Nova Scotia reports four new COVID-19 cases Saturday, active cases rise to 39
HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia Government announced four new COVID-19 cases Saturday, bringing the active total to 39 in the province.
Three of the new cases are in the central zone, and close contacts of previously reported cases.
One is in the eastern zone, and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. The province says all of these people are self-isolating.
"While today's case count is lower than the last two days, I am still greatly concerned about the trend we have been seeing in recent case numbers in Halifax," said new N.S. Premier Iain Rankin in Saturday’s release. "We must follow the public health restrictions to reverse the recent trend. No matter whether you live in Halifax or elsewhere in the province, I encourage you, even if you don't have symptoms, to book an appointment at one of the primary assessment centres or drop into a pop-up testing site."
Since Oct. 1, there have been 549 cumulative confirmed cases, and no deaths.
There are two people in hospital due to COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, both are in intensive care.
"While the case numbers are low today, it doesn't change the fact that we are seeing recent cases without obvious sources of infection," said Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang in Saturday’s media release. "As I said yesterday, it is very important to follow all the public health measures and make testing part of your regular COVID-19 prevention measures. If you have a symptom of the flu or a cold, get tested."
NEW RESTRICTIONS TAKE EFFECT
Saturday is the first day for Nova Scotia’s latest round of restrictions.
On Friday, health officials announced they are tightening some COVID-19 restrictions in Halifax 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 on Friday. “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 from HRM to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke, and Hubbards.
The tightened restrictions took 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
Strang is also asking people who live in Nova Scotia 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 in a Friday media conference. “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 throughout the entire province:
- 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.
N.S. CASE DATA
The Nova Scotia Health Authority completed 3,230 tests on Friday, and 329,347 since the start of the pandemic.
There have been 1,638 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,534 are now considered recovered, and there have been 65 deaths, leaving 39 active cases remaining.
There are currently two people in hospital due to COVID-19, both 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 cumulative cases (0 active cases)
- Central Zone: 1,326 cumulative cases (31 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 128 cumulative cases (no active cases)
- Eastern Zone: 85 cumulative cases (5 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, however it’s not updated daily.
As of Friday, 32,019 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far, with 12,105 people in Nova Scotia having received a second dose.
Of the vaccines administered 22,497 were health care workers, and 3,160 were long-term care residents.
NOVA SCOTIANS ENCOURAGED TO SEEK ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING
Public health is strongly encouraging Nova Scotians to seek asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, particularly if they have attended 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