N.S. reports 70 new COVID-19 cases Thursday; active infections increase to 548
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting 70 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.
As announced Saturday, the province is no longer including an "exposure category" (travel, close contact, etc.), citing increased investigations.
The province says there is evidence of community spread in Nova Scotia’s Central zone.
Public Health says the province’s other zones, Eastern, Northern, and Western, are being monitored for signs of community spread.
“I have faith that we can turn this situation around but it will only happen if we all do what is needed,” said Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, during a live news conference on Thursday. “We are at a turning point. What happens next will go one of two ways and our collective actions will decide that path.”
Eleven of Nova Scotia's previously reported cases are now considered resolved, with the total number of active cases in the province increasing to 548.
BUSINESSES ASK FOR HELP
Premier Iain Rankin says the province is currently working on a package to support small business owners.
"I can't imagine how hard it is to manage your business during these cycles of opening and closing and I know you are frustrated," said Rankin. "Just know that I understand your livelihoods are at stake.
Rankin says more details will be provided at a later date.
"We're working really hard to find out how we can get supports out as quickly as possible," Rankin said.
With the province on lockdown, many businesses have had to close, the owner of Cutting Edge Studio and Boutique says she supports the shutdown -- but the bills keep coming in even if their doors are closed.
"I think it would be beneficial for everybody to have some financial help," said Cutting Edge owner Ashley Taylor. "I don't necessarily need the government to hand me a bunch of money, I mean I know I've got to pull my own weight, too, and I will do what I can to survive, but being mandated to close and having a grant to help will help tremendously to all small businesses."
Many business owners say they need urgent help.
"What we need to see here is cash in business owners hands tomorrow to match the losses from this lockdown," said Lara Cusson of Lara's Café.
TRAVEL WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY
Strang says the province has seen confusion surrounding where people are and are not allowed to travel when it comes to their “communities.”
He says travel outside of your community – which the province has determined to be the municipality you live in – for purposes of work or school, child custody arrangements or child care, medical appointments or to get essential goods or services is permitted.
“These restrictions are meant to limit non-essential travel. We also want to limit social interactions because we know that’s how the virus spreads,” said Strang.
Strang is strongly encouraging Nova Scotians to continue to:
- Stay in your household bubble
- Work from home if you can
- Do essential shopping only, and not in a group
- Pick one household member to run essential household errands, if possible
ADDITIONAL PRIMARY COVID-19 ASSESSMENTS SITES ADDED
Nova Scotia Health also says a new COVID-19 primary assessment centre is now open in Wolfville, N.S. at the Acadia Festival Theatre located at 504 Main Street.
The new testing site is by appointment only for individuals of all ages. Symptomatic and asymptomatic testing is available at this location which will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
A new primary assessment site was also added in Sydney at the Membertou Entertainment Centre.
A full list of primary COVID-19 assessment sites in Nova Scotia can be found on Nova Scotia Health's website.
N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA
Nova Scotia has completed 524,220 tests since the pandemic began.
Due to technical difficulties, health officials say the total number of tests completed on Wednesday are not available at this time.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 2,360 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,745 cases have recovered and 67 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.
There are currently 14 people in hospital due to COVID-19, four of which are in the intensive care unit.
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: 141 cases (15 active cases)
- Central Zone: 1,906 cases (470 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 152 cases (16 active case)
- Eastern Zone: 161 cases (47 active cases)
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to May 2, 2021.
Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Thursday, 304,187 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. According to the province, 27.6 per cent of the eligible population have received vaccines as of Thursday, with 3.7 per cent having received a second dose.
The province has received a total of 345,940 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15, 2020.
NOVA SCOTIANS ENCOURAGED TO SEEK ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING
Public health is strongly encouraging Nova Scotians to seek asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, particularly if they have had several social interactions, even with their own social circle.
COVID-19 tests can be booked through the provinces online self-assessment COVID-19 tool, or by calling 811.
People can also visit one of Nova Scotia’s many rapid pop-up testing sites that continue to operate throughout the province.
Pop up testing for people 16+ with no symptoms or exposures continues Thursday at the following sites:
- East Dartmouth Community Centre (50 Caledonia Road, Dartmouth) from noon to 7 p.m.
- Centre 200 (481 George Street, Sydney) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Halifax Convention Centre (Argyle Street entrance at 1650 Argyle Street, Halifax) from noon to 7 p.m.
- Alderney Gate Public Library (60 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth) from noon to 7 p.m.
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