Strang confirms community spread, beginning of second wave; N.S. reports 5 new COVID-19 cases
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia’s top doctor is sounding the alarm as he confirms the province is starting to see community spread in the Halifax area and is also at the beginning of its second wave of COVID-19.
“We are starting to see community spread. Travel is not just the primary cause of all of the cases in the province now,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang during a news conference on Tuesday.
“We have had seven cases where we can’t identify a source that is directly related to travel. Therefore, we have to conclude that this may be from local transmission. This is very concerning and an important turn of events for us here in Nova Scotia.”
Nova Scotia reported five new cases on Tuesday, including two linked to two schools in the Halifax area. There are now 24 active cases in the province.
“This is a wakeup call. COVID is not just entering two of our schools, it’s quickly creeping into a number of our neighbourhoods, particularly here in the central zone,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Public health is having trouble tracing a number of those cases. This is very concerning and it tells me that we are not taking COVID seriously.”
Strang noted that only three new COVID-19 cases were reported in September and 21 cases in October. So far this month, 42 cases have been announced, which indicates Nova Scotia is at the beginning of a second wave.
“That’s a trajectory we can’t continue to follow,” said Strang. “The ultimate trajectory, again, depends on us.”
Strang and McNeil expressed concerns about the steady rise in cases this month and are urging Nova Scotians to follow the protocols in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“We’ve let our guard down as we got through the summer and COVID was low, but we need to up our game,” said Strang. “We need to pay close attention to our social activities and our social connects.”
He said Nova Scotians should reduce the number of times they go out to socialize and keep their social circle small. Indoor gatherings should be limited to groups of no more than 10.
Strang made a special appeal to young people between the ages of 18 and 35, noting that the current outbreak is affecting people in that age group.
“You are important to Nova Scotia. You are our future and we need you now to be leaders in taking a stand against COVID-19,” he said. “I want you to be able to look back at the pandemic and say that you contributed, that you got it right and you did your part.”
Strang also had harsh words for people who refuse to wear a face mask.
“Stop making excuses because you don’t feel like wearing a mask," he said. “The science now clearly shows that it protects others around us by wearing a mask.”
As for travel, Strang said Nova Scotians should stay in the Atlantic bubble and avoid trips outside of the bubble unless necessary.
Meanwhile, McNeil warned that if cases in the province continue to climb, he won’t think twice about shutting down the economy again.
“Some people are not taking this virus seriously. If this behaviour continues we are going to be in a position to shut our economy down again,” said McNeil. “I don’t want to do that, but I’m not going to watch COVID overtake a community.”
FIVE NEW CASES
Nova Scotia reported five new cases of COVID-19 in the province’s Central Zone on Tuesday, bumping the number of active cases to 24. Four more cases are considered resolved.
Two of the new cases are the school-based cases first announced Monday. The other three cases are close contacts of previously-reported cases.
966 COVID-19 TESTS
The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 966 Nova Scotia tests on Monday.
To date, Nova Scotia has had 123,422 negative test results and 1,151 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, 1,062 cases are now considered resolved and 65 people have died as a result of the novel coronavirus, leaving 24 active cases in the province.
There is no one in hospital due to COVID-19.
The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty per cent of cases are female and 40 per cent are male.
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: 58 cases
- Central Zone: 961 cases
- Northern Zone: 77 cases
- Eastern Zone: 55 cases
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Nov. 29.
POTENTIAL EXPOSURE AT DARTMOUTH TIRE SHOP
Health officials in Nova Scotia are advising the public of a potential exposure to COVID-19 at a business in Dartmouth.
Nova Scotia Health says anyone who visited the GCR Tire & Service Centre at 42 Isnor Drive between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Nov. 13 may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
Those people are urged to monitor for symptoms. They may develop symptoms up to and including Nov. 27.
Anyone who experiences symptoms should complete an online self-assessment or call 811.
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
SELF-ISOLATION AND MANDATORY MASKS
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region for non-essential reasons is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form before coming to the province. Travellers must self-isolate alone, away from others. If they cannot self-isolate alone, their entire household must also self-isolate for 14 days.
Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are not required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia, but they must be prepared to provide proof of their place of residency at provincial borders.
Visitors from outside the Atlantic region who have already self-isolated in another Atlantic province for 14 days may travel to Nova Scotia without having to self-isolate again.
It is mandatory to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces in Nova Scotia.