Street art in Crichton Park in Dartmouth. Photo: Facebook

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Jump to sections in this article:
Overview
Vaccination
Demographics
Testing
Schools
Potential exposure advisories

Nova Scotia announced 91 new cases of COVID-19 today (Monday, May 17).

Of today’s cases, 66 are in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone, 17 are in the Eastern Zone, five are in the Northern Zone, and three are in the Western Zone.

One of today’s new cases, two are additional patients who were in the non-COVID unit at the Halifax Infirmary who have tested positive (and subsequently moved to a COVID unit). There is a total of 12 patients and four staff members associated with that outbreak.

I had the following exchange today with Dr. Brendan Carr, the CEO of Nova Scotia Health, who joined today’s COVID briefing via Zoom:

Bousquet: Dr. Carr, on the Infirmary, do you have any understanding of what the ventilation system is there, and how is it that staff are getting infected — were they not offered full vaccination long ago?

Carr: The ventilation question really depends upon where you are in the Infirmary. There are two or three different forms of ventilation — there’s positive pressure and negative pressure, and and so we have a number of different formats depending for where we are. Generally speaking, the acute care units are regular ventilation. And there is less isolation there. Now, that being said, if you look at the kind of the physical changes that we’ve made to our units since the start of the pandemic in many of our units, we’ve actually created barriers — not so much changing the ventilation, but creating physical barriers between spaces — so that we could limit spread. And in terms of our staff, all of our staff have been offered vaccination and will continue to be a priority for the province. And I would just reiterate Dr. Strang’s point, which is the most important thing that we can do as a province is get everybody vaccinated with at least one injection as soon as possible and then follow it up with all of our other priority areas to get a second vaccine — just the path that we’re on. And so we are very much in support of that.

There are now 1,434 known active cases in the province; 95 people are now in hospital with the disease, and 21 of those are in ICU; 187 more people are considered recovered today.

Because the numbers are so large, Public Health is no longer able to provide the cause of cases (i.e., travel related, close contacts, etc.) by the time the release comes out.

Here are the daily new case numbers and the seven-day rolling averages (today at 114) for the current outbreak, dating from March 28, the last day Nova Scotia had zero new daily cases:

Here’s the graph of daily new case numbers from the start of the pandemic in March 2020:

Here is the active caseload for the current outbreak:

And here is the active caseload from the start of the pandemic in March 2020, showing the primary associations of each of the major outbreaks:


Vaccination

Vaccinations continue to drop over the weekends, with an average of just over 5,000 for each of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

On the positive side, the province expects that 72,000 doses of vaccine will be administered this week alone. This morning, the province opened up the vaccination appointment booking site to all people who are 30 years old and over; you can book an appointment here. And at today’s briefing, it was announced that by the end of this week everyone over 20 will be able to book an appointment, while by the end of the month everyone 12 and over will be able to do so, with all first doses administered by the end of June.

As of end of day yesterday, a total of 430,856 doses of vaccine have been administered, and 39,235 of those were second doses. This pie chart shows the percentage of the total population that has received one or two doses:


Demographics

Here is how today’s 86 new cases break down by age cohort:
• 17 aged 19 or younger (6 girls or women, 11 boys or men)
• 52 aged 20-39 (16 women, 26 men)
• 17 aged 40-59 (5 women, 12 men)
• 4 aged 60-79 (3 women, 1 man)
• 1 aged 80 or over (a woman)

This graph shows the daily number of new cases by age cohort since April 17:

This graph shows the percentage of daily positive cases by age cohort, since April 17:

The active cases are distributed as follows:

• 433 in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 377 in the Dartmouth/Southeastern Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 147 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 32 in the Eastern Shore/Musquodoboit Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 8 in the West Hants Community Health Network in the Central Zone
• 119 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 9 in the Inverness, Victoria & Richmond Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 1 in the Antigonish & Guysborough Community Health Network in the Eastern Zone
• 36 in the Colchester/East Hants Community Health Network in the Northern Zone
• 9 in the Pictou Community Health Network in the Northern Zone
• 12 in the Cumberland Community Health Network in the Northern Zone
• 48 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network in the Western Zone
• 23 in the Lunenburg & Queens Community Health Network in the Western Zone
• 3 in the Yarmouth, Shelburne & Digby Community Health Network in the Western Zone

Note: 177 cases are not assigned to a Community Health Network, but they are in the Central Zone.


Testing

Volunteers at one of the pop-up testing sites. Photo: Lisa Barrett

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 7,536 PCR tests yesterday. This figure does not include the antigen tests taken at the various pop-up testing sites.

You do not need a health card to get tested.

In response to increasing numbers of new cases of unknown origin in the Sydney and Bridgewater areas and in the Annapolis Valley, Public Health has increased testing at a number of sites, including the Acadia Festival Theatre in Wolfville; the Berwick Fire Hall; 210 Aberdeen Road, Bridgewater; the Membertou Entertainment Centre; Centre 200 in Sydney; and the Grand Lake Road primary assessment centre. Go here for details.

Said Strang at the briefing today:

On Friday, I talked about communities with clusters of cases — the Sydney area, the Bridgewater area, and the Annapolis Valley from from New Minas to Kentville. There are pop-up sites in Kingston and New Minas this week and plenty of room at local primary assessment centers as well. So if you live in these communities, we need you to get tested. Please go to a pop-up or book an asymptomatic test at a primary assessment centre … Our greatest concern is in the Sydney area. We’re seeing some concerning trends. But I’m also hearing today that we have lots of capacity and we have we are less than optimal uptake of testing in that Sydney area. So, especially if you live in the Sydney area, we need you to go out and get tested whether you have symptoms or not, and we have lots of capacity for you.

Also, in response to low-risk potential exposure advisories in the Parrsboro area, there will be testing at the South Cumberland Community Care Centre on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9:30am-3:30pm, but by appointment only.

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:

Monday
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Central Spryfield Elementary School, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
John Martin School (Dartmouth), noon-7pm
Credit Union Centre (Kingston), noon-7pm

Tuesday
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Central Spryfield Elementary School, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
John Martin School (Dartmouth), noon-7pm
Credit Union Centre (Kingston), noon-7pm

Wednesday
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Central Spryfield Elementary School, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
John Martin School (Dartmouth), noon-7pm
New Minas Fire Hall, noon-7pm

Thursday
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Central Spryfield Elementary School, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
John Martin School (Dartmouth), noon-7pm
New Minas Fire Hall, noon-7pm

Friday
Central Spryfield Elementary School, noon-7pm
John Martin School (Dartmouth), noon-7pm

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

Public Health Mobile Units are available only for pre-booked appointments for PCR tests for people of all ages (results within three days). There are currently no mobile units scheduled.

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 listed below in each of the health zones (appointments may not be available at each site).

Also, as Strang alluded to, asymptomatic testing has been restored at the primary assessment sites listed below.

Central Zone
Bayers Lake (41 Washmill Lake Drive)
Burnside/Dartmouth Crossing (77 Finnian Row)
Canada Games Centre
Dartmouth General Hospital Drive-Thru (No Taxis)
Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital
Mayflower Curling Club
Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital
Saint Mary’s University (Homburg Centre)
Twin Oaks Memorial Hospital (Musquodoboit Harbour)
Zatzman Sportsplex

Northern Zone
Lloyd E. Matheson Centre (Elmsdale)
Colchester Legion Stadium (14 Lorne Street, Truro)
Truro (625 Abenaki Road, with drive-thru at 600 Abenaki Road)
Truro Farmers Market Drive-Thru testing
Amherst (34 Prince Arthur Street) — moving to Amherst Stadium on Monday
Pictou County Assessment Center (678 East River Rd, New Glasgow)

Eastern Zone
Antigonish Market Square
Buchanan Memorial Community Health Centre (Neils Harbour)
Eastern Memorial Hospital (Canso)
Grand Lake Road Fire Hall (Sydney)
Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital
Membertou Entertainment Centre
Northside General Hospital (North Sydney)
Sacred Heart Community Health Centre (Cheticamp)
Strait Richmond Hospital (Evanston)
Victoria County Memorial Hosptial (Baddeck)

Western Zone
Acadia Festival Theatre
Acadia University Club
Berwick Firehall
Digby Station (7 Birch Street)
Liverpool PAC (157 School Street)
Roseway Hospital (Shelburne)
South Shore Assessment Centre (215 Dominion Road, Bridgewater)
Yarmouth Mariners Centre
Yarmouth Visitor Information Centre (228 Main Street)


Schools

The current status of schools:

All schools in the province are closed through May 31.


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.

Potential COVID exposure advisories were issued last night for 11 sites, two bus routes, and one flight:

If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 you do not need to self-isolate while you wait for your test result. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you are required to self-isolate while you wait for your test result, as are the other members of your household.

• Shoppers Drug Mart Cole Harbour (4 Forest Hills Parkway, Dartmouth) on May 10 between 3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 24.

• Sobeys Cole Harbour (2 Forest Hills Parkway, Dartmouth) on May 10 between 3:30 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 24.

• Shoppers Drug Mart Tacoma (80 Tacoma Drive, Dartmouth) on May 14 between 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 28.

• Kent Building Supplies Dartmouth Crossing (680 Cutler Avenue, Dartmouth) on:
o May 15 between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
o May 16 between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named dates may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 30.

• Lawtons Drugs Sackville (665 Sackville Drive) on May 11 between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 25.

• Costco Halifax (230 Chain Lake Drive, Halifax) on:
o May 13 between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
o May 14 between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 28.

• Lawtons Drugs Kentville (363 Main Street, Kentville) on May 12 between 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including May 26.

• Pharmasave Membertou (200 Churchill Drive, Membertou) on:
o May 11 between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
o May 13 between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including May 27.

• Walmart Sydney River (65 Keltic Drive, Sydney River) on May 7 between 3:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including May 21.

• Needs Convenience/Tony’s Bakery/Joany’s Pizza (1429 George Street, Sydney) on:
o May 7 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
o May 9 between 3:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. (May 10)
It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including May 24.

• Snow White Laundry & Dry Cleaning (58 Terrace Street, Sydney) on:
o May 12 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
o May 13 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including May 27.

Regardless of whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms, any passengers who were on the following transit routes for at least 15 minutes on the named dates and times are required to self-isolate while waiting for their test result. If you get a negative result, you do not need to keep self-isolating. If you get a positive result, you will be contacted by Public Health about what to do next.

• Halifax Transit Route 7 (Robie), which runs from North Ridge to Novalea Drive (Samuel Prince Manor), on May 13 between 9:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 27.

• Halifax Transit Route 7 (Robie), which runs from Novalea Drive (Samuel Prince Manor) to North Ridge, on May 13 between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 27.

Anyone who was on the following flights in the specified rows and seats should visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you. All other passengers on these flights should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

• Air Canada 618 travelling on May 12 from Toronto (9:05 p.m.) to Halifax (11:45 p.m.). Passengers in rows 22-28, seats C, D, E and F are asked to immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, May 26.

I’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

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

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