Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang at the COVID briefing, Oct. 6, 2021.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang at the COVID briefing, Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

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

A woman in her 70s who lived in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone has died from COVID. She is the 98th Nova Scotian to die from the disease.

Meanwhile, at a news conference today, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said that despite rising numbers of cases in schools, there is no substantial risk to school children.

I know parents are worried about their children getting COVID, especially if they’re too young to get vaccinated,” said Strang. “And I understand that fortunately for most children, COVID 19 is a mild illness, even with the Delta variant. In addition, our vaccination rates for children 12 and over are very high.”

“Like everything with our COVID response, our approach to school cases is about balance. We need to balance the rare risk of severe illness in children with their overall well-being, which is impacted by not being in school. Our goal is to keep students learning in classrooms, if at all possible. It’s critical to their learning and their emotional, social, and psychological well-being. And this is especially true for elementary school ages where online learning is much harder and social interactions are so important. Will we get cases in schools? Absolutely, yes. If there is COVID in the community, it will also be in schools. But we are not at a point where we need to take extreme measures like closing schools.”

Right now, we have 32 schools with COVID cases,” continued Strang. “Eight of them involve spread to another person within the school. And in all these eight cases, there is secondary. This secondary transmission was within a single classroom and typically involves one or two other students. But there have been no schools where there has been a wide spread within the classroom or spread beyond a single classroom. In some schools, there are multiple cases, but no spread within the classroom and in these schools, as we know that COVID is being introduced through to a school in different ways, from multiple multiple points from the community, rather than being spread within the school or the classroom. So still, our experience throughout the pandemic, even right now in the fourth wave and what we’re seeing currently in schools, is that the spread of COVID in the community poses the greatest risk to schools, that there is limited spread of COVID within the school environment even when COVID is introduced into the school.

Premier Tim Houston backed Strang on that assertion:

I know people are concerned about cases in our schools, as as parents, as caregivers. It’s our responsibility to worry about our children. So I certainly I certainly appreciate the questions and understand that people are concerned about COVID. But here’s here’s the thing that I would leave people with: I don’t think Dr. Strang and his team have steered us wrong yet during this pandemic. So if if they tell me and if they tell Nova Scotians, it’s safe for their kids to be in school, I trust that advice and I’m asking Nova Scotians to trust it as well because I believe Dr. Strang and his team have earned that trust. Our goal is to keep students in school. Our goal is to keep students safe, keep Nova Scotians safe, and closing schools is is a last resort. But if it’s deemed necessary by public health, if public health recommends that it has to be done, of course schools will be closed. We all know and the experts will tell us that having kids in school, especially younger kids, is what is best for them socially and mentally. So the best thing we can do for all our kids in school is to keep the spread of COVID down in our communities overall.

Additionally, the province has announced 25 new cases of COVID-19 today, Wednesday, October 6.

By Nova Scotia Health zone, the new cases are:
• 20 Central Zone
• 1 Eastern Zone
• 2 Northern Zone
• 2 Western Zone

The Department of Health continues to note that “there are signs of community spread among those in Central Zone aged 20 to 40 who are unvaccinated and participating in social activities.”

There are now 254 known active cases in the province. Fifteen people are in hospital with the disease, five of whom are in ICU. Eighteen people are considered newly recovered, which means they are no longer contagious and not necessarily that they aren’t sick.


Vaccination

Yesterday, 3,781 doses of vaccine were administered — 2,098 second doses and 1,683 first doses.

By end of day yesterday, 81.2% of the entire population (including young children) have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 75.6% have received two doses.

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, the 25 new cases break down as:
• 7 are aged 0-11
• 0 are aged 12-19
• 10 are aged 20-39
• 3 are aged 40-59
• 3 are aged 60-79
• 2 are aged 80 or older

The active cases across the province are distributed as follows:

Central Zone
• 128 in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network
• 51 in the Dartmouth/Southeastern Community Health Network
• 19 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network
• 1 in the Eastern Shore/Musquodoboit Community Health Network
• 2 in the West Hants Community Health Network
• 8 not assigned to a Community Health Network
Total: 209

Eastern Zone
• 5 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: 5

Northern Zone
• 7 in the Colchester/East Hants Community Health Network
• 2 in the Pictou Community Health Network
• 3 in the Cumberland Community Health Network
Total: 12

Western Zone
• 7 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network
• 18 in the Lunenburg & Queens Community Health Network
• 3 in the Yarmouth, Shelburne & Digby Community Health Network
Total: 28


Testing

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 4,645 PCR tests yesterday. This does not include the antigen tests administered at the pop-up testing sites.

You do not need a health card to get tested.

There’s an obvious concern about the Clayton Park area, as there’s drop-in PCR testing at Clayton Park Junior High Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:30pm to 7:30pm both days.

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:

Wednesday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
Centennial Arena, 10am-5pm

Thursday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Centennial Arena, 11am-5pm

Friday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Centennial Arena, 11am-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

Nova Scotia Health issued several potential COVID exposure advisories last night.

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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