Health officials in Nova Scotia identified one new case of COVID-19 on Monday. One previously reported case is now considered recovered, as eight active cases remain in the province.

Monday’s new case was identified in Central Zone and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. The person is self-isolating, as required.

"Because of Nova Scotians' hard work and sacrifice to keep the virus contained, today we are able to ease some restrictions," said Premier Stephen McNeil in a news release. "I ask everyone to respect the new rules and continue following all of the public health practices that have got us to where we are today."

"Just because we are easing restrictions does not mean we can start to be complacent," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "We know how easily the virus can spread, so we must continue to follow all of the public health measures - wear a mask, limit social contacts, practise social distancing, adhere to the gathering limit, stay home if you feel unwell and wash your hands."

RESTRICTIONS EASING

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

“We have been seeing a low number of new cases daily, and that allows us to ease some restrictions, while keeping public health measures like wearing masks and distancing in place,” said McNeil, in a press release issued on Friday. “I thank Nova Scotians for their patience and their vigilance in following public health guidelines.”

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

“As we start to be more social again with events, it’s important for Nova Scotians to continue all the layers of protection – wash hands, wear masks, practise physical distance, stay home when you’re sick, and get tested,” said chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang, in a press release issued on Friday. “In addition, everyone should make asymptomatic testing part of their regular routine to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially people with a lot of contacts.”

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

“This is a test for all of us,” said McNeil. “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.”

While the province is easing some restrictions, some say they believe more can be done.

"It would be good if we began to test at point of entry, so that we can further loosen some of those restrictions," said Patrick Sullivan, the president and CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. "Point of entry means the airport or it means the land borders to ensure that we have a safe environment inside Nova Scotia and we're kind of keeping that wall up."

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.

According to Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Lisa Barrett, up to 30 per cent of people can have COVID-19 without knowing, adding to the importance of continuing asymptomatic testing.

"I know this is not quite clear to people yet but when cases go to zero it does not mean stop testing," explained Barrett. "Because of the asymptomatic spread it means keep testing high and that will keep our cases low."

"I'm looking forward to keeping the test numbers stay above 1,500. That is where I want to see things while our cases are at zero or one and our active cases are in the single digits. That's going to keep us safe as we go forward."

COVID-19 tests can be booked through the provinces online self-assessment COVID-19 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.

POTENTIAL EXPOSURE ON FLIGHT

Anyone who was on the following flight in the specified rows and seats should visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ento 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.

  • Air Canada Flight 614 on Feb. 3
  • Travelling from Toronto (2:45 p.m.) to Halifax (5:24 p.m.).
  • Passengers in rows 27-33 seats A, B, C and D 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.

All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms 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 Monday, 18,219 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far, with 5,134 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.

“Although we didn’t receive any vaccine last week, we are scheduled to receive 1,950 doses of Pfizer and 4,000 doses of Moderna later this week,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “As we have with previous shipments, we will administer half as first doses and save half for second doses.”

N.S. CASE DATA

The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 953 tests on Sunday.

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 170,937 tests. There have been 497 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. Cases have ranged in age from under 10 to over 70. Four-hundred-and-eighty-nine cases are now resolved.

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

Since the pandemic began, Nova Scotia has completed 294,115 tests. Cumulatively, there have been 1,586 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,513 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-five per cent of cases are female, and 45 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: 1,286 cases (6 active cases)
  • Northern Zone: 127 cases (no active cases)
  • Eastern Zone: 79 cases (1 active case)

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

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