N.S. identifies 14 new COVID-19 cases after conducting 2,253 tests

HALIFAX — After conducting a record number of tests, Nova Scotia health is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, increasing the number of active cases in the province to 114.

Twelve of the new cases identified Thursday are located in the Central Zone, which includes the Halifax Regional Municipality.

One case was identified in each of the Northern Zone and Western Zone.

“New restrictions have come into effect today in much of Halifax Regional Municipality and parts of Hants County to help us to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Please make yourself familiar with the new restrictions. We all have a responsibility to follow public health measures and keep each other safe.”

Two previously reported cases are now considered recovered, and 114 active cases remain in the province.

On Wednesday, Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,253 tests, a new single day high for the province.

There were 856 tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in downtown Halifax yesterday and five positive results.

The individuals were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test. 

“We’ve seen a great uptake for asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons. People are showing us how much they care about their communities by going to these pop-up rapid testing locations,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “This has allowed us to detect a few cases among asymptomatic people early on and helps to stop the spread of the virus.”

CASE BREAKDOWN

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has recorded 38,434 negative tests and 167 positive COVID-19 cases. There have been no deaths during the second wave. Fifty-three cases are considered resolved since Oct. 1, leaving 114 active cases in the province. Cases during this time period range in age from under 10 to over 70.

Since the start of the pandemic, Nova Scotia has seen a total of 133,352 negative and 1,257 positive COVID-19 tests. Of the 1,257 total positive cases, 1,078 are considered resolved, and 65 people have died.

As of Thursday, 148 new cases had been identified in the province this month, marking the highest total of new cases in a month since April, when 853 new cases were reported.

There is no one in hospital due to COVID-19.

The province’s confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.

Fifty-eight per cent of cases are female and 42 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: 60 cases
  • Central Zone: 1,063 cases
  • Northern Zone: 79 cases
  • Eastern Zone: 55 cases

TIGHTER RESTRICTIONS FOR PARTS OF CENTRAL ZONE

As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the following measures apply for two weeks in the western and central Halifax area, which the province defines as HRM from Hubbards to, and including, Porters Lake and communities up to Elmsdale and Mount Uniacke in Hants County:

  • The gathering limit in public is five, or up to the number of members of an immediate family in a household.
  • Face masks must be worn in common areas of multi-unit residential buildings, such as apartment buildings and condos.
  • Restaurants and licensed establishments are closed for in-person dining. They may still provide takeout and delivery.
  • Retail stores must restrict shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of allowable capacity.
  • Wineries, breweries and distilleries cannot hold tastings or in-person dining and must follow retail rules in their stores. Delivery and curbside pickup are allowed.
  • Organized sports, recreational, athletic, arts and cultural activities and faith-based activities are paused.
  • Profit and non-profit fitness and recreational facilities are closed.
  • Libraries and museums are closed. This includes the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
  • The casino and First Nations gaming establishments are closed.
  • Stronger enforcement of illegal gatherings. Each person who attends an illegal gathering could be fined $1,000.

The restrictions will continue for two weeks until midnight Dec. 9, but they could be extended.

Staff, volunteers and designated caregivers at long-term care facilities in HRM will undergo voluntary, bi-weekly testing, starting Friday.

Schools, after-school programs and childcare will remain open. Certain personal service businesses, such as hairstylists, estheticians and nail salons, in western and central HRM can continue, except for procedures that cannot be done while a patron is wearing a mask.

Nova Scotians are also being urged to avoid non-essential travel in and out of the western and central Halifax Regional Municipality and to avoid travelling to other Atlantic provinces for non-essential reasons.

NEW RESTRICTIONS ACROSS NOVA SCOTIA

As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the following new restrictions apply across Nova Scotia, in all zones:

  • No visitors, except for volunteers and designated caregivers, will be allowed in long-term care facilities, adult residential centres and regional rehabilitation centres licensed by the Department of Community Services.
  • Sports teamsare restricted to local or regional play only.
  • No extracurricular activities between schools.

POTENTIAL EXPOSURE LIST

Nova Scotia health identified 19 potential public exposures in the Central zone on Wednesday.

Click here for a full, updated list of potential exposures in the province.

HALIFAX BAR AND RESTAURANT PATRONS URGED TO GET TESTED

Nova Scotia Health is asking anyone who works in a licensed establishment or went to a bar or restaurant in the Halifax Regional Municipality after 10 p.m. in the last two weeks to book a COVID-19 test, even if they don’t have symptoms.

The announcement is part of what the government is calling a “broad asymptomatic testing strategy for people who go to or work in late-night bars and restaurants.”

People who work in a licensed establishment or have been to a bar or restaurant in urban and suburban HRM after 10 p.m. since Nov. 10 are asked to visit the COVID self-assessment page to schedule a COVID-19 test.

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
  • Headache
  • 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. 


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