N.S. reports 11 new COVID-19 cases; active cases rise to 126
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of active cases to 126.
Ten of the cases are in the Central Zone, one case is in the Western Zone.
With new COVID-19 restrictions having come into effect on Thursday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says it’s crucial that residents make a collective effort.
“By following the new restrictions in the greater Halifax area, we are working together to contain the spread of the virus,” said McNeil in a press release on Sunday. “And wherever you live in the province, we all have a role to play, by limiting non-essential travel and following all the protocols – limit social contacts, practise social distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands. This is how we will flatten the curve.”
“No matter where you live in Nova Scotia, it is important to follow all public health measures,” said Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang. “While the majority of the cases are in the Central Zone, COVID-19 can easily find its way into other parts of the province. We must all remain vigilant and continue working to limit spread within, and beyond, Halifax.”
NEW SCHOOL-BASED CASE
On Sunday evening, the province noted an additional case was identified. The case is connected to the Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning, N.S., located in the Western Zone.
Northeast Kings Education Centre has been closed since its first case of COVID-19 was announced on Tuesday. The province says a public health investigation in the coming days will determine whether the latest case was a close contact of the first confirmed case. The province notes that given the school has been closed, the new case is not believed to have been in school while infectious.
To allow for completion of contact tracing and testing, and out of an abundance of caution, Northeast Kings Education Centre will remain closed for the week and students will be supported while they learn at home.
As with any positive COVID-19 case, public health will be in touch with any close contacts of the case and advise them on next steps. Everyone who is a close contact will be notified, tested and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
On Saturday, Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,254 Nova Scotia tests.
Since October 1, Nova Scotia has had 44,909 negative test results and 201 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those cases, 75 cases are considered resolved and no one has died as a result of the novel coronavirus, leaving 126 active cases in the province.
There is no one in hospital due to COVID-19.
The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 70.
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. On Sunday, the province noted the website would not be updated on that day due to technical difficulties.
On Saturday, 540 tests were administered at a rapid-testing pop-up site in Dartmouth with one positive result. The individual was directed to self-isolate and has been referred for a standard test.
Despite seeing only one positive result during Saturday's rapid testing and lower new case numbers, Microbiology expert, Dr. Todd Hatchett, continues to urge caution.
"There is usually a two-week lag from a peak," says Hatchett, who was present at a rapid testing event at the Woodlawn Public Library in Dartmouth on Sunday. "We are not past that point where we can say those people who had contacts cannot spread those infections."
Hatchett says a lot of the success in fighting COVID-19 is happening on the front lines of community-based rapid testing sites.
At rapid testing sites, volunteers ask individuals a series of questions, including questions about the COVID-19 status of their close contacts and family. After being questioned, individuals take a rapid test.
"I think it's wonderful that they put this together," says resident Ruby Blois. "It's a lot of amazing volunteers. I'll give them full marks for a great effort."
Rapid testing site volunteer Patrick LeClair – who has no medical science background – signed up to help as a form of community service. He notes training for volunteers is thorough.
"Every time I come in, they run us through the training," says LeClair. "This is a great opportunity to be a part of this; this is a great opportunity and a historic moment here in Nova Scotia and across the world."
Dr. Lisa Barrett says the sites are staffed and managed by doctors and trained medical professionals; however, to be successful, they rely on volunteers.
"We asked for volunteers from the community, and we have got them, overwhelmingly," says Barrett.
Volunteer duties include asking screening questions, processing results, and administering the actual COVID-19 test.
"A week ago, if you told me I would be swabbing people for COVID-19, I would not have believed that," says LeClair. "It's great to be here to help people through the process."
Barrett notes volunteers range from younger people to older people from diverse career backgrounds – all appreciated for their efforts.
"People learn very quickly, and they are good at it," says Barrett. "There is no one who has trained to be a swabber or tester who has actually not performed really, really well."
Meanwhile, rapid testing sites are planned at various locations throughout the HRM in the coming weeks, as well as select parts of Nova Scotia outside of the city.
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
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 for non-essential reasons is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form before coming to the province. Travellers must self-isolate alone, away from others. If they cannot self-isolate alone, their entire household must also self-isolate for 14 days.
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.
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 face mask in indoor public spaces in Nova Scotia.