Jump to sections in this article:
Overview of today’s cases
Vaccination
Testing
Potential exposure advisories

Nova Scotia announced 618 new cases of COVID-19 today, Friday, Dec. 31. The new cases are people who received a positive PCR test result from a Nova Scotia Health lab; it does not include people who tested positive using a take-home rapid (antigen) test.

By Nova Scotia Health zone, the new cases break down as:
• 429 Central
• 64 Eastern
• 48 Northern
• 77 Western

The graph above shows the weekly (Sat-Fri) number of new cases for the duration of the pandemic.

Public Health reports outbreaks at the following hospitals: Halifax Infirmary, Dartmouth General, Victoria General site of the QEII, St. Martha’s Regional, and New Waterford Consolidated. There are fewer than 10 patients testing positive at each. Public Health says more information will be forthcoming.

Additionally, there is an outbreak at the Burnside jail; 31 prisoners and “several” staff have tested positive, but none have been hospitalized.

The Department of Health estimates that there are 5,117 active cases of COVID in the province. Given that this does not include people who tested positive at home, this figure surely is a substantial undercount.

There are now 34 people in hospital with the disease, four of whom are in ICU. Dr. Strang clarified yesterday that the hospitalization figure is for people who were admitted to hospital because of COVID — i.e, this does not include people who contracted COVID at the hospital or who were admitted for other reasons but tested positive for COVID on admission.

The graph below shows the number of people in hospital and in ICU on Fridays for the duration of the pandemic.


Vaccination

Yesterday, 5,982 doses of vaccine were administered:
• 813 first doses
• 308 second doses
• 4,861 third doses

In total, there have been 1,763,416 doses of vaccine administered, which break down as:
• 68,338 people with only the first dose
• 661,773 people with the second dose but not the third
• 133,044 people with three doses

By end of day yesterday, 88.8% of the entire population have received at least one dose of vaccine:
• 7.0% with one dose only
• 68.1% with two doses but not three
• 13.7% with three doses
• 11.2% are unvaccinated

The provincial COVID dashboard is showing that as of yesterday, just 32% of 5- to 11-year-olds have received their first shot of vaccine. Yesterday, in response to my question, Dr. Strang said that figure was 55%. I’m guessing (I don’t know) that he included those who had appointments for shots in that figure.

The graph above shows the vaccination progress as captured on Fridays through the pandemic. The yellow line is people with at least one dose of vaccine The blue line is people with only one dose. The green line is people with only two doses. The grey line is people with three doses. The red line is 80% of the population.

I’ve asked for the vaccination status of those hospitalized, but it is not yet being provided. I discussed this issue here.

Appointments for booster are now open to people 50 and over for whom 168 days have passed since their second shot.

Vaccination appointments for people 5 years of age and older can be booked here.

People in rural areas who need transportation to a vaccination appointment 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.


Testing

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 6,348 PCR tests yesterday, with a positivity rate of 9.7%.

The testing protocols have changed. Now, if you test positive with a rapid (antigen) test, you no longer will follow that up with a PCR test. Instead, you are assumed to definitely have COVID, and you and your household are to self-isolate as required.

But take-home rapid testing kits are no longer widely available. They’re not at libraries, and the rapid testing sites aren’t giving them away.

Pop-up testing has been scheduled for the following sites (take-home tests are also available at these sites):

Friday, Dec. 31
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-4pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
Chester Basin Volunteer Fire Department, 11am-3pm

Saturday, Jan. 1
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-3pm

Sunday, Jan. 2
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-4pm

Monday, Jan. 2
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Sackville Lions Club, 11am-3pm
Hubbards Area Lions Club, 11am-3pm

Tuesday, Jan. 3
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 4-6pm
Brooklyn Civic Centre, 11am-3pm
New Germany Legion, 11am-3pm

Wednesday, Jan. 4
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 11am-2pm
Bridgetown Volunteer Fire Department, 11am-3pm
Windsor Legion, 11am-3pm

Thursday, Jan. 5
Tatamagouche Legion, noon-4pm
Annapolis Royal Legion, 11am-3pm

Friday, Jan. 6
Chester Basin Fire Hall, 11am-3pm
Pictou Legion, 11am-3pm

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


Potential exposure advisories

School-connected case notifications have ended.

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

You can zoom in and click on the icons on the map below to get information about other sites.

* As originally published, this article misstated the number of cases tied to StFX.


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Tim Bousquet

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

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