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Overview
Vaccination
Demographics
Testing
Potential exposure advisories

Nova Scotia has announced 54 new cases of COVID-19 today (Tuesday, May 25).

Of today’s cases, 35 are in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone, 15 are in the Eastern Zone, three are in the Northern Zone, and one is in the Western Zone.

There are now 846 known active cases in the province; 72 people are in hospital with the disease, 20 of whom are in ICU; 102 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 67) 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:

At today’s briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said that he expects that on Friday he’ll be able to lay out a plan for some lifting of restrictions in the coming weeks.


Vaccination

As of the end of the day yesterday, 510,054 doses of vaccine have been administered, 41,479 of which were second doses. About 48.3% of the entire population has received at least one dose (my calculation and the province’s calculation of 48.2% differ slightly because we rounded differently).

This morning, vaccination appointment booking was opened for all people 20 years old or older, and it will be opened for everyone over 12 by the end of the week; you 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.

The graph below shows the percentages vaccinated so far by age cohort. Ignore that 75% dotted line — that is an error. It should be an 85% line. (To reach 75% of the entire population vaccinated, the eligible ages must reach 85% vaccinated because those under 12 cannot be vaccinated.)

Officials stress that uptake is very high in all age groups, including younger people, for whom booking has only recently opened up. It was expected that almost everyone would book an appointment within two weeks, but in reality some number of people are making appointments four weeks or more after they are eligible, so even the percentages of those over 60 is now expected to grow.

While Moderna is having a spotty delivery schedule for vaccines, an increased rate of Pfizer deliveries is more than making up the difference. And on Friday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) issued a statement saying that mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are interchangeable for first and second doses.

This means two things. First, people who received a first dose of Moderna can get a second dose of Pfizer. Second, Nova Scotia’s entire vaccination timeline is sped up — most people will be able to move their second dose appointment up two to four weeks (if they want to; no one will be required to). And — this is new — the appointment for the second dose doesn’t have to be at the same vaccination clinic as the first.

So the big news: it’s expected that “population immunity” (75% of entire population getting two doses) will be achieved in early September rather than late October — almost seven weeks earlier than initially planned.

Two graphs illustrate the change. This first graph shows the plan before today. The blue bars show the original schedule for the first 200,000 second doses (105 days out from first dose), and the green bar out from there:

The second graph shows the revised plan — those 200,000 appointments (the blue bars) will be moved up considerably, and this has a cascading effect that moves up the latter appointments as well:

There are some caveats — it depends on the actual number of vaccine doses delivered and how many people reschedule their appointments.

But beginning in early June, groups of age cohorts will be notified by email or news release and invited to move their appointment up. The expectation is that, for example, someone who received their first dose on March 22 and has a second dose scheduled for July 5 could move that second appointment to June 20 (two weeks sooner). And, someone who received their first dose on April 26 and has a second dose scheduled for August 9 could move that second appointment to July 12 (four weeks sooner).


Demographics

Here is how today’s 54 new cases break down by age cohort:
• 12 aged 19 or younger (7 girls or women, 5 boys or men)
• 28 aged 20-39 (8 women, 20 men)
• 11 aged 40-59 (3 women, 8 men)
• 2 aged 60-79 (1 woman, 1 man)
• 1 aged 80 or over (a woman)

This graph shows the number of daily cases in each age cohort since April 17:

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

The active cases across the province are distributed as follows:

Central Zone
• 289 in the Halifax Peninsula/Chebucto Community Health Network
• 198 in the Dartmouth/Southeastern Community Health Network
• 97 in the Bedford/Sackville Community Health Network
• 22 in the Eastern Shore/Musquodoboit Community Health Network
• 3 in the West Hants Community Health Network
• 38  not assigned to a Community Health Network
Total: 647

Eastern Zone
• 123 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network
• 2 in the Inverness, Victoria & Richmond Community Health Network
• 3 in the Antigonish & Guysborough Community Health Network
Total: 128

Northern Zone
• 32 in the Colchester/East Hants Community Health Network
• 11 in the Pictou Community Health Network
• 10 in the Cumberland Community Health Network
Total: 50

Western Zone
• 10 in the Annapolis and Kings Community Health Network
• 8 in the Lunenburg & Queens Community Health Network
• 0 in the Yarmouth, Shelburne & Digby Community Health Network
Total: 18


Testing

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 4,464 PCR tests yesterday. This does not include the antigen tests conducted 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:

Tuesday
Alderney Gate Public Library, noon-7pm
Shannon Park School, noon-7pm
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Burton Ettinger School, noon-7pm
Sackville Sports Stadium, noon-7pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3-7pm

Wednesday
Shannon Park School, noon-7pm
Dartmouth South Academy, noon-7pm
Burton Ettinger School, noon-7pm
Rockingstone Heights School, noon-7pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3-7pm

Thursday
Dartmouth South Academy, noon-7pm
Burton Ettinger School, noon-7pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3-7pm

Friday
Dartmouth South Academy, noon-7pm
Burton Ettinger School, noon-7pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 3-7pm

Saturday 
Dartmouth South Academy, noon-7pm
Centre 200 (Sydney), 11am-4pm

Sunday 
Centre 200 (Sydney), 11am-4pm

You can volunteer to work at the pop-up testing sites here or 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).

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 for eight retail sites in HRM:

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.

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.

  • RedChillies Bazaar (936 Bedford Hwy, Unit 108, Bedford) on May 19 between 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 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 2.
  • Walmart (141 Damascus Road, Bedford) on May 21 between 3:30 p.m. and 5:00 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 4.
  • Atlantic Superstore (5178 St Margarets Bay Road, Upper Tantallon) on May 21 between 2:45 p.m. and 5:00 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 4.
  • Atlantic Superstore Garden Centre (5178 St Margarets Bay Road, Upper Tantallon) on:
    — May 21 between 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
    — May 22 between 8:00 a.m. and 9:15 a.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 5.
  • Costco (230 Chain Lake Drive, Halifax) on May 18 between 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.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 1.
  • Walmart (6990 Mumford Road, Halifax) on May 21 between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 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 4.
  • Atlantic Superstore (6139 Quinpool Road, Halifax) on May 22 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 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 5.
  • Walmart (90 Lamont Terrace, Dartmouth) on May 18 between 4:00 p.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 1.

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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3 Comments

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  1. While it is great to see that, e.g., 98.8% of 75-79 year olds got first shot, does anyone really believe that is possible?
    I my experience you simple don’t get 98% of any group of people doing anything together!

    I suspect something is happening like: the numerator includes all who got vaccinated (e.g.(including non-holder of NS health cards) and the denominator is NS Healthcard holders.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see soon that 102% got vaccinated!

  2. The article mentions the combination of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as being interchangeable. My first dose was AstraZeneca. I am confused about whether I should be considered immunized if I receive, say, Pfizer as a second dose. Do you have an idea about how that combination fits into the equation?

    1. I would expect that ultimately what matters is the extent of your humoral immunity. Although AZ and Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are different, they all aim to increase this so you can defend yourself from the virus. So far studies seem to support the view they can be (but don’t have to be) mixed – the second dose building upon immunity conferred by the first.