N.S. reports 1 new COVID-19 case; possible exposures at Halifax bar, grocery store
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 on Thursday in the Central zone. The province says the case is under investigation.
Two previously reported cases have recovered bringing the number of active cases in the province to 18.
Four new cases were identified on Wednesday. Two in the Central zone, related to travel outside of the Atlantic Canada, and two in the Northern Zone, household contacts of a previously reported case.
Since Friday there's been at least one new case every day. That means the team of nurses tasked with investigating them is busy.
"It's not like we call someone and we figure every thing out within a 20-minute conversation," said health protection manager Kim McGill. "It may take several conversations."
COVID-19 cases are sometimes announced to be "travel related" or "close contact."
When they're "under investigation" McGill says all that means is her team is still gathering more information.
"The nurses are detectives at the end of the day," McGill says. "Sometimes that just takes time. It's not that we're withholding any information. It's just that we haven't likely determined where they likely came in contact with it yet."
McGill says it's not up to her team to decide whether or not the public learns if a business or a location has had a COVID case — but the information they gather is crucial to helping the medical officer of health make a decision.
"If it was deemed that we needed to put something out to the public around a risk then we would do that," McGill said
Dr. Lisa Barrett is an infectious disease specialist at Dalhousie University and she says the most important question to as is: "How many of these cases are linked to another case?"
That's what asks when she hears about a new case and notes, even now, in the Atlantic bubble, it's key to take the pandemic seriously.
"I think the most dangerous thing we could do right now is underestimate how diligent people should be," Barrett says. "But, the other part is, we don't want people panicking and we do want people getting tested and not shying away from it."
Those test results are what McGill's team traces and it's a process that takes time.
"It's not straightforward," McGill said. "Like, I say, it's not a linear process. It's a lot of teasing, it's trying to have folks remember things that they might not necessarily not. These nurses are very skilled."
The Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 1,058 Nova Scotia tests on Wednesday.
To date, Nova Scotia has 114,607 negative tests.
There are 1,119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, while 1,036 cases are considered resolved and 65 people have died, leaving 18 active cases in the province.
There is no one in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 per cent are male.
There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the Central Zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.
The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.
- Western Zone: 58 cases
- Central Zone: 930 cases
- Northern Zone: 76 cases
- Eastern Zone: 55 cases
CASES REMAIN UNDER INVESTIGATION
Four of the province’s active cases remain under investigation -- including a case announced Tuesday -- which means health officials aren’t certain how they became infected.
“Several cases are still under investigation, in particular two groups of individuals where travel is a factor, but there are also a number of potential contacts within those two groups,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang during an update on Tuesday. “Public Health is working now to confirm the source of the initial infection.”
While officials work to determine the source of the latest cases of COVID-19, Strang says some people are in isolation, but wouldn’t say how many.
While some cases are still under investigation, Strang says there is no indication there is general community spread in Nova Scotia -- something that is being felt in other provinces.
“Until a few weeks ago, Manitoba was on the same track as Nova Scotia. They were reporting low or no cases consistently for months, but things can change in the blink of an eye,” he said. “Yesterday, Manitoba reported 241 new cases and five more deaths and they are now seeing wide community spread.”
POTENTIAL COVID-19 EXPOSURE AT HALIFAX BAR, GROCERY STORE
Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of two potential exposures to COVID-19 – one at a Halifax bar and the other at a grocery store.
- The Bitter End Martini Bar & Restaurant (1572 Argyle St, Halifax) on Nov. 2 between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Anyone present at the location during this time is asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the above date may develop symptoms up to and including Nov. 16.
- Sobeys Clayton Park (287 Lacewood Dr, Halifax), on Nov. 3, between 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone present at the location during this time is asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the above date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Nov. 17.
OTHER POTENTIAL EXPOSURE ADVISORIES
The province is also advising of potential COVID-19 exposure at a restaurant and on a recent flight.
Health officials say anyone who visited the Chrismaria Family Restaurant on Commercial Street in New Minas, N.S., between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor for symptoms. They could develop symptoms up to and including Nov. 7.
Nova Scotia Health is also advising of a potential exposure on Air Canada flight AC0622, which flew from Toronto to Halifax on Oct. 30. The flight departed Toronto at 6:40 p.m. and arrived in Halifax at 9:41 p.m.
Passengers in rows 16 to 23, seats D, E and F, are asked to call 811 for advice while all other passengers on the flight are urged to monitor for symptoms.
Anyone who was exposed to COVID-19 on the flight could develop symptoms up to and including Nov. 13.
STATE OF EMERGENCY RENEWED UNTIL MID-NOVEMBER
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Nov. 15, unless the government terminates or extends it before then.
COVID ALERT APP
Earlier in October, Nova Scotia Health announced that Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is now available in the province.
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
SELF-ISOLATION AND MANDATORY MASKS
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form before coming to the province.
However, the province has eased some self-isolation requirements for out-of-province rotational workers.
Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are not required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia, but they must be prepared to provide proof of their place of residency at provincial borders.
On Oct. 22, New Brunswick announced further restrictions related to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton-Restigouche region of northern New Brunswick. Nova Scotians are being advised to avoid unnecessary travel to that area.
Visitors from outside the Atlantic region who have already self-isolated in another Atlantic province for 14 days may travel to Nova Scotia without having to self-isolate again.
It is mandatory to wear a non-medical mask in most indoor public places in Nova Scotia.