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Health officials in Nova Scotia identified no new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. One previously reported case is now considered recovered, dropping the total number of active cases in the province to seven.

Following an announcement on Friday in which the province announced many easing restrictions – coming into effect on Monday – Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil reminded residents to stay safe.

“I am so proud of Nova Scotians for the work they’ve done to contain the virus and keep our case numbers low,” said McNeil in a release issued on Saturday. “I want to remind everyone that provincial restrictions aren’t changing until Monday, so let’s keep the current measures in mind and have a safe weekend.”

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang also asked to Nova Scotians to stay on guard.

“I am pleased to see our new case numbers remain low to no new cases,” said Dr. Strang. “This is a direct result of the commitment Nova Scotians have to keeping our communities safe. I encourage everyone to remain vigilant so we can continue to see these low cases of COVID-19 in our province.”

EASED RESTRICTIONS COMING MONDAY

On Friday, the province announced the easing of many public health restrictions, which will come into effect on Monday until at least March 7.

Effective Monday at 12 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. March 7:

  • retail businesses can operate at 75 per cent capacity
  • fitness facilities can operate at 75 per cent capacity and must maintain three metres between people during high-intensity activities both indoors and outdoors
  • recognized businesses and organizations can resume hosting events with 150 people outdoors, or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity to a maximum of 100 indoors
  • these events must stop any food or alcohol service by 10 p.m. and end by 11 p.m.
  • these events include social events, arts and culture events, sport and recreation events, special events, festivals, faith gatherings, weddings with receptions, and funerals with visitation and receptions
  • these events include bingo, darts and other similar activities hosted by licensed and unlicensed establishments
  • these gathering limits also apply to meetings and training hosted by private businesses or organizations, provincial and municipal government, first responder organizations, mental health and addictions support groups, and organized clubs
  • organized clubs can host activities for all ages and follow the day camp guidelines to have cohorts of up to 15 within the larger indoor or outdoor gathering limit
  • spectators are allowed at events, including sports games and practices and arts and culture rehearsals and performances, except when they are held at schools
  • large facilities that already have approved plans can resume hosting events with multiple groups of 100 that are kept separate with their own entrances and exits and their own washrooms
  • Centre 200 in Sydney and Scotiabank Centre in Halifax can have multiple groups of 150

On Friday, McNeil added the restrictions can be reinstated at any moment depending on the outcome.

“This is a test for all of us,” said McNeil on Friday in a press release. “We're keeping our cases down, but the moment that we see a shift or a surge and change in the number of cases, we will not hesitate to bring back restrictions. It really is up to all of us.”

GATHERING LIMITS

In a release issued on Friday, the province also noted the general gathering limit remains at 10 people. This limit applies to household and informal gatherings and events that are not hosted by a recognized business or organization.

There is no change to hours for restaurants and licensed establishments. These businesses must stop service at 10 p.m. and close at 11 p.m. There will be no exceptions to close later when there are special sports events, such as the Super Bowl. The province notes the hours also apply to all types of gatherings hosted by recognized businesses and organizations as appropriate.

Sports teams and individual competitors are still restricted to playing and competing with other teams and people with whom they routinely play or compete.

N.S. CASE DATA

The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 1,353 tests on Friday.

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 169,108 tests. There have been 495 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. Cases have ranged in age from under 10 to over 70. Four-hundred-and-eighty-eight cases are now resolved.

There is currently one person in hospital due to COVID-19, this person is in the intensive care unit.

Since the pandemic began, Nova Scotia has completed 292,286 tests. Cumulatively, there have been 1,584 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,512 cases considered recovered.

The province has reported 65 COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began, with an average age of 80.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the province’s confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.

Fifty-eight per cent of cases are female, and 42 per cent are male.

There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the Central Zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.

The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.

  • Western Zone: 94 cases (1 active case)
  • Central Zone: 1,284 cases (5 active cases)
  • Northern Zone: 127 cases (0 active cases)
  • Eastern Zone: 79 cases (1 active case)

STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED

The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to Feb. 21, 2021.

EXPOSURE NOTIFICATION

On Saturday, Nova Scotia Health issued a release advising of a potential exposure to COVID-19 at a location in the Western Zone.

Out of an abundance of caution, and given current testing capacity available, anyone who visited or worked at the following location on the specified date and time should immediately take an online self-assessment COVID-19 test to arrange for testing, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms:

  • Walmart New Minas (9097 Commercial St, New Minas)
  • Feb. 3 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Feb. 17

VACCINE UPDATE

Nova Scotia's COVID-19 online dashboard now provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.

As of Friday, 17,295 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far, with 4,681 Nova Scotians having received a second dose.

Of the vaccines administered, 10,251 were health care workers, and 1,687 were long-term care residents.

NOVA SCOTIANS ENCOURAGED TO SEEK ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING

Public health is strongly encouraging Nova Scotians to seek asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, particularly if they have attended several social interactions, even with their own social circle.

COVID-19 tests can be booked through the province's online self-assessment tool, or by calling 811.

People can also visit one of Nova Scotia’s many rapid pop-up testing sites that continue to operate throughout the province.

COVID ALERT APP

Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is available in Nova Scotia.

The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

LIST OF SYMPTOMS

Anyone who experiences a fever or new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following new or worsening symptoms, is encouraged to take an online test or call 811 to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion