Nova Scotia reports 10 new COVID-19 cases Friday; restrictions tightening for some
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
Nine of the cases are in the Central zone. Five of them are close contacts of previously reported cases, three remain under investigation, while one is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. That person is self-isolating, as required.
The 10th case is in the province's Eastern zone, and is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. That person is self-isolating, as required.
According to Nova Scotia's online dashboard, two of the province's previously reported cases are now considered resolved, with the total active cases increasing to 35.
CIRCUIT BREAKER ACITIVATED IN HRM
Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, says they are very concerned with the increase of cases in the province.
For this reason, health officials have decided to tighten some COVID-19 restrictions in the Halifax Regional Municipality and neighbouring municipalities.
“Our case numbers are rising again, and the situation is serious. We need to act swiftly to stop it from snowballing,” said Premier Rankin. “We are reintroducing restrictions in the Halifax area to limit opportunities for the virus to spread through social interactions. Across the province, everyone needs to stick close to home and be extremely vigilant with all the public health measures.”
Areas where restrictions are being tightened include HRM, up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke, and Hubbards.
The tightened restrictions will take effect at 8 a.m. on Saturday and continue until at least 11:59 p.m. on March 26.
New restrictions for the affected areas include:
- restaurants and licensed establishments must stop service by 9 p.m. and close by 10 p.m.
- faith-based gatherings can have 150 outdoors or 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 100 indoors
- wedding ceremonies and funerals can have 10 people including the officiant but there can be no wedding receptions and no funeral visitation or receptions
- sports events, special events, arts and culture events and festivals are not permitted
- sports practices and training and arts and culture rehearsals can have 25 people without physical distancing but there can be no games, competitions, tournaments or in-person performances and there can be no spectators
- there can be no more than 25 people involved in a virtual performance, including performers and people managing the recording or livestream
- business and organized club meetings and training can have 25 people – physical distancing is required except when emergency responders need to be closer than two metres for training
- residents in long-term care homes can only have visits from their designated caregivers and can only leave for medical appointments or for a drive
The province's top doctor is also asking Nova Scotians to avoid non-essential travel within the province and elsewhere, especially to and from the affected areas.
“We had hoped we would not be back in the situation where these restrictions are necessary. We understand that they are disruptive but they are absolutely critical to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Strang. “Everyone needs to behave with the same caution as they did last spring when the virus first arrived in Nova Scotia. Everyone needs to get tested even if they only have one mild symptom.”
The following restrictions remain in place provincewide:
- the general gathering limit is 10 indoors and outdoors
- gatherings at a person’s home are limited to 10, including people who live there
- retail businesses and malls operate at 75 per cent capacity and follow other public health measures
- fitness facilities such as gyms and yoga studios operate at 75 per cent capacity and maintain three metres between people doing high-intensity activities, including indoor and outdoor fitness classes
- schools, after-school programs and child-care centres remain open following their respective sector plans
- libraries, museums, casinos and the Nova Scotia Art Gallery remain open following their respective plans
- adult day programs for seniors remain closed
With rising case numbers, Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Lisa Barrett, agrees Nova Scotians should pull back on their social activities.
"Try to get tested as regularly as you think is reasonable. It will be a huge thing in keeping us from not looking exactly like the provinces around us who have had so much difficulty," said Barrett.
ADDITIONAL TESTING FOR SOME AT BORDER
Public health says they are implementing additional testing at Nova Scotia's borders for some groups of people who regularly travel.
"Effective Monday, March 1, three COVID-19 tests are required for rotational workers, specialized workers, and parents and children whose child custody visits involve travel outside Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island," wrote public health in a news release on Friday. "A new child custody protocol details more requirements for visits and for situations where a parent or child has symptoms or a positive test result."
DEFINITION FOR ROTATIONAL, SPECIALIZED WORKERS CHANGING
The definition for rotational and specialized workers in Nova Scotia is changing effective Monday, March 1 to only include those in Canada. Public health says international workers will be subject to the federal Quarantine Act.
"More testing requirements are planned for other travellers," wrote health officials in a news release.
POTENTIAL COVID-19 EXPOSURE
Nova Scotia announced a potential COVID-19 exposure on Friday connected to a restaurant in downtown Halifax.
Mandatory testing required
Anyone who visited or worked at the following locations on the specified date and time should immediately self-isolate, and take an online self-assessment COVID-19 test to arrange for testing, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. These people are required to self-isolate while waiting for their results.
- 2 Doors Down Food & Wine (1533 Barrington St, Halifax) on Feb. 20
- Between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
- Symptoms may develop up to, and including March 6
N.S. CASE DATA
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,797 tests on Thursday. The province has completed 326,117 tests since the pandemic began.
Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 202,939 COVID-19 tests. There have been 545 positive cases, and no deaths.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,634 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,534 cases have recovered and 65 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.
There is one person in hospital because of COVID-19 and they are in the intensive care unit.
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: 99 cases (3 active case)
- Central Zone: 1,323 cases (28 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 128 cases (0 active cases)
- Eastern Zone: 84 cases (4 active cases)
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to March 7, 2021.
Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard now provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Friday, 32,019 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far. Of those, 19,914 were first doses and 12,105 were Nova Scotians receiving their second dose.
Of the vaccines administered 22,497 went to health care workers, and 3,160 were long-term care residents.
UPCOMING RAPID TESTING SITES
Nova Scotia lists the locations for their COVID-19 rapid pop-up testing sites on their website.
Rapid testing in Nova Scotia is offered to people who:
- are over 16
- do not have symptoms
- have not travelled out of province
- have not visited a potential exposure location
- have not been in contact with someone who has tested positive
Upcoming rapid testing sites include:
- Friday, Feb. 26 at the Eastern Passage Cow Bays Lion Club 65 Hornes Rd. from noon to 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 26 at the Halifax Convention Centre, Argyle St. entrance 3:30 to 9:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Halifax Convention Centre, Argyle St. entrance 3:30 to 9:30 p.m.
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 provinces 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.
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