N.S. reports one new COVID-19 case related to travel; concerns about vaccine supply
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with the total number of active cases in the province dropping to 11.
Five of the previously reported cases are now considered resolved.
"Since our last news conference, we have seen lower or no new cases each day. This is great but we must remain vigilant and comply with all the public health measures if we want this trend to continue," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief public officer of health.
The province says the new case is in the Central zone and is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The person is self-isolating, as required.
With daily case counts continuing to stay low, a team of engineers at Dalhousie University are making mathematical models to answer crucial questions, such as when can restrictions be loosened.
“Moving back into an Atlantic Bubble, what would that mean for our case count in Nova Scotia?” asks Noreen Kamal, assistant professor of Industrial Engineering at Dalhousie University.
That's just one of the many questions Kamal and Ahmed Saif are asking as they lead a team of engineers at Dalhousie. The team is working to create models and simulations based on Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 counts and restrictions, and share the data with the province’s COVID-19 Joint Analytics Working Group in Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness.
“If we were to leave ourselves with our provincial borders closed, but perhaps allow for less stringent social distancing, and allow for larger gatherings of people, how will this affect our infection rates? What impact will that have on hospital admissions, ICU admissions and is there perhaps a balance that can be done,” explained Kamal.
McNeil says, after confirming two variant cases in the province, along with the uncertainty around vaccine supplies, he wants to ensure the province is ready before easing more restrictions.
"Thankfully we believe we've controlled it [variant cases], but it is not something that we can ignore. It arrived without any warning and COVID is bad enough, but with the variant, it's far more aggressive, far more difficult to predict, and with the uncertainty around supply of any vaccine, we have to be extra cautious,” explained McNeil
Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard now provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Monday, 11,622 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far, with 2,708 Nova Scotians having received a second dose.
Of the vaccines administered, 7,678 were health care workers, and 954 were long-term care residents.
Premier Stephen McNeil says the province's vaccine plan continues to rollout but they do have serious concerns about the supply.
"We had hoped that we wouldn't be in this situation, but we will not be receiving any new doses this week," said McNeil. "But because we've held back our second dose, we still have supply and it is our hope that everyone will be given their second shot."
“I think we know we're not getting any Pfizer vaccine next week," said Strang. "The week after, we're getting 1,950 doses, a tray of vaccines. Beyond that, there's no certainty of what the amount of vaccine, whether it's Pfizer or Moderna, we're going to get"
McNeil says when the vaccine supply ramps up, the province will be sure to have the infrastructure in place so they can quickly and efficiently deliver shots to Nova Scotians.
HALIFAX AREA POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS URGED TO GET TESTED
Health officials in the province are strongly encouraging all post-secondary students in the Halifax area to get tested after several cases were identified in Halifax's student population.
Public health says students should get tested even if they haven't travelled, have no symptoms, and have not been at a location with an exposure.
"One of our recent cases is a Dalhousie student and so, continuing to be very cautious, we are encouraging post-secondary students who attend a campus in the Halifax peninsula to get a COVID-19 test, especially those who recently returned from outside Nova Scotia, P.E.I., or Newfoundland – even if they tested negative during their quarantine," explained Strang, in a news conference on Tuesday.
Drop-in testing begins on Tuesday and is available all week at Dalhousie University.
Pop-up rapid COVID-19 testing will also take place at several locations in the province's Eastern zone beginning Wednesday.
Those locations include:
- Wednesday, Jan. 27- St. Theresa’s Hall, 285 St Peters Rd, Sydney from 1 to 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Jan. 28- Cape Breton University, Canada Games Complex from 1 to 6 p.m.
- Friday, Jan. 29- Amelia Saputo Centre, StFX, Antigonish from 1 to 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Jan. 30- Amelia Saputo Centre, StFX, Antigonish from noon to 6 p.m.
Health officials are also reminding Nova Scotians that mobile testing units are available for everyone, and not just students.
POTENTIAL COVID-19 EXPOSURES
On Tuesday, Nova Scotia announced two potential COVID-19 exposures in the Halifax area.
Out of an abundance of caution, and given the current testing capacity available, anyone who visited or worked at the following locations on the specified date and time should immediately take an online self-assessment COVID-19 test to arrange for testing, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
- Atlantic Photo Supply Halifax (6111 Pepperell St., Halifax)
- Jan. 20 between 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Feb. 3.
- HomeSense Bayers Lake (9 Washmill Lake Ct., Halifax)
- Jan. 22 between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
- Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Feb. 5
COVID-19 CASE DATA
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 1,592 tests on Monday.
Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 154,002 tests. There have been 483 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. Cases have ranged in age from under 10 to over 70. Four hundred and seventy-two cases are now resolved.
Since the pandemic began, Nova Scotia has completed 277,180 tests. Cumulatively, there have been 1,572 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,496 cases considered recovered.
The province has reported 65 COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began, with an average age of 80-years-old.
There is currently no one in hospital due to COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the province’s confirmed cases 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: 92 cases (0 active cases)
- Central Zone: 1277 cases (4 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 127 cases (5 active cases)
- Eastern Zone: 76 cases (2 active cases)
POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS RETURNING TO N.S.
Any post-secondary students returning to Nova Scotia are required to self-isolate for 14-days upon arrival. Government officials are also strongly encouraging them to get tested halfway through that isolation period, either on day 6, 7 or 8.
COVID-19 tests for post-secondary students 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