HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting one COVID-19 related death as well as eight new cases Friday, as the active number of cases in the province drops to 143.

According to a release from the province, the latest death involves a man in his 50s in the Central Zone. There have now been 89 COVID-19 related deaths in the province since the pandemic began.

Health officials also report that the National Microbiology Lab has confirmed two Delta variant cases. These cases were previously reported, and both were related to travel.

Friday's eight new cases are the lowest single day since April 18, when seven new cases were reported.

"It's good to see such a small number of cases. And it's thanks to all of you following the public health guidelines that we put together for phase one," said N.S. Premier Iain Rankin during Friday's news update. "We are still in phase one and will be for the weekend. But if all goes well, we will be entering phase two, next week. That means businesses will be able to open a little more, and we can add a few more friends to our boats that will start next week."

Six of Friday's cases are located in the province's Central zone. Three of the cases are close contacts of previously reported cases, two are related to travel and one is under investigation.

Two new cases are located in the province's Eastern zone, both involving close contacts of previously reported cases.

No new cases were reported in the province's Western or Northern zones on Friday.

Public Health says there is now “limited community spread” in the Central Zone. The Eastern, Northern and Western Zones continue to be closely monitored for community spread.

The province says 11 previously reported cases are now considered resolved, with the total number of active cases dropping to 143 -- the lowest number of active cases reported in the province since April 22.

Nova Scotia Public Health released a list of potential public exposures on Friday evening.

MORE SCHOOL CASES

The province announced Friday evening it has detected one COVID-19 case at the Breton Education Centre in the Eastern Zone, as well as an additional case at Citadel High School in Central Zone. 

The person at the Breton Education Centre has not been in on-site since Friday, June 4, and the school expects to reopen to students on Monday.

Because of a previously reported case, Citadel High School in Central Zone is already closed to students until Monday to allow for testing of close contacts.

Public health is recommending that all students and staff be tested for COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms. No self-isolation is required while they wait for test results unless they have been identified as a close contact by public heath, or have symptoms.

GRADUATIONS AND PROMS

Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, says while schools will hold graduation ceremonies this year, they will do so following reopening protocols.

"I know you're disappointed there can't be regular large proms or community gatherings to celebrate your accomplishments, I wish it was different myself," says Strang.

Any community graduation or prom celebrations must also follow protocols. Strang says the province is set to move into Phase Two next week, meaning there can be formal gatherings of 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.

"However, we are still emerging from the third wave with a very infectious variant strain, so larger graduation gatherings including drive-in gatherings, carry too much risk," says Strang.

Strang suggested inside of drive-in gatherings, graduates host "drive past" celebrations where grads can be sitting outside, properly distanced, while family and friends in their vehicles drive by to honour their accomplishments.

ATLANTIC BUBBLE MAY REOPEN

Premier Iain Rankin says signs are good that Nova Scotia will be able to implement the second phase of its five-step reopening plan next week.

During Friday’s news update, Rankin confirmed he has been discussing with the Premier’s of the other Atlantic provinces about the possibility of reopening the Atlantic Bubble.

“It will depend on how each province, approaches the reopening plan. We are all working together, and with our public health officers, it's my hope that we can find a way to revive the Atlantic bubble,” said Rankin. “If it is possible for us to open up first to Atlantic, and we still have strong border control around the Atlantic region, then we can look at the ability for all of our residents to be able to comfortably travel in and out of our provinces. I think that would be good for our economy and it's safe, but it will depend on all of our reopening plans,” said Rankin.

CASE DATA

On Thursday, Nova Scotia labs processed 4,918 tests, and have now processed a total of 865,800 since the start of the pandemic.

There have been 5,729 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 5,497 people have recovered, and 89 have died due to COVID-19.

According to the province's online dashboard, there are currently 10 individuals in hospital, six of whom are in an intensive care unit.

Since April 1, there have been 3,987 positive COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths. Of the new cases since April 1, 3,821 are now considered resolved.

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: 282 cases (four active cases)
  • Central Zone: 4,559 cases (90 active cases)
  • Northern Zone: 300 cases (eight active case)
  • Eastern Zone: 588 cases (41 active cases)

The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to June 27, 2021.

BREAKTHROUGH DATA

Public Health says they will now report 'breakthrough cases' weekly.

A breakthrough case involves a person becoming COVID-19 positive two weeks after receiving either one or two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Public Health, there have been 4,009 cases from March 15 to June 8, 2021. Of those:

  • 25 (0.6 per cent) were fully vaccinated
  • 206 (5.1 per cent) were partially vaccinated
  • 3,778 (94.2 per cent) were unvaccinated

There were 247 individuals hospitalized. Of those:

  • Two (0.8 per cent) were fully vaccinated
  • 26 (10.5 per cent) were partially vaccinated
  • 219 (88.7 per cent) were unvaccinated

Twenty-two individuals died. Of those:

  • One (4.5 per cent) was fully vaccinated
  • Two (9.1 per cent) were partially vaccinated
  • 19 (86.4 per cent) were unvaccinated

VACCINE UPDATE

Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the number of vaccines that have been administered to date.

As of Friday, 678,615 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with approximately 64.9 per cent of the province's overall population having received at least one dose.

Nova Scotia has received a total of 724,260 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be made online or by phone at 1-833-797-7772.

Appointments cannot be booked directly through a community clinic, pharmacy or physician. Walk-ins will be turned away.

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 province's online self-assessment COVID-19 tool, or by calling 811.

People can also visit one of Nova Scotia’s rapid pop-up testing sites that continue to operate throughout the province.

  • Alderney Gate Public Library (60 Alderney Dr., Dartmouth), from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Centennial Arena (27 Vimy Ave., Halifax) from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Centre 200 (481 George St, Sydney), from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Cineplex Cinemas Bridgewater (349 Lahave St., Bridgewater) from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Halifax Central Library (5440 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax, NS), from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Halifax Convention Centre (1650 Argyle St., Halifax), from 2 p.m. to 9 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
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion