N.S. reports 72nd COVID-19 related death; 117 new infections Friday
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia announced its 72nd COVID-19 related death on Friday involving an individual in their 80s.
Premier Iain Rankin says the person was in the province's Central zone.
"My condolences and my heartfelt wishes are with the family impacted by that loss," said Rankin.
The province also announced 117 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
In a news release from the province, it says 97 of the cases are in the province's Central zone, nine are in the Eastern zone, seven are in the Western zone, and four are in the Northern zone.
Public health says one case in the Western zone involves a resident at Harbour View Haven – a nursing home in Lunenburg, N.S.
Staff and residents from the affected unit are being tested.
"At the direction of public health and as an added precaution, some residents are being isolated and cared for in their rooms. Most residents have been fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine," wrote the province in a release on Friday.
Health officials say 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.
The province says 151 of its previously reported cases are now considered resolved, with the total number of active cases dropping to 1,537.
UPDATE ON HOSPITALIZATIONS
Nova Scotia health officials say they are concerned with the growing number of hospitalizations in the province due to COVID-19.
According to the province's online dashboard, there are 89 individuals in hospital, 21 of which are in the intensive care unit -- although during a live news conference on Friday, Premier Iain Rankin said those numbers were actually 95 individuals in hosptial, with 17 in the ICU.
"People are arriving to the hospital sicker and later into their symptoms, nine to 10 days into their illness," said Rankin. "They range in age from early 20s to people in their 90s."
The premier says Nova Scotia now has more hospitalizations than the province had in the first and second wave of COVID-19 and the system is “under immense pressure.”
Rankin says he has spoken with Brendan Carr, the CEO of Nova Scotia Health, and a plan will be released on how the province will deal with the increase of hospitalizations.
"But you need to know that everyone is working tirelessly to keep our hospitals safe, to protect everyone. We need you to do your part to protect them and each other," said Rankin."
CLUSTERS OUTSIDE CENTRAL ZONE
Strang says the province is monitoring clusters of COVID-19 outside of the Central zone, in Sydney, Bridgewater, and the Annapolis Valley from Middleton to Kentville.
He says broad testing will be available for those areas soon to determine if there is virus in those communities that Public Health is not yet aware of.
N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 7,779 tests on Thursday.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 4,524 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 2,915 cases have recovered and 72 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.
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: 231 cases (74 active cases)
- Central Zone: 3.739 cases (1,276 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 221 cases (59 active case)
- Eastern Zone: 333 cases (128 active cases)
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to May 30, 2021.
Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Friday, 415,570 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 38,830 are Nova Scotians who have received their second dose.
As of Tuesday, Nova Scotia has received a total of 466,900 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, says as of Thursday, 45 per cent of eligible Nova Scotians have had one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
He says the province is ahead of schedule in regards to getting everyone vaccinated.
Also on Friday, the province announced Nova Scotians aged 35 to 39 are now eligible to begin booking appointments for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Strang says they are also looking into the time between first and second doses, and if it can be shortened at this time.
"Second-dose appointments are automatically booked 105 days after the first-dose appointment but we may be able to move that timeline up and also allow more flexibility in the location where you can get immunized," said Strang.
CHANGES TO ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING STRATEGY
In order to address the test result backlog, Nova Scotia is shifting their COVID-19 asymptomatic testing strategy.
In the interim, most Nova Scotians are encouraged to use pop-up testing sites instead of booking a COVID-19 lab test over the next few days.
Individuals under the following categories are still encouraged to book lab tests:
- anyone with symptoms
- anyone who has been notified that they are a close contact of a known case
- anyone who has been at an exposure location
- anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador
Public health says anyone who does not meet the above criteria and has already booked an appointment should cancel it following the instructions provided in their confirmation email.
The province says they are making an effort to increase rapid testing capacity around the province.
Pop-up testing locations being provided on Friday include:
- Alderney Gate Public Library, Dartmouth from noon to 7 p.m.
- Bridgewater Cineplex, 349 Lahave St from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Central Spryfield Elementary School, 364 Herring Cove Rd from noon to 7 p.m
- Centre 200, 481 George St, Sydney from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Halifax Central Library from noon to 7 p.m.
- Halifax Convention Centre, Halifax from noon to 7 p.m.
- John Martin School - 7 Brule St. 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.
There were a series of exposures released by Nova Scotia Health on Friday evening. For a list of the latest exposures, you can go the exposures page on the Nova Scotia Health website.
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
A previous version of this article said the postive case at Harbour View Haven involved a staff member. Nova Scotia has since corrected that information, saying it involved a resident at the nursing home.