Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang at the COVID briefing, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

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

“The increased case numbers we are seeing are from several clusters of cases, primarily in the Northern and Western zones related to several faith groups that participated recently in a single multi-day event,” explained Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang at today’s COVID briefing.

“And we are now seeing further spread within each of these faith group communities. The majority of the cases involved people who have remained unvaccinated. Fortunately, at this time, there is no indication of spread beyond these communities.”

I’m aware that there is a cluster of new cases in the Mennonite community in Waterville.

“There is also a cluster of cases in Central Zone related to a separate faith community that involves mostly children who are not yet able to be vaccinated,” said Strang.

Over the past week or so there have been multiple potential COVID exposure advisories issued for the Islamic Centre in Bedford.

Strang issued a message directly to faith communities:

Anything except a regular service so that Sunday church service, Saturday at the synagogue, Friday at the mosque, anything other than that requires participants to show proof of vaccination.

This includes things like Bible studies, retreats, youth groups. Any other activities outside the regular weekly service does require proof of vaccination.

And also, while in those services that that do not require a proof of vaccination, it’s important to remember that masks need to be worn at all times by the congregation.

I asked Strang why proof of vaccination isn’t required for the weekly services. He responded:

This is a specific circumstance of a group of faith communities at a multi-day event. We are not seeing weekly services where people attending and [outbreaks are happening]; we deem them to be essential. And I firmly believe that for people who are of faith that attending their weekly service is critically important to them as we’ve deemed them to be essential. Therefore, they don’t require proof of vaccination, and we’re not seeing those weekly services popping up as sources of transmission. This is a different set of circumstances that is happening.

Strang said the various religious communities are cooperating with Public Health.

Otherwise, the province announced 40 new cases today.

By Nova Scotia Health zone, the new cases break down as:
• 21 Central
• 11 Western
• 8 Northern

There are now 220 known active cases in the province. Nine people are in hospital with the disease, one of whom is in ICU. Thirty-one people are considered newly recovered, which means they are no longer contagious and not necessarily that they aren’t sick.

The graph above shows the weekly (Sat-Fri) number of new cases for the duration of the pandemic. This week sees an uptick (to 147) after three weeks of decline.

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


Vaccination

Yesterday, 2,151 doses of vaccine were administered — 501 first doses, 1,199 second doses, and 451 third doses.

By end of day yesterday, 83.4% of the entire population (including young children) have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 78.9% have received at least two doses.

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

From Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, there were 184 newly reported cases:
• 47 were fully vaccinated, a rate of 6.2 per 100K fully vaccinated
• 12 were were partially vaccinated, a rate of 23.6 per 100K partially vaccinated
• 125 were unvaccinated, a rate of 74.8 per 100K unvaccinated

Over the same period, two people were newly hospitalized and one person died; all three were fully vaccinated. Still, as the graph above illustrates, the rate of fully vaccinated people being hospitalized is very low.

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


Demographics

By age cohort, today’s new cases break down as:
• 9 are aged 0-11
• 3 are aged 12-19
• 5 are aged 20-39
• 8 are aged 40-59
• 1 is aged 60-79
• 0 are aged 80 or older

The active cases across the province are distributed as follows:

Central Zone
• 56 in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network
• 7 in the Dartmouth/Southeastern Community Health Network
• 31 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network
• 0 in the Eastern Shore/Musquodoboit Community Health Network
• 0 in the West Hants Community Health Network
• 13 not assigned to a Community Health Network
Total: 107

Eastern Zone
• 17 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network
• 0 in the Inverness, Victoria & Richmond Community Health Network
• 0 in the Antigonish & Guysborough Community Health Network
Total: 17

Northern Zone
• 1 in the Colchester/East Hants Community Health Network
• 2 in the Pictou Community Health Network
• 40 in the Cumberland Community Health Network
Total: 43

Western Zone
• 25 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network
• 13 in the Lunenburg & Queens Community Health Network
• 15 in the Yarmouth, Shelburne & Digby Community Health Network
Total: 53


Testing

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 2,485 PCR tests yesterday. This does not include the antigen tests administered at the pop-up testing sites.

There were 26,046 rapid tests administered between October 22 and 28 — 1.725 tests at the pop-up sites in Halifax and Dartmouth; 24,321 through the workplace screening program; and 13,525 home rapid tests given away at the pop-up 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:

Saturday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
Maggies Place (Family Resource Centre, Amherst), noon-6pm

Sunday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Maggies Place (Family Resource Centre, Amherst), noon-6pm

Monday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm

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

Nova Scotia Health issued one potential COVID exposure advisory yesterday, and two new school exposures were announced today.

We’ve collected all the active advisories for potential COVID exposures on bus routes and flights here. I’ll be adding schools to the map tonight.

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

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

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  1. It’s amazing to me how people who, ten years ago, might have had an adversarial relationship with government and big pharma, have learned to love the taste of boot leather so quickly in the Covid era.