Nova Scotia reports 44 new cases of COVID-19; seven variant cases confirmed
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting 44 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday – the highest single-day case increase the province has seen in exactly one year.
Thirty-three cases are in the province's Central zone. Public health says there are signs of community spread in the Central zone, but not signs of community spread in the province's Eastern, Northern or Western zones at this time.
Five cases were identified Thursday evening and are connected to the following schools in the HRM:
- Dartmouth South Academy in Dartmouth
- Ross Road School in Westphal
- Holland Road Elementary in Fletchers Lake
- St. Catherine's Elementary in Halifax
- St. Joseph's-Alexander McKay Elementary in Halifax.
One of the cases in Central zone is a staff member at The Ivy Meadows, a long-term care facility in Beaver Bank. Public Health says, as a precaution, residents are being isolated and cared for in their rooms and the facility is closed to visitors and designated caregivers.
Public Health says they are working with The Ivy Meadows on testing residents and staff. All residents were offered vaccinations earlier and the majority of residents accepted full vaccination with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Five of Friday's cases are in the Eastern zone, four cases are in the Western zone and two cases are in the Northern zone.
Public health says going forward, they will no longer be regularly providing the source of individual cases, due to an increased number of investigations.
"The new restrictions for the greater Halifax area come into effect today. I know it's not easy, but it is a necessary step to allow us to limit the spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "While the majority of the cases are in the Central Zone, COVID-19 can easily find its way into other parts of the province. We must all remain vigilant and continue working to limit spread within, and beyond, Halifax."
Five previously reported cases in Nova Scotia are now considered resolved, with the total number of active cases increasing to 150-- the highest number of active cases the province has reported since May 10, 2020.
"With the new restrictions taking effect today, we are asking Nova Scotians to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19," said Premier Iain Rankin. "We've done this before and we can do it again. We all have a responsibility to follow the public health measures that help to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe."
SEVEN VARIANT CASES IDENTIFIED
Unrelated to Friday's new cases, Nova Scotia is reporting seven previously reported cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom.
"There has been a total of 73 cases of the U.K. variant, 12 cases of the South African variant, and one case of the Brazil variant identified in Nova Scotia." said health officials in a news release on Friday.
‘NEAR LOCKDOWN’ RESTRICTIONS COME INTO EFFECT IN HALIFAX AREA
As of 8 a.m. Friday, the Halifax area is under a four-week "near full-lockdown" imposed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rankin issued the "circuit breaker" health order after officials reported 38 new infections Thursday, including five cases at Halifax area schools.
The new restrictions limit outdoor and indoor gatherings to five people and prohibit large gatherings, including social events, festivals, sports and wedding receptions.
People are asked not to travel into or out of the Halifax area unless absolutely necessary.
Also beginning Friday, several schools in the Dartmouth area have moved to virtual learning for two weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 5,956 tests on Thursday. The province says an additional 6,520 tests were administered between April 16 and 22 at the rapid-testing pop-up sites in Halifax and Sackville.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,938 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,721 cases have recovered and 67 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.
There are currently four people in hospital due to COVID-19, with no one 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: 134 cases (9 active cases)
- Central Zone: 1,531 cases (109 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 142 cases (6 active case)
- Eastern Zone: 131 cases (26 active cases)
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to May 2, 2021.
Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Friday, 260,788 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. According to the province, 18.9 per cent of the eligible population have received vaccines as of Tuesday, with 3.4 per cent having received a second dose.
As of Tuesday, the province has received a total of 320,200 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15, 2020.
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
With files from the Canadian Press.