N.S. reports 7 new COVID-19 cases in 3 zones; case confirmed in Dartmouth school
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia reported seven new cases of COVID-19 -- including a new school-based case -- in three zones on Tuesday
With 19 more cases considered resolved, the number of active cases has dropped from 90 to 78.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, says he is encouraged by the latest numbers.
"The number of new cases is starting to go down and is leveling out, the number of active cases is slowly dropping, and the number of close contacts per case has come down significantly over the last week," said Strang. "All of this is encouraging, but we need to make sure these trends continue."
Two of the new cases are located in the Western Zone and are close contacts of previously reported cases.
Strang said during a news conference on Tuesday afternoon that these two people are workers at a large poultry plant in the Annapolis Valley. Strang said a shutdown of the plant has been ordered, but will take a day to implement. A team of public health staff is heading to the community and will test all 450 employees of the plant.
One of the new cases is located in the Northern Zone and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. The person has been self-isolating, as required.
Four cases are located in the Central Zone. Two of those cases are close contacts of previously reported cases, while a third case is under investigation.
The fourth case is connected to Shannon Park Elementary School in Dartmouth, N.S. The person was not in school on Tuesday and is self-isolating.
The school will remain closed to students until Monday to allow for a deep-cleaning of the building, as well as testing and contact tracing. Students will learn from home in the meantime. An update is expected on the weekend.
Public Health will be in touch with any close contacts of the person who tested positive. Anyone who is identified as a close contact will be tested and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
There have now been 12 cases of COVID-19 linked to 10 schools in Nova Scotia in the last two weeks.
COVID-19 VACCINE COMING NEXT WEEK
Nova Scotia will receive its first allotment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week.
Health-care workers who are directly involved with the COVID-19 response in the Central Zone will be among the first to be immunized, as soon as the vaccine is approved by Health Canada.
This includes health-care workers working in COVID-19 care units, regional care units, and intensive care units that treat COVID-19 patients.
"We have all been waiting anxiously for a vaccine to arrive and I am very glad it will be here in province next week," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "We want everyone to be vaccinated as quickly as possible, but we have to accept that the rollout will be gradual based on vaccine supply and we all want to make sure our most vulnerable are protected."
The province says the focus will be in the Central Zone in December as the vaccine cannot be moved around the province, given its strict storage, handling and transportation requirements.
Doses of the Moderna vaccine are also expected to begin arriving this month.
The province is expected to receive a total of 150,000 doses in small, weekly allotments beginning the week of Dec. 15 and into the first three months of 2021. The vaccine is administered in two doses.
During the first three months of 2021, the focus will be on immunizing long-term care residents and staff, seniors and health-care workers directly involved in patient care.
"As our vaccine supply increases, we will turn our attention to immunize those at higher risk for severe disease due to underlying health conditions or socio-economic factors," said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia. "It is important that Nova Scotians understand that it will take months before there will be a vaccine for everyone."
LOOKING AT LIFTING RESTRICTIONS NEXT WEEK
Parts of Halifax and parts of Hants County are under restrictions until next Wednesday and, while Strang says there have been encouraging trends in the numbers, it is too soon to say if restrictions will be relaxed.
"My team and I are watching the key indicators closely," Strang said. "We do understand the restrictions have impacts, but they are necessary to help control the spread of COVID."
Strang commended retailers and other businesses for following the guidelines. He said the Department of Labour has had inspectors doing spots checks.
"They have been out in full force in the retail environment and the compliance has been exceptional," Strang said. "Everybody, even as challenging as it may be to their business, are part of a collective effort to bring COVID back under control."
Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 840 Nova Scotia tests on Monday.
Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has conducted 77,915 tests and confirmed 294 positive COVID-19 cases. Of those, 216 cases are considered resolved, leaving 78 active cases. No one has died during the second wave. Cases during the second wave range in age from under 10 to over 70.
There is no one in hospital due to COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic, Nova Scotia has completed 201,093 tests, and reported a total of 1,383 cases of COVID-19. Of those, 1,240 cases are now considered resolved and 65 people have died as a result of the novel coronavirus.
The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Fifty-seven per cent of cases are female and 43 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: 68 cases
- Central Zone: 1169 cases
- Northern Zone: 87 cases
- Eastern Zone: 59 cases
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Dec. 13.
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.