N.S. confirms small presence of Delta variant as latest reopening measures begin
Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health Wednesday confirmed a small presence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the province, saying it still poses a threat.
Dr. Robert Strang says the national microbiology lab has verified 20 Delta variant cases and 36 Alpha variant cases among reported cases in the province to date.
"The Delta variant is in our province, it has been in our province and we know that two doses of vaccine are needed for good protection against this variant strain,” Strang said during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.
He noted the variants can spread quickly, especially among those who haven't received two doses of vaccine.
"So, if you're eligible but haven't yet rescheduled your appointment to get your second dose sooner, please do that," Strang said. "Two doses means you're fully protected against the Delta variant.”
NO NEW CASES REPORTED
There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, though the province reported dozens of previously reported cases have been confirmed as variants.
There have been three recoveries, dropping the active case count to 28.
The National Biology Lab has also determined 36 Alpha variant cases and 20 Delta variant cases were previously reported in the province.
All four health zones continue to be closely monitored for community spread.
Of the 28 active cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, two people are in hospital COVID-19 units, including one in ICU.
Wednesday marks the first day of Phase 4 in Nova Scotia's reopening plan.
NEW MASK POLICY
Public health has updated its masking policy, loosening some restrictions on when it is not required to wear them.
Beginning Wednesday, masks are no longer required for children age 12 and under in child care, day camps and overnight camps.
They are also no necessary in outdoor public places such as markets, playgrounds and parks.
There are no other changes to mask regulations.
Nova Scotia labs processed 3,691 tests on Tuesday, and have now processed a total of 984,722 since the start of the pandemic.
There have been 5,870 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 5,750 people have recovered, and 92 have died due to COVID-19.
There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the Central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.
- Western zone: 292 cases (one active case)
- Central zone: 4,655 cases (15 active cases)
- Northern zone: 301 cases (no active cases)
- Eastern zone: 622 cases (12 active cases)
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to July 25, 2021.
The province's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the number of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Wednesday, 1,154,785 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with approximately 74.1 per cent of the province's eligible population having received at least one dose. Of those, 44.7 per cent of Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
All Nova Scotians are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible. COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be made online or by phone at 1-833-797-7772.
MORE WALK-IN TESTING OPTIONS
Nova Scotia health is introducting several new walk-in testing centres and mobile units across the province.
Testing is open to anyone and can be convenient for out-of-province visitors arriving in Nova Scotia, public health said in a release.
A list of locations offering walk-in PCR COVID-19 testing in addition to testing by appointment can be found on the health authority's website. Rapid tests will not be offered at these locations.
Testing is available for all ages, for those who have symptoms, no symptoms (asymptomatic), have travelled or been to a potential exposure site and have been a close contact with a positive COVID case.
Public health is strongly encouraging Nova Scotians to seek asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, particularly if they have had several social interactions, even with their own social circle.
COVID-19 tests can be booked through the province's online self-assessment COVID-19 tool, or by calling 811.
People can also visit one of Nova Scotia’s rapid pop-up testing sites that continue to operate throughout the province.
Wednesday, July 13:
- Alderney Gate, 88 Alderney Dr., Dartmouth from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Centennial Arena, 27 Vimy Ave., Halifax from 3 to 8 p.m.
- Halifax Convention Centre, 1650 Argyle St, Halifax, from noon to 7 p.m.
- The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 165 - Mount Uniacke, 18 Veterans Ln, Mount Uniacke from noon to 7 p.m.
COVID ALERT APP
Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is available in Nova Scotia.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
LIST OF SYMPTOMS
Anyone who experiences a fever or new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following new or worsening symptoms, is encouraged to take an online test or call 811 to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose/nasal congestion