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Politicizing COVID
Potential exposure advisories

Nova Scotia announced one new case of COVID-19 today (Wednesday, July 7).

The new cases is in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone and is a close contact to a previously announced case.

There are now 39 known active cases in the province; two people are in hospital with the disease, neither of whom is in ICU; six people are considered newly recovered today.

Click here to see Nova Scotia’s reopening plan.

Here are the daily new case numbers and the seven-day rolling averages (today at 3.7) since March 28:

Here is the active caseload since March 28:

Politicizing COVID

Premier Iain Rankin and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang at the COVID briefing on May 7, 2020. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

I had the following exchange with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang at today’s COVID briefing:

Bousquet: Dr. Strang, at the last briefing, the premier raised the issue of his past DUI arrests. I don’t want to talk about that, but in response to his statements, he’s been criticized for politicizing these briefings, and that gives me the excuse to ask you something I’ve wanted to ask you since these briefings began way back in March of last year, and that’s this: I wonder if you are aware of the US Centres for Disease Control advice on Public Health messaging during a pandemic, which says that politicians shouldn’t be the face of the messaging, that instead trusted public health officials like yourself should be front a centre, and the politicians shouldn’t be much around. Obviously, Trump politicized the disease in the US, and we see the result, but I’m guessing that the same sort of guidelines apply in Canada, and yet in every province we see the premiers taking the spotlight. I wonder if you have any thoughts on that? It is appropriate for the premier to be using these briefings for political reasons?

Strang: So I think what we have is a very well-established partnership, established first with Premier McNeil, now Premier Rankin, I give the premier public health advice. Ultimately, the premier is elected to make decisions. So the two of us together are speaking to Nova Scotians. And I’m very fortunate to be in a province where the premier has always continued to put the health and safety of Nova Scotia first. So us coming together, speaking to Nova Scotians, I think, has worked very effectively as a blend of elected leadership as well as strong public health expertise and advice.

Bousquet: Along the same lines, a public health order issued to prevent an anti-mask rally on Citadel Hill was used as the excuse to arrest people in a pro-Palestine rally. My understanding is that many people in the Muslim community, including those in the Syrian immigrant community, understood that they considered themselves to be political targets of Public Health, and that in turn has resulted in the distrust of Public Health among those groups. Do you think the arrests of in the Palestine rally has led to a resistance of Public Health’s calls for vaccination?

Strang: Not that I’m aware of. We are working very closely for the last couple of months with our Muslim communities and we’ve specifically had vaccine clinics at some mosques. We’re working with with imams around specific mosques, especially some of our newly arrived people who are of Muslim faith, to make sure that we have culturally appropriate language, appropriate information on testing and vaccination. It was not a public health decision — actions taken by the Halifax Regional Police against those those demonstrators. That was a policing decision. But we continue to work very closely with all Nova Scotian groups, all communities, including our Muslim communities, around ensuring everybody has good access to information, access to testing and access to vaccination.


Yesterday, 24,548 doses of vaccine were administered.

As of end of day yesterday, 1,035,587 doses of vaccine had been administered; of those, 322,733 were seconded doses. So far, 73.4% of the entire population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

In order to reach 75% of the entire population having at least one dose, 15,692 people who are not currently vaccinated at all need to get a first dose; exactly 1,400 such people were vaccinated yesterday.

Having said all that, Strang today announced that the province has already achieved 75% of the entire population having at least one dose. That’s because the military has been running a vaccination program parallel to and separate from the province’s, and military members living in Nova Scotia who have been vaccinated added to the province’s numbers bring the province past the 75% threshold. The military’s numbers will be entered into the province’s COVID dashboard in coming days.

What that means is that Nova Scotia has already met the vaccination target for Phase 4 of reopening, which barring some unforeseen change in events will begin on July 14.

Starting today, the vaccination clinic at the Halifax Convention Centre is providing walk-in, no appointment second dose vaccinations for people aged 55 and over; the walk-in clinic continues to provide first doses for all ages without appointments. That vaccination clinic uses the Moderna vaccine. Hours are noon-8pm, every day except Sunday. A health card is not needed to be vaccinated at this clinic.

People 12 years old and older can book a vaccination appointment here.

People in rural areas who need transportation to a vaccine clinic should contact Rural Rides, which will get you there and back home for just $5. You need to book the ride 24 hours ahead of time.


The active cases across the province are distributed as follows:

Central Zone
• 20 in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network
• 1 in the Dartmouth/Southeastern Community Health Network
• 4 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network
• 0 in the Eastern Shore/Musquodoboit Community Health Network
• 0 in the West Hants Community Health Network
Total: 25

Eastern Zone
• 13 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network
• 1 in the Inverness, Victoria & Richmond Community Health Network
• 0 in the Antigonish & Guysborough Community Health Network
Total: 14

Northern Zone
• 0 in the Colchester/East Hants Community Health Network
• 0 in the Pictou Community Health Network
• 0 in the Cumberland Community Health Network
Total: 0

Western Zone
• 0 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network
• 0 in the Lunenburg & Queens Community Health Network
• 0 in the Yarmouth, Shelburne & Digby Community Health Network
Total: 0


Nova Scotia Health labs completed 3,891 PCR tests yesterday. This does not include the antigen test administered at the pop-up testing sites.

You do not need a health card to get tested.

Pop-up testing (antigen testing) is for asymptomatic people over 16 who have not been to the potential COVID exposure sites (see map below); results usually within 20 minutes. Pop-up testing has been scheduled for the following sites:

Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Shubenacadie Community Hall, noon-7pm
Rainbow Haven Beach (Public Health Mobile Unit), noon-5pm

Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
Bedford Legion (1772 Bedford Hwy), noon-5pm
296 Pleasant St., Dartmouth (Across the street from Dartmouth General, Public Health Mobile Unit), 2-5:30pm

Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
Bedford Legion (1772 Bedford Hwy), noon-5pm

You can volunteer to work at the pop-up testing sites here or here. No medical experience is necessary.

You can also get PCR testing at the Nova Scotia Health labs by going here. Appointments can be made for the IWK, or for various locations in each of the health zones (appointments may not be available at each site).

Potential exposure advisories

Public Health only issues potential exposure advisories when they think they may not have been able to contact all close contacts at that locale. The large majority of potential exposure sites never make it onto a public advisory.

No potential COVID exposure advisories were issued yesterday.

We’ve collected all the active advisories for potential COVID exposures on bus routes and flights here.

The updated potential COVID exposure advisory map is below; you can zoom in and click on the coronavirus icons to get information about each site.

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Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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1 Comment

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  1. I’m not sure how much electoral gain Premier Rankin gets from sitting beside Dr. Strang in news announcements. The visual message appears to be “I’m following medical advice”, but he often seems to take disdainful glances – almost scowls – at Strang. It’s almost like he’s saying “Don’t blame me – blame him! He wanted lock downs, not me”.

    That said, I’m glad Rankin is following reliable public health advice.