@therilesyouknow just after her vaccination

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Overview
Schools
Vaccination
Demographics
Testing
Potential exposure advisories

Nova Scotia has announced 17 new cases of COVID-19 today (Monday, May 31).

All of today’s cases are in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone. There is no longer considered to be community spread in Sydney, and the community spread in the Central Zone is now called “limited.”

There are now 448 known active cases in the province, which is lower than the peak of 466 active cases during the first wave of the pandemic.

Also, 40 people are in hospital with the disease, 16 of whom are in ICU; 74 more people are considered recovered today.

Here are the daily new case numbers and the seven-day rolling averages (today at 33.4) for the current outbreak, dating from March 28, the last day Nova Scotia had zero new daily cases:

Here is 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:


Schools

Premier Iain Rankin at the COVID briefing on May 31, 2021. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

Click here to see Nova Scotia’s reopening plan.

Halifax and Sydney schools will reopen to all students on Thursday, announced Premier Iain Rankin at today’s COVID briefing.

We told you last Friday we needed a couple more days to determine what’s going to happen with schools in the Sydney and HRM area,” said Rankin:

We needed to assess our case numbers and what we were seeing in those communities. In Sydney, as I said, we have no new cases. We were able to contain the spread of the virus and things in that community are looking very good. There are over 8,000 asymptomatic rapid tests that were conducted over the weekend in the Halifax area, and this is when we may have expected to see a spike in some of the COVID cases — a week after the May long weekend. But out of those 8,000 tests, only three came back positive. That means we have a 0.03% positivity in Central Zone. Add to that, we continue to see large uptake of our vaccination program, of all ages. With all of this information, public health has confirmed that our epidemiology clarifies that schools in Sydney and HRM are also safe to open this week. Students will go back on Thursday in those areas.

“We said from the beginning, since classes went back in September, that our schools are a safe place,” added Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang:

But they are safe when our communities are safe, and by and large, we’ve been able to keep our schools open. During this third wave, we had enough spread in communities that we had to close down schools for a period of time, but that situation has come under control faster than I even imagined. So we’re back to a place where our schools are safe. We have good protocols. But what makes them really safe is we have no indication of general community spread anywhere in the province. There’s some little bits of spread within HRM, but mostly in confined populations. So I’m very comfortable giving the recommendation to the premier. I want to assure students and teachers that I look at this very carefully and I am extremely comfortable to say that our our schools are safe right now as they have been through most of the past year. And I’m glad that we’re able to get students and teachers back into the school for June.

Just before today’s briefing, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union issued a statement calling for a “full and transparent review of school COVID-19 cases” during the third wave.

“We’ve looked at all the cases in schools,” Strang said in response:

We know that even during the third wave we had significant numbers of people, both teachers and students, who were attending school while they were infectious — almost all of them were exposed outside of the school setting. We had a very small number of classrooms where there was some secondary transmission within the classroom, and we had no schools where there were cases of COVID where we had wide outbreaks in the school. So even during the third wave, the majority of our cases did not result in any transmission in the school — we had a small number of classrooms where they did. So even during the third wave, we were able to maintain with our protocols a high level of safety within schools, and that was in the context of having wide community transmission. Now we’re back to a place where we really have little to no community transmission, even in HRM and none elsewhere. Our schools remain extremely safe.

Also today, Rankin announced that all travel restrictions within the province are lifted effective tomorrow.


Vaccination

Percentage of the entire population that has received one and two doses of vaccine.

As of end of day yesterday, 583,873 doses of vaccine have been administered, including 43,463 second doses; 55.7% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

At today’s briefing, Rankin said there are 58,000 vaccination appointments booked for this week and 75,000 booked for next week.

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

People in rural areas who need transportation to a vaccine clinic 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

Because new case counts have been so reduced, I’m now tracking the cases by age cohorts weekly, on Wednesdays.

The active cases across the province are distributed as follows:

Central Zone
• 166 in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network
• 76 in the Dartmouth/Southeastern Community Health Network
• 37 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network
• 7 in the Eastern Shore/Musquodoboit Community Health Network
• 1 in the West Hants Community Health Network
• 27 not assigned to a Community Health Network
Total: 314

Eastern Zone
• 90 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network
• 1 in the Inverness, Victoria & Richmond Community Health Network
• 3 in the Antigonish & Guysborough Community Health Network
Total: 94

Northern Zone
• 13 in the Colchester/East Hants Community Health Network
• 8 in the Pictou Community Health Network
• 8 in the Cumberland Community Health Network
Total: 29

Western Zone
• 6 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network
• 5 in the Lunenburg & Queens Community Health Network
• 0 in the Yarmouth, Shelburne & Digby Community Health Network
Total: 11


Testing

A woman gets swabbed at one of the rapid testing sites. Photo: Lisa Barrett

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 3,781 PCR tests yesterday. This does not include the antigen tests administered at the various pop-up testing 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:

Monday
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
Cole Harbour Place, noon-7pm
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Burton Ettinger School, noon-7pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3pm-7pm

Tuesday
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
Cole Harbour Place, noon-7pm
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Burton Ettinger School, noon-7pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3pm-7pm

Wednesday
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
Cole Harbour Place, noon-7pm
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, 2-9pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3pm-7pm

Thursday
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
Cole Harbour Place, noon-7pm
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, 2-9pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3pm-7pm

Friday
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
Cole Harbour Place, noon-7pm
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, 2-9pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3pm-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 listed below in each of the health zones (appointments may not be available at each site).

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
The Old School (Musquodoboit)
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)


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:

Anyone who worked at or visited the following locations on the specified dates and times should visit covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access, or if you have other symptoms that concern you.

For the following locations, 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.

  • Sobeys (1120 Queen Street, Halifax) on:
    • May 22 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
    • May 23 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
    • May 24 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 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 June 7.
  • Atlantic Superstore (6139 Quinpool Road, Halifax) on May 29 between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 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 June 12.

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, however, you are asked to get retested 6-8 days and 12-14 days after this exposure. If you get a positive result, you will be contacted by Public Health about what to do next.

  • Halifax Transit Route #22 (Armdale) which runs from Ragged Lake Transit Centre to Mumford Terminal, on
    • May 23 between 11:35 a.m. and 11:50 a.m.
    • May 24 between 11:35 a.m. and 11:50 a.m.
    • May 28 between 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.
    • It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, June 11.
  • Halifax Transit Route #14 (Leiblin Park) which runs from Mumford Terminal to Barrington & Duke (northbound), on May 23 between 11:50 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, June 6.
  • Halifax Transit Route #61 (Auburn/North Preston) which runs from Barrington & Duke (northbound) to Bridge Terminal, on May 23 between 12:35 p.m. and 12:50 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, June 6.
  • Halifax Transit Route #2 (Fairview) which runs from Mumford Terminal to Barrington & Duke (southbound) on May 24 between 11:50 a.m. and 12:20 p.m.It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, June 7.
  • Halifax Transit Route #21 (Timberlea) which runs from Lakelands & St Margarets Bay and Lacewood Terminal, on:
    • May 25 between 11:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
    • May 26 between 11:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
    • It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, June 9.
  • Halifax Transit Route #9B (Herring Cove) which runs from Mumford Terminal to Herring Cove & Fotherby, on May 26 between 2:30 p.m. and 2:50 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, June 9.
  • Halifax Transit Route #9A (Greystone/Fotherby) which runs from Herring Cove & Fotherby to Barrington & Duke (northbound), on:
    • May 26 between 2:00 p.m. and 2:20 p.m.
    • May 27 between 6:45 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
    • May 28 between 11:35 a.m. and 12:20 p.m.
    • It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, June 11.
  • Halifax Transit Route #10 (Dalhousie) which runs from Barrington & Duke (northbound) to Tacoma Centre, on:
    • May 27 between 6:45 a.m. and 7:20 a.m.
    • May 28 between 6:45 a.m. and 7:20 a.m.
    • It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, June 11.

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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  1. I assume pop-up testing at Burton Ettinger School will be cancelled effective Thursday when students return (if not before), but it would be good to clarify.