Nova Scotia has announced seven new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Five previously reported cases are now considered resolved, increasing the total number of active cases in the province to 40.
Four of Tuesday's new cases were identified in the province's Northern Zone and are close contacts of previously reported cases.
The other three new cases were identified in the Central Zone and are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.
The province says all new cases are self-isolating as required.
"COVID-19 is still here and wants us to let our guard down. But we are not going to let that happen after all the hard work and sacrifice by Nova Scotians," said N.S. Premier Stephen McNeil in a release. "We will contain the virus over the holiday season by keeping our gatherings small, wearing a mask and following all of the other public health protocols."
"I'm encouraged to see that our case numbers have remained low as we get closer to the holiday season," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "Let's keep up the good work by continuing to follow all the public health measures - adhere to the gathering limits, keep a consistent social group, stay home if you are feeling unwell, wash your hands and self-isolate if required."
N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 1,795 tests on Monday.
Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has done 101,394 tests. There have been 365 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and no deaths.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 1,454 cumulative confirmed cases, and 65 deaths. 1,349 cases are considered recovered, leaving 40 active cases in the province.
There is currently no one in hospital due to COVID-19.
The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Fifty-six per cent of cases are female, and 44 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: 82 cases
Central Zone: 1206 cases
Northern Zone: 94 cases
Eastern Zone: 65 cases
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Dec. 27.
NEW RESTRICTIONS IN EFFECT
New measures meant to prevent any possible surge of COVID-19 over the holiday period have come into effect across Nova Scotia.
Starting Monday and until Jan. 10, in-person dining at restaurants in the Halifax area will remain closed, while restaurants and licensed establishments in the rest of the province will have to stop service by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.
Indoor gatherings provincewide are capped at 10 people and retail stores across Nova Scotia are required to limit the number of shoppers to 25 per cent of legal capacity.
"I'm sorry for the gathering limits, I know it's difficult to manage, but Dr. Strang has said 10 is 10," McNeil said. "The fact that we can gather at all is a blessing. Look at what's happening in other parts of our country. (It) is because of your hard work and the commitment to following the protocols in this province that we've had any resemblance of a Christmas. So, rather than thinking about what we don't have or what we can't do, maybe this is a Christmas to focus on the moment and find creative ways to celebrate."
Long-term care residents are allowed two designated caregivers while seniors facilities can permit limited visits by family members.
The province is asking citizens to avoid any unnecessary travel throughout the province and is recommending that if people need to travel, that they go directly to their final destination and stay there.
POTENTIAL EXPOSURE AT STELLARTON RESTAURANT
Late Monday, the Nova Scotia Health Authority warned of potential COVID-19 exposure at a restaurant in Stellarton, N.S.
The exposure warning was issued for Andre's Pizza, located at 243 S Foord St. in Stellarton, from Dec. 10 to 14.
Those who were at the location during those days are asked immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a test. Symptoms may develop up to and including Dec. 28.
Click here for a full list of potential COVID-19 exposures in Nova Scotia.
AUTOMATED TEST CALLS
Nova Scotians now have the option to choose either an email or automated phone calls to notify them of negative COVID-19 test results.
“We recognize that it’s stressful to wait for test results and it can have an impact on the ability to go to work, school and daycare, so anything we can do to make that process more efficient for those being tested is a big win,” said Catherine Hebb, director, Public Health, Nova Scotia Health.
Upon receiving an automated call, Nova Scotians will be asked to enter the last four numbers of their health card or identification number to receive their result. Email results may be received 24 hours a day. Auto-calls may occur daily between noon and 5 p.m.
“It’s very important that people keep their phones with them and on if they are expecting a test result,” said Hebb. “The caller ID will indicate unknown name, unknown number; we ask people to answer those calls. They’ll also need to have their health card or identification ready.”
If a patient cannot be reached after receiving an email and two auto-calls, they will contacted by staff from Public Health or Service Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Health has partnered with Service Nova Scotia to help deliver negative test results.
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:
Shortness of breath
Runny nose/nasal congestion