The ultra low temperature freezer to be used for storing the Pfizer vaccine. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

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The first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Nova Scotia next Tuesday, Dec. 15.

That delivery will be of just 1,950 doses; since each person vaccinated needs two doses, that will be enough for 975 people.

Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said that Pfizer has a requirement that this first batch cannot be transported far from the deep cold storage unit. For that reason, the very first people to be vaccinated in Nova Scotia will be health care workers most directly involved in the COVID-19 response in Central Zone.

But Strang said the province is expecting delivery of the vaccine every week after the first doses arrive next week. There will be a total of 150,000 doses received by the end of March.

Those doses will go to frontline health care workers and to residents of nursing homes, starting with those over 80 years old, then those over 75, and then over 70. Strang said as those people get vaccinated, the circle of vaccination will enlarge over the summer to include other health care workers and those highest at risk. He said it would be fall before everyone would be vaccinated.

I wanted to know if that Dec. 15-to-fall timeline was reflective of just the Pfizer vaccine, or might it be sped up if the two or three other vaccines in the regulatory pipeline are approved, but Premier Stephen McNeil abruptly and without explanation ended today’s press conference after only a few questions were asked, so I didn’t have the opportunity.

Today, seven new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia. Two cases are in the Western Zone and are close contacts of previously reported cases. Those two people are workers at the Eden Valley poultry processing plant. The plant is shutting down temporarily, and Strang said he expected the situation would be “under control.”

One case is in the Northern Zone and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

Four cases are in the Central Zone — two are close contacts of previously reported cases, one case is under investigation, and the fourth case is connected to Shannon Park Elementary School in Dartmouth.

The school is closed to students until Monday for contact tracing, testing, and deep cleaning.

There are now 79 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital with the disease.

Nova Scotia Health labs conducted 840 tests yesterday, which is a considerable decline from the high daily numbers of the last week or so. Hoping to more fully use the lab capacity, Strang announced that people outside HRM who are asymptomatic can arrange testing through the provincial website. Asymptomatic people in HRM can just show up at the testing centre established at the Dartmouth Sportsplex, without an appointment.

Here are the new daily cases and seven-day rolling average since the start of the second wave (Oct. 1):

And here is the active caseload for the second wave:

I’ve updated the possible exposure map to remove locations for which the advisories have expired:

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

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  1. French Immersion students at Shannon Park, taken there by bus. I assume the bus drivers,co-workers and families will all be tested.

    1. As in the other cases associated with schools in the HRM, all in close contact with the affected individual will be contacted and sent for testing. We have only seen isolated cases in our schools, so the process appears to be working.