N.S. reports 9 new cases of COVID-19; case confirmed in Bedford elementary school
HALIFAX -- After conducting a record number of tests, Nova Scotia health reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bumping the number of active cases in the province to 119.
All nine of the new cases identified Friday are located in the Central Zone, which includes the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Four previously reported cases are now considered recovered.
On Thursday, Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 3,109 tests -- a new single-day high for the province.
There were also 1,142 additional tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in downtown Halifax Thursday, which yielded four positive results.
The individuals were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test.
CASE AT BEDFORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
One new case identified Friday is connected to Bedford South School, a pre-primary to grade 4 school in the Central Zone.
Public health says the person was not in school today and is self-isolating. Public health will be in touch with close contacts as part of their ongoing investigation and advise of next steps.
"I want to assure everyone that the department of education and public health are working together to manage this situation and to ensure the safety of staff and students," said N.S. premier Stephen McNeil during a news update on Friday.
McNeil says anyone who was in a class with the confirmed case will be tested and is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Bedford South School will be closed for cleaning and contact tracing until at least Wednesday, Dec. 2 (inclusive) at which time more information will be communicated to families. Students will be supported to learn at home.
COVID-19 DETECTED IN WOLFVILLE WASTEWATER
During Friday's news update, Dr. Robert Strang revealed that COVID-19 has been detected in the Town of Wolfville's wastewater.
Strang said researchers from Acadia, Dalhousie and Luminultra Technologies had detected COVID-19 in the town’s waste water.
“This wastewater testing is part of ongoing national research and is experimental so it is not confirmation, but it could be a signal that COVID-19 has made its way into their wastewater too," said Strang.
Strang says public health has increased the testing capacity at the primary assessment centre in Wolfville and will be bringing pop-up testing to the town next week.
VOLUNTARY TESTING FOR LONG-TERM CARE
N.S. health announced Friday that ongoing voluntary testing will be introduced to monitor, reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care.
Volunteers, designated caregivers and employees who provide direct care to residents will be tested every two weeks.
The ongoing testing will start at three long-term care locations: Northwood, Ocean View and St. Vincent's and will expand to six more facilities over the next two weeks.
STATE OF EMERGENCY RENEWED
Nova Scotia is renewing the provincial state of emergency. The order will take effect at noon Sunday, Nov. 29 and extend to noon Sunday, Dec. 13, unless government terminates or extends it.
Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has recorded 40,386 negative tests and 176 positive COVID-19 cases. There have been no deaths during the second wave. Fifty-seven cases are considered resolved since Oct. 1, leaving 119 active cases in the province. Cases during this time period range in age from under 10 to over 70.
As of Friday, 148 new cases had been identified in the province this month, marking the highest total of new cases in a month since April, when 853 new cases were reported.
There is no longer anyone in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Fifty-eight per cent of cases are female and 42 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: 60 cases
- Central Zone: 1,072 cases
- Northern Zone: 79 cases
- Eastern Zone: 55 cases
STRANG EXPLAINS NEW TESTING STRATEGY
Thursday was the third consecutive day that Nova Scotia reported a record number of negative tests, part of a new testing strategy that Dr. Robert Strang explained on Friday.
“Our testing strategy is very different than it was in the first wave of the pandemic, and different even than it was a few weeks ago. We have broadened our focus from testing people who have symptoms of COVID-19 to testing a large number of people with no symptoms,” said Strang.
Strang says over 8000 people have come out for testing this week, many in the 18-35 year-old age group.
“This has to do with the ages and behaviours of people who are testing positive right now, and that’s the 18-35 year olds,” said Strang. “This is not a judgement of anyone in this age group, the vast majority of people have been following the rules but even within these rules the virus can easily spread from person to person through social activities.”
Those numbers don’t include more than 2700 point-of-care rapid tests conducted at a number of pop-up sites across the Halifax Regional Municipality this week.
“These rapid care tests do not replace the need for a standard test, so if you are a bar staff or patron that had recently been in a late-night Halifax establishment, or if you are responding to an exposure notice, you still need to do the online self-assessment to book a standard PCR test,” explain Strang.
Strang says the rapid testing pop-ups are meant to provide access to testing for anyone over 16 who hasn’t been to at a potential exposure site or a Halifax area bar or restaurant after 10 p.m. in the past two weeks.
“We’re getting a sense of what we’ve been missing from a more standard approach, but they are less accurate, there is a higher risk of both false negatives and false positive results,” explained Strang.
Strang says about 0.4 per cent of the rapid tests have come back as positives, in individuals who had no idea they were positive and had no symptoms.
“That may seem like a very low number, but each of those cases, if they had continued to do the things they were doing they could have potentially exposed dozens of other people, who could have been infection, and in turn exposed dozens of others,” said Strang.
POTENTIAL EXPOSURE LIST
Nova Scotia health identified 6 potential public exposures in the Central zone on Thursday.
Click here for a full, updated list of potential exposures in the province.
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.