Nova Scotia reports nine new COVID-19 cases Tuesday; two cases confirmed as variants
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting nine new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Four previously reported cases are now considered recovered, as the active number of cases increases to 68.
Six of Tuesday's new cases were reported in the province's Central zone. Five are close contacts of previously reported cases and the other case is under investigation.
One new case was reported in the Eastern zone and are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.
Two new cases was reported in the Western zone and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.
All individuals are self-isolating as required.
TWO NEW VARIANT CASES CONFIRMED
Unrelated to Tuesday's new cases, Nova Scotia is reporting two new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom. Both were previously reported cases and related to travel.
"There has been a total of 65 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 Sunday.
THREE CASES AT CENTRAL ZONE SCHOOLS
In a news release Tuesday afternoon, public health identified two additional COVID-19 cases connected to schools in the province's Central zone.
Both Dartmouth South Academy elementary in Dartmouth, N.S., and Auburn Drive High in Westphal, N.S. will remain closed until Monday to complete deep cleaning.
Health official say students will learn from home during the closure and parents will be provided an update before the students' planned return on Monday.
"As with any positive case, public health will be in touch with any close contacts of these cases and advise of next steps, including testing," wrote the province in a news release. "Everyone who is a close contact will be notified, tested and asked to self-isolate for 14 days."
Public health is recommending all students and staff from both schools get tested out of an "abundance of caution."
Public health also says the two school-related cases were not included in Tuesday's dashboard, or daily COVID-19 news release because they came in after the cut-off reporting date. Officials say the cases will be included in Wednesday's numbers.
Later Tuesday evening, the province announced a third case connected to Mount Edward Elementary in Dartmouth, Central Zone.
"The school will remain closed to students until Monday, April 26," the Department of Education and Early Childhood Education wrote in a news release. "A deep cleaning will take place and students will learn from home during the closure. Families will receive an update before students return to school on Monday."
N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,723 tests on Monday. The province has completed 471,095 tests since the pandemic began.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,831 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,696 cases have recovered and 67 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.
There are currently two 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: 129 cases (10 active cases)
- Central Zone: 1,446 cases (37 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 136 cases (no active cases)
- Eastern Zone: 120 cases (20 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 Tuesday, 216,018 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. According to the province, 18.9 per cent of the eligible population have received vaccines, 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, and anticipate a delivery of 55,310 doses this week.
NO PLANS TO LOWER ASTRAZENECA AGE AVAILABILITY
Nova Scotia’s top doctor said Tuesday that at this time, the province will not be lowering the eligible age to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Strang says the four Atlantic chief medical officers of health have agreed not to lower the age to receive the AstraZeneca shot to 40, despite a similar move by other provinces.
“Because of our good epidemiology, were going to continue to use AstraZeneca for the 55-64-year-olds,” says Strang, noting he’s relying on evidence from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
According to Strang, Nova Scotia is projected to receive roughly 10,000 doses of AstraZeneca, which doesn’t expire until the end of June.
“The best thing now is to leave it where it is and let the next few weeks evolve,” explains Strang. “We may be in a situation in the next few weeks where all of a sudden our epidemiology is different and we have to figure out how we use the vaccine.”
INCREASED TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS EFFECTIVE THURSDAY
Nova Scotia has announced new restrictions on travel to the province, which will restrict the borders to any travellers, except for those from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Effective Thursday at 8 a.m., people from outside N.S., P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador will not be allowed to enter the province unless their travel is essential or they are permanent residents.
"This is not the time for people to come to Nova Scotia for anything other than essential travel," said Premier Iain Rankin in a release. "Given that the pandemic is now being driven by variants that transmit more easily, this strong action is necessary to protect Nova Scotians."
A full list of what is considered essential travel is available here.
WOMEN'S WORLD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS STILL A GO
Strang said despite the increased travel restrictions, the Women’s World Hockey Championship will be going ahead as scheduled.
“That tournament, in my opinion, does not present a risk of transmitting or bringing COVID and transmitting it into Nova Scotia,”said Strang. “They have very strict protocol and if they come here, they will be in a bubble that will have no interactions with Nova Scotians. Once they’re out of their quarantine, they still will not be interacting with Nova Scotians.”
Ten teams from around the world will be coming to the province for the 2021 Women’s World Ice Hockey Championship, scheduled to drop the puck in Halifax and Truro from May 6-16.
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.
The following rapid testing sites are scheduled for this week:
- Tuesday, April 20
- Halifax Convention Centre - Argyle Street entrance, 1650 Argyle St. from noon-7 p.m.
- Sackville Sports Stadium, 409 Glendale Dr, Lower Sackville from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 21
- Sackville Sports Stadium, 409 Glendale Dr, Lower Sackville (DIRECTIONS) from noon to 7:30 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