N.S. reports 75 new cases of COVID-19 as active cases increase to 489; lowers age limit for AstraZeneca to 40
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting 75 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, as the active number of cases in the province increases to 489.
"I am pleased to see our case numbers have gone down," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health.
He added a word of caution, however.
"They might go up tomorrow, though, so what we are looking for is a sustained downward trend," Strang said. "The variants are quick and strong. We cannot see our numbers increase."
According to a tweet from Nova Scotia Health & Wellness, 67 of the new cases are in the province's Central zone.
Six of Wednesday's new cases are in the Eastern zone. There was also one new case reported in the Western zone, and one new case in the Northern zone.
One of the cases in Central zone is a staff member at Northwood's Halifax Campus, a nursing home in Halifax that was the epicentre of Nova Scotia's COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
The outbreak at the 485-bed facility resulted in the deaths of 53 residents, and 246 residents and 114 staff tested positive for COVID-19 during the months of April and May 2020.
Another case in Central zone is a staff member at Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville.
Public health says all residents at both Northwood and Quest Regional are being isolated and cared for in their rooms as a precaution, and all residents, staff and designated care providers are being tested. Most residents of both facilities have been fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
One of the six cases identified in the Eastern Zone, was identified Tuesday, April 27 at Strait Area Education Recreation Centre in Port Hawkesbury. All schools in the province are closed for at least two weeks as of Wednesday.
N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA
There are now 489 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. According to the provincial dashboard, that marks the highest number of active cases in the province since the pandemic began.
Public health says the total number of tests and number of tests completed at the Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs on April 27 is not available due to technical difficulties. As of April 26, a total of 524,220 tests have been completed since the beginning of the pandemic.
There have now been 2,290 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,734 have recovered and 67 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.
There are currently 11 people in hospital due to COVID-19, with three in intensive care units.
As announced Saturday, the province is no longer including “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.
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: 1,849 cases (419 active cases)
- Northern zone: 150 cases (14 active cases)
- Eastern zone: 150 cases (41 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 April 28, 293,763 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. According to the province, 26.6 per cent of the eligible population have received vaccines as of Wednesday, with 3.7 per cent having received a second dose.
As of last update on Tuesday, the province has received a total of 345,940 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15, 2020.
VACCINATION ROLLOUT EXPANDED FOR PEOPLE AGED 55 TO 59
Nova Scotia Public Health announced Monday that effective immediately, people 55 and older can book appointments for the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at clinics across the province.
"This is a large group and we're hoping with all three vaccines being offered that we'll be able to get more and more shots into arms and ... as we continue our vaccine rollout and limit our movement and gatherings, the less likely COVID-19 will stick around," Rankin said.
Public health said all community clinics and many participating pharmacies have available appointments for this age group.
ASTRAZENECA TO BE OFFERED FOR PEOPLE 40-55
Starting Friday, people in Nova Scotia aged 40 to 55 will be able to book appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
"These appointments will be open across the province, and anyone who wants to book one between those ages of 40 to 54, will be able to do so online," said Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin. "I know many of you have been asking for this and are anxious to get your shot."
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said cancelled appointments for AstraZeneca shots as other vaccines become available have opened availability of AstraZeneca, with as many as 10,000 doses still unused.
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments are also still open for people who are 55 to 64 years old.
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 Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the following sites:
- East Dartmouth Community Centre, 50 Caledonia Rd.
- Halifax Convention Centre, 1650 Argyle St.
- Alderney Gate Public Library, 60 Alderney Dr.
Rapid testing in Sydney moves to a new location for Wednesday:
- Centre 200, 481 George St, from 11 a.m. 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
With files from The Canadian Press.