N.S. reports 3 new COVID-19 cases, multiple COVID-19 exposures in Halifax
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Nova Scotia reported three new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, and three more cases are now considered resolved, leaving the total number of active cases at 24.
Public health says all of the new cases are in the Central Zone, which includes the Halifax area, and all are close contacts of previously-reported cases.
The new cases are not in schools. It was announced this week that two students -- one at Graham Creighton Junior High School in Cherry Brook, N.S., and another at Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour, N.S., -- have tested positive for COVID-19.
The schools remain open, but the classrooms the students attended are closed. The students are self-isolating, along with all students and staff members deemed to be close contacts.
Since the beginning of November, there have been 45 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Nova Scotia.
According to the province’s website, three previously-reported cases are now considered resolved.
POTENTIAL EXPOSURE AT HALIFAX RESTAURANT, STORE
Nova Scotia Public Health is warning of two potential COVID-19 exposures in Bayers Lake, N.S., a shopping district in Halifax.
Public health says anyone who visited East Side Mario’s at 186 Chain Lake Drive on Nov. 14 between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., and on Nov 16. between noon and 7 p.m. may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
Health officials are also warning of a possible exposure at Sport Chek at 215 Chain Lake Drive on Nov. 15 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Nova Scotia health says anyone who was at the two locations on the dates and times listed above should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days, following the day of exposure.
Should any COVID-19 symptoms develop, they are directed to self-isolate and take the online self-assessment or call 811 to get tested.
CALLS FOR MORE TESTING
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 1,184 Nova Scotia tests on Tuesday, but the leader of the official opposition would like to see more.
“Testing, testing, testing -- that's the way to try to control the spread and really give people peace of mind,” said Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston.
"I don't understand why we wouldn't be using our full capacity. That means we could test at points of entry, like airports. That means in situations like the school, where we have advised a bunch of people you could be a close contact and causing a lot of anxiety for a lot of families. We could be trying to mitigate that anxiety with testing."
The federal government has distributed rapid testing kits to all provinces. Nova Scotia has more than 60,000 kits available, but health officials haven’t started using them.
"The advantage of these tests is that the results can be available in 15 minutes. The disadvantage or problems are that the accuracy is less than the current standard test that we use. Across the country we are looking at how they should be best used,” said Dr. Todd Hatchette, chief of microbiology for the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
“They are approved for symptomatic people at this point and the performance or how accurate they are in asymptomatic people is not clear.”
At this point, Hatchette says rapid testing kits could best be used to enhance lab capacity in outbreak situations or in situations when lab capacity is exceeded by the demand.
"We have not reached that point yet. We have still lots of capacity within our laboratory and our turnaround times are good,” said Hatchette.
Although they aren’t all connected to COVID-19, 811 has seen a high volume of calls over the last two days.
On Sunday, there were 775 incoming calls to 811. There were 1,555 calls on Monday and 1,518 calls on Tuesday.
Since the state of emergency was declared in March, Nova Scotia RCMP have laid 303 charges under both the Health Protection and Emergency Management Acts across the province, while Halifax Regional Police say officers have handed out 255 tickets in relation to COVID-19 incidents.
With the number of cases of the novel coronavirus on the rise, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang says officials are working on an enhanced enforcement plan.
"Whether it's private parties, other ways people are gathering, people aren't following the rules. Ultimately, it's the local police that need to be involved,” Strang said at a news conference on Tuesday.
To date, Nova Scotia has had 124,272 negative test results and 1,154 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, 1,065 cases are now considered resolved and 65 people have died as a result of the novel coronavirus, leaving 24 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 90.
Sixty per cent of cases are female and 40 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: 964 cases
- Northern Zone: 77 cases
- Eastern Zone: 55 cases
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Nov. 29.
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.