General COVID-19 FAQs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in December 2019.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose and headache. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Effective May 22, Nova Scotia has broadened its symptom criteria for when people should be tested for COVID-19. The public is being asked to call 811 for assessment if they have any of the following symptoms:
Fever (i.e. chills, sweats)
Cough or worsening of a previous cough
Sore throat
Nasal congestion/runny nose
Shortness of breath
Muscle aches
Hoarse voice
Unusual fatigue
Loss of sense of smell or taste
Red, purple or blueish lesions, on the feet, toes or fingers without clear cause

If you have two or more of these symptoms, please visit to determine if you should call 811 for further assessment.

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can be spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth upon coughing or exhaling. These droplets can land on objects and surfaces which can then be touched by others. It is important to stay more than one meter away from someone who is sick and refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth whenever possible.

Nova Scotia is testing for COVID-19. See testing data here.

For the most recent information on COVID-19, including numbers of cases in Canada, please refer to the Government of Canada’s Public Health Agency website.

To minimize the spread of any respiratory virus (including things like the flu/influenza and COVID-19), the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in a garbage bin lined with a plastic bag.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands immediately after coughing and/or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are shared and used often.

Since mid-January, CBU has been working closely with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness to ensure our response aligns with the recommendations being made by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.  

In early March, President Dingwall established a Pandemic Planning Task Force to focus on contingency planning should the COVID-19 situation worsen. The Task Force includes members from various areas within the university such as academics, residence, enrolment services, operations, facilities management, communications, human resources, student affairs and more.  The Task Force currently meets weekly, with sub-committees meeting daily, to make informed decisions as the situation evolves. 

As well, CBU is participating in the CONSUP (Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents) COVID-19 Working Group. Dr. Tanya Brann-Barrett, Associate Vice-President, Academic & Research, is representing CBU. 


If you are currently traveling or will be traveling for personal reasons, upon returning to Canada, all travelers will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether or not symptoms are present.

New viruses like COVID-19 may cause fear and anxiety for some members of the campus community. In addition to the resources available through the Max Bell Health Centre, support is also available: 

For students – HealthyMindsNS 

For International students Keep Me Safe Program 

For employees – EFAP

If you have flu-like symptoms, please complete the COVID-19 self-assessment online. If you, or family members, need a COVID-19 test, a Nova Scotia Health or IWK representative will call you within 24-48 hours. They will tell you where you need to go for the test and your appointment time.

If you have flu-like symptoms, do not go to the Max Bell Health Centre or the local Emergency Room. Please complete the COVID-19 self-assessment online. If you, or family members, need a COVID-19 test, a Nova Scotia Health or IWK representative will call you within 24-48 hours. They will tell you where you need to go for the test and your appointment time.

Social Distancing and Self Isolation FAQs

Social distancing and self-isolation are non-pharmaceutical infection control approaches used to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease.

Social Distancing means putting distance between yourself and other people.

Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people.

No, this is not in line with the current recommendations for Nova Scotians. Current guidelines allow households to choose one other household to be part of their “bubble.” This must be a mutual decision and these are the only people you may socialize with without the 6ft distancing requirements. 

There are personal situations where you must go out for work, for supplies or to help someone else in need. In those cases, take precautions to keep your distance from others, and wash your hands frequently.

If you develop a fever or cough, don’t go out unless it is necessary to seek medical care and wear a surgical mask when seeking medical care. If you are sick, wearing a surgical mask will protect others around you.


At this time, people shouldn’t be initiating in-person-contact with anyone. Feel free to build connections with others virtually.

Try to shop at times when there are very few other shoppers. That could mean going first thing in the morning when the store opens, or late at night. Consider using local no-contact grocery delivery. Only go to the grocery store if necessary and only buy what you need, do not hoard.

While you’re out, consider getting some groceries for someone who is elderly, ill or on self-isolation.

The general public should avoid public transit. Individuals who are required at work and have any flexibility in their schedules should try to ride at non-peak hours.

On busses, people should try to sit as far away from other people as possible. In the CBRM, people are now prohibited from standing on busses. And of course, everyone should be using good hand hygiene and “Respiratory Etiquette.”


Respiratory Etiquette is

  • Covering your mouth and nose in the crook of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Using tissues and disposing of them in an appropriate container when you have a chance
  • Washing your hands or using a hand sanitizer every time you touch your mouth or nose.

Yes. We know that’s really tough, and encourage you to set things up so you can visit them virtually. That way, they can see you and say hello, without putting them at extra risk. All Long-Term Care Facilities in Nova Scotia are closed to visitors.

Try to schedule your use of those common spaces so you’re going at times when other people aren’t around. If you know there are not a lot of people in the laundry room or mailroom at 6 a.m., go at 6 a.m. People will be inconvenienced, but it’s important to try to spread ourselves out. As well, surfaces in these spaces may be contaminated, so be careful what you touch and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching any surface.

If you have been in close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a person you suspect may have COVID-19, self-isolate for 14 days and monitor your health. If you develop a fever greater than 38 C or a cough with 14 days of your exposure, call 811 to arrange testing.

For people who live in areas that are not densely populated, walking around in their yard is probably safe. The idea is that they should not come into contact with any other people. They need to be strict about it. We are not going to defeat this disease and halt transmission if people loosely interpret what it means to self-isolate.