N.S. reports 6 new COVID-19 cases; active cases at 95
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of active cases to 95.
Four of the cases are in the Central Zone, and two cases are in the Eastern Zone. All cases are under investigation.
With the new cases, Nova Scotians are being urged to continue to practice precautionary measures.
"As we get into the holiday season, weekends are usually filled with friends, family and shopping, but this year must be different," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "We need to limit our social contacts and non-essential travel, and follow all the other public health protocols. That is how we protect each other and slow the spread of COVID-19."
"It is encouraging to see new case numbers go below the double-digits we have been seeing but it is too soon to relax now," said Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang. "We must remain diligent and continue to follow public health orders and advice so we can keep our citizens safe."
On Friday, Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 1,410 Nova Scotia tests.
Since October 1, Nova Scotia has completed 74,664 tests. Of those tests, there have been 275 positive COVID-19 cases, of which 180 have recovered; There have been no deaths.
No one is currently in hospital.
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 Friday, 276 tests were administered at a rapid-testing pop-up site in Halifax – no positive test results were identified at the site.
On Saturday, rapid testing continued with a pop-up testing site at the Halifax Central Library.
The testing site presented an opportunity for residents to ensure they were COVID-19-free before stepping out anywhere too public. On top of giving peace of mind to all who received a test, the process was hassle-free for most.
"I think we parked like five minutes ago, and we've already been in and out," said resident Ryley Urban, who got tested before gift shopping with her friend, Ian Tenhaff.
"It's one extra step on top of the mask," said Tenhaff of the precautionary measure. "Just part of the civic duty."
As new restrictions have clamped down, rapid testing sites, like the one at the library, have popped up across the HRM.
Of the more than 7,000 rapid tests done, tests revealed people who didn't have COVID-19 symptoms potentially had the virus – 22 times.
"Even one positive is a bonus; having more than that is amazing," says infectious disease specialist Dr. Lisa Barrett. "This is a little bit of a virus hunt."
COVID-19 restrictions for retail, restaurants and gyms in the Halifax area and Hants County have been extended until December 16.
Following a week where new cases were in the double digits in Nova Scotia, Sunday's much lower new case count is encouraging, but health officials say it's too early to relax.
Plans are in the works to expand asymptomatic testing sites targeting people aged 16 to 35 – who are socializing without physical distancing and often with different groups.
"I want to be clear that this is not about people getting in trouble," said Dr. Strang on Friday during a press conference. "No one is going to be fined as part of this initiative; you're not going to be asked why you're coming for testing."
Meanwhile, announcements concerning where new testing sites will be are expected on Monday.
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.