N.S. reports four new COVID-19 cases; active cases drop to 30
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Nova Scotia identified four new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, with the total number of active cases in the province dropping to 30.
The new cases have been found in the Eastern Zone and the Central Zone.
The case in the Eastern Zone is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The person is a student at Cape Breton University in Sydney who lives off-campus and is self-isolating, as required.
The three other cases are in the Central Zone. One of the cases is a close contact of a previously reported case. The other cases are both related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The people are self-isolating, as required. One of the cases is a student at Dalhousie University in Halifax who lives off-campus.
On Saturday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil commended the isolation efforts taken by the university community.
"We are seeing young people at universities taking the isolation requirement seriously and I want to thank them for protecting the health of others in their school community," said McNeil in a release issued on Saturday. "This is a good example of how following public health protocols helps us contain the virus."
Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, also praised the improving case counts but cautioned residents to remain vigilant.
"We continue to see low case counts of COVID-19 in our province and that is encouraging," said Dr. Strang in a press release on Saturday. "While this is good news, we must remember COVID-19 is still in our communities and we must all do our part to prevent its spread."
N.S. COVID-19 DATA
Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 2,293 Nova Scotia tests on Friday.
Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 139,827 tests. There have been 465 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. No one is currently in hospital. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 70. Four hundred and thirty-five cases are now resolved.
Since the pandemic began, Nova Scotia has completed 263,005 tests. Cumulatively, there have been 1,554 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 65 total deaths.
There is currently no one in hospital due to COVID-19.
The provinces confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Fifty-five per cent of cases are female, and 45 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: 89 cases
- Central Zone: 1269 cases
- Northern Zone: 121 cases
- Eastern Zone: 75 cases
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Jan. 24, 2021.
With one of Saturday's new cases involving a Cape Breton University student – who lives off-campus – the university posted a statement issued by the school's president to its website.
"The student continues to isolate with the proper health, mental health, and academic resources in place as an efficient support system," said Cape Breton University President David Dingwall in a statement issued on Saturday.
In addition to the case reported on Saturday involving a Dalhousie University student, several recent COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia have been linked to universities.
St. Francis Xavier University recently posted on its Facebook page concerning three recent cases at the institution.
"I'm very pleased to report that the first case of COVID-19 within our community has been resolved and that the other two students who tested positive are doing well," said St. Francis Xavier University president Andy Hawkin in a post published on Friday.
MOBILE UNIT REMAINS IN TRURO
On Thursday, Public Health announced its Mobile Health Units would return to Truro to assist with a high demand for COVID-19 testing, following recent potential exposures in the area.
The Mobile Health Unit will remain in Truro until Tuesday.
VACCINATION PROGRAM ROLLOUT
Nova Scotia is currently in the first phase of a three-phase vaccine rollout program,
The first phase focuses on front-line healthcare workers, as well as staff and residents in long-term care facilities. It also includes paramedics, who weren't originally included in the initial phase.
"After much lobbying by the employer and the union, paramedics are included in phase-one now, and calls started going out yesterday afternoon for paramedics to book them into appointments starting this Monday morning," says business manager for IUO Local 727 Michael Nickerson.
Nickerson says labour unions across the country have had to lobby to get paramedics immunized in the first phase of the vaccine rollout.
"Paramedics are the very front line, and the majority of the time, they are the first contact for people entering the health care system," says Nickerson.
With shots being administered to Nova Scotians, advocates say they want to see the province dispel misinformation surrounding the vaccine.
"What we haven't seen so far from government is a concerted campaign to counter the sort of disinformation on vaccine hesitancy that's floating around the internet, that's floating around communities," says NS Health Coalition coordinator Chris Parson. "That's a really important piece of the puzzle that needs to start immediately."
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Dr. Strang provided an update saying health officials are in the process of developing a communications strategy.
"As we roll our broader vaccine program – we anticipate doing that in late April or May – we will certainly have a robust communications strategy out ahead of that to make sure that Nova Scotians all have accurate, fact-based, information on this vaccine," said Dr. Strang during a press conference on Tuesday.
POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS URGED TO BOOK COVID-19 TESTS
Nova Scotia health officials continue to encourage all post-secondary students returning to Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada to book a COVID-19 test for Day 6, 7 or 8 of their 14-day self-isolation period.
Their COVID-19 tests can be pre-booked online three days in advance.
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