within 2 meters of others is important to prevent spread;
  • Minimizing the number of responders in direct contact with persons who may have COVID minimizes risk amongst first responders;
  • First responders should be using masks and practicing social distancing whenever possible – this includes emergency responses and during down time.

Considering the increased infectious nature of Omicron, and the importance of keeping first responders safe, the EHS MFR program recommends all MFR agencies and responders practice the following:

  • MFR’s follow the EHS MFR screening guidelines on all medical emergency responses, and always upgrade to a N95 disposable respirator when COVID is suspected or if responders are unsure;
  • Continue to limit the number of responders in close contact with patients, families, bystanders, and the public on emergency responses to a maximum of three (3);
  • The EHS MFR program provides a PPE kit for 3 responders per emergency – these kits will continue to be replaced through our normal replenishment process;
  • All first responders follow public health mask wearing and social distancing guidelines whenever possible – this includes all emergencies and during downtime in stations or vehicles.

We will continue to update the MFR community as new information is provided. Please continue to monitor the EHS Community Hub at (www.ehsmfr.ca), and Nova Scotia Public Health website for information (http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus). As always, please reach out if there are questions.

J. Albert Walker ACP, MA-LT
Operations Manager
EHS MFR, Emergency Preparedness, and Special Operations

Key Contacts