N.S. reports two COVID-19 deaths, 83 new cases; extends restrictions and at-home learning until June
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting two more deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths in the province to 74.
In a release, the province says a man in his 60s has died in Eastern Zone and a woman in her 60s has died in Central Zone.
"If we needed another reminder, this is it," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "This virus must be taken seriously."
The province is also reporting 83 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the fourth consecutive day of declining new case numbers, as the active number of cases in the province drops to 1,262.
In a news release from the province, it says 59 of Wednesday's new cases are in the province's Central zone. Nineteen new cases were reported in the Eastern zone, two are in the Northern zone, and three are in the Western zone.
"New cases continue to be too high," said Strang. "That's why we're continuing the restrictions at least until the second week of June."
PUBLIC HEALTH RESTRICTIONS TO REMAIN IN PLACE UNTIL JUNE
Nova Scotia announced Wednesday that public health restrictions will remain in place across the province until at least the second week of June and that all public and private schools will continue at-home learning for the rest of the school year.
"We are making progress with decreasing our case numbers, but that progress is slower than we would like," said Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin. "In order to get back to more normal living this summer, I'm asking Nova Scotians to stick with our restrictions a little longer, get vaccinated as soon as you can and stay close to home. That includes limiting your activities for the long weekend."
Provincial park campgrounds are closed and private campgrounds are only open to seasonal campers.
"I encourage Nova Scotians to get outdoors and enjoy parks, trails and beaches within their own communities as the weather warms up," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "We also welcome Nova Scotia residents coming home and are making their application process a bit easier."
Strang said if you are lucky enough to have a cottage or a second residence outside your community, then you can go there, but only if you stay for the season.
It is against public health guidelines to go back and forth between these places and their primary residence, Strang said.
"If you have a cottage or a second home to go to, you are extremely privileged," Strang said. "Do the right thing, because it's the right thing to care for one another. Pick one or the other. A lot of people are struggling right now."
COMMUNITY SPREAD IN SYDNEY
Rankin confirmed during Wednesday afternoon's news briefing that there is community spread of COVID-19 in the Sydney area.
"Most new cases continue to be in the Halifax area, but we are concerned about Sydney," Strang said. "There are few cases elsewhere in CBRM and Cape Breton and the cases we are seeing are predominantly among 20-to-30-year-olds."
Strang said public health will ramp-up testing and is setting up a pop-up testing site at Centre 200 in Sydney starting Thursday.
"(Testing) has dropped off a little bit, so we need to increase it," Strang said. "We need to seek out and find all the COVID that is in this area."
ANOTHER PATIENT IN NON-COVID UNIT TESTS POSITIVE
One of Wednesday's new cases involves a patient in a non-COVID unit at the Halifax Infirmary site of the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Public Health says the other patients in the non-COVID unit have tested negative and are being closely monitored. As a precaution, Nova Scotia Health Authority is testing staff and doctors who have worked in the unit.
One of the cases in Central Zone involves a staff member at The Ivy Meadows, a long-term care facility in Beaver Bank. Public Health says this is the second case involving a staff member at this facility, and most residents have been fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Two of the cases in the Eastern Zone involve a resident and outside agency staff member at Harbourstone Enhanced Care, a long-term care facility in Sydney.
A third case in the Eastern Zone involves a staff member of My Cape Breton Home for Seniors in North Sydney.
Public Health says staff and residents in the impacted units of both facilities are being tested and residents are being cared for in their rooms, and that most residents of the facilities have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Health officials say 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.
The province says testing has been increased in some areas of concern, particularly in Sydney, Bridgewater and the Annapolis Valley from New Minas to Kentville.
The province says 164 previously reported cases are now considered resolved, with the total number of active cases dropping to 1,262, the lowest number of active cases reported in the province since May 5.
On Wednesday evening, Nova Scotia Health released a list of public exposure sites.
N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 7,324 tests on Tuesday, bringing the total number of tests since the pandemic began to 747,213.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 5,000 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 3,664 cases have recovered and 74 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.
According to the province's online dashboard, there are currently 101 individuals in hospital, 20 of which are in the intensive care unit.
Since April 1, there have been 3,258 positive COVID-19 cases and seven deaths. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 90. Of the new cases since April 1, 1,988 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: 252 case (58 active cases)
- Central Zone: 4,100 cases (1,014 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 242 cases (55 active cases)
- Eastern Zone: 406 cases (135 active cases)
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to May 30, 2021.
Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Wednesday, 442,535 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 40,096 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
As of Tuesday, Nova Scotia has received a total of 519,550 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15.
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 many rapid pop-up testing sites that continue to operate throughout the province.
The province says they are making an effort to increase rapid testing capacity around the province.
Pop-up testing locations being provided on Wednesday include:
- Alderney Gate Public Library, Dartmouth, from noon to 7 p.m.
- Central Spryfield Elementary School, 364 Herring Cove Rd., from noon to 7 p.m
- Centre 200, 481 George St, Sydney, from 3 to 7 p.m.
- Halifax Central Library from noon to 7 p.m.
- Halifax Convention Centre, Halifax, from noon to 7 p.m.
- John Martin School, 7 Brule St., Dartmouth, from noon to 7 p.m.
- New Minas Fire Hall, 6 Jones Rd, New Minas, from noon 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