Nova Scotia reports province's 70th COVID-19 related death and 227 new cases Friday
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting a single-day record 227 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, as the number of active cases in the province rises to 1,464.
Officials also reported the province's 70th death related to COVID-19, involving a woman in her 70s who died at home in the province's Central zone.
"On behalf of all Nova Scotians, I want to extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of that individual," said Premier Iain Rankin during Friday's news update.
"There is more COVID activity in the province than we thought we would find," said Strang during Friday's update. "The numbers we are seeing are primarily due to things that happened a week or two before province wide restrictions were in place."
Strang also revealed that there were 'more than 200 other cases' that need to be entered into the system.
"Given we are behind with case investigations, there is likely even more virus activity than we even know about. Our situation is critical, especially in the Halifax area," says Strang.
In a release, N.S. health officials say 202 of Friday's new cases are located in the province's Central zone.
Fourteen new cases were identified in the Eastern zone, nine new cases are being reported in the Western zone, and two new cases in the Northern zone.
The province is no longer including an "exposure category" (travel, close contact, etc.), citing increased investigations.
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.
Seventy-one of Nova Scotia's previously reported cases are now considered resolved, with the total number of active infections increasing to 1,464.
PROVINCE ANNOUNCES NEW RESTRICTIONS
The province is extending school closures, tightening border restrictions, changing isolation requirements for rotational workers, and putting limits on shoppers.
Starting Saturday at 8 a.m., retail stores can only sell essential products in-person. Each household must designate one shopper.
Essential product categories are:
- pharmaceutical products, medicine and medical devices
- personal hygiene products
- cleaning products
- baby and child products
- gas stations and garages
- computer and cellphone service and repair
- electronic and office supplies
- hardware supplies and home appliances
- pet and animal supplies
- gardening supplies
- workplace safety supplies
- automobile purchases (by appointment only)
Residents are also required to remain in their own communities except for essential travel such as for work, shopping and medical appointments including testing and vaccination appointments. Community is mainly defined as one's municipality.
Public and private schools will remain closed and at-home learning will continue until at least the end of May.
New border measures will take effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 10, and will be in place until at least the end of the month:
Nova Scotia's border will close to people intending to move here. That includes people coming from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. It was previously closed to non-essential travel from other provinces.
There are no exceptions for funerals and limited exceptions to be with an immediate family member who is at end of life.
The only people who will be allowed to enter the province are:
- permanent residents returning to the province
- people who work outside the province
- post-secondary students returning home or entering to study; parents from outside Nova Scotia are not allowed pick students up or drop them off
- people traveling for child custody reasons, following the child custody protocol
- people who are exempt from self-isolation, following the exempt traveler protocol (for example, long-haul truck drivers, airline crew, first responders, people needing essential health services)
- people who follow the protocol for travel between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for work, school and child care only
An application process will be added to the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in by May 14 for most travelers. Business requests for other workers to enter the province will not be considered.
Also, rotational workers who are returning home from outbreak zones can no longer do the modified form of self-isolation.
They must self-isolate for 14 days in a completely separate space from the other people in their households.
N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA
Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 7,816 COVID-19 tests on Thursday. Officials have completed a total of 661,391 tests since the pandemic began.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 3,591 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 2,057 cases have recovered and 70 people have died due to COVID-19.
There are currently 50 people in hospital due to COVID-19, nine of whom are in intensive care.
Since April 1, there have been 1,849 positive COVID-19 cases and three deaths. Of the cases since April 1, 381 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: 177 cases (44 active cases)
- Central Zone: 2,988 cases (1,282 active cases)
- Northern Zone: 175 cases (29 active cases)
- Eastern Zone: 251 cases (109 active cases)
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to May 16, 2021.
NOVA SCOTIANS 45 AND OVER NOW ELIGIBLE FOR PFIZER, MODERNA VACCINES
Nova Scotians in the 45 to 49 age group can now book appointments at community clinics and participating pharmacy and primary care clinics that offer the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
N.S. Health says all community clinics and participating pharmacies have available appointments for this age group.
According to the province, there are about 67,625 eligible Nova Scotians in the 45-49 age group.
Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Thursday, 356,978 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 37,630 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
As Tuesday, Nova Scotia has received a total of 388,450 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15
CHANGES TO ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING STRATEGY
In order to address the test result backlog, Nova Scotia is shifting their COVID-19 asymptomatic testing strategy.
In the interim, most Nova Scotians are encouraged to use pop-up testing sites instead of booking a COVID-19 lab test over the next few days.
Individuals under the following categories are still encouraged to book lab tests:
- anyone with symptoms
- anyone who has been notified that they are a close contact of a known case
- anyone who has been at an exposure location
- anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador
Public health says anyone who does not meet the above criteria and has already booked an appointment should cancel it following the instructions provided in their confirmation email.
The province said last Friday that it would make an effort to increase rapid testing capacity around the province.
Pop-up testing locations being provided on Friday, include:
- Alderney Gate Public Library (60 Alderney Dr., Dartmouth) - from noon to 7 p.m
- Centre 200 (481 George St, Sydney) - from 3 to 7 p.m.
- Halifax Central Library (5440 Spring Garden Rd.) - from noon to 7 p.m.
- Halifax Convention Centre (Argyle St. entrance, 1650 Argyle St.) - from noon to 7 p.m.
- John Martin School (7 Brule St. Dartmouth) - from noon to 7 p.m.
- Keshen Goodman Library (Clayton Park) - from noon to 7 p.m.
- St. Andrews Community Centre (3380 Barnstead Lane, Halifax) - from noon to 7 p.m.
- Tancook Recreation Centre (Big Tancook Island) from 12:45 to 5:30 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