Nova Scotia reports seven new COVID-19 cases Sunday; 22 variant cases confirmed, including first Brazilian variant

Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting seven new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Two previously reported cases are now considered recovered, as the active number of cases increases to 49.

Four of Sunday's new cases were identified in the province's Central zone. Three of them are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, one is related to international travel, and one is a close contact of a previously reported case.

Three of the new cases were identified in the province's Eastern zone. One is related to international travel and the other is a close contact of a previously reported case.

One of the close contact cases in Central Zone is a second staff member at Glasgow Hall, a long-term care home in Dartmouth. This is the second staff member of Glasgow Hall to have tested positive in the past two days

N.S. Health says all residents of Glasgow Hall are being isolated and cared for in their rooms as a precaution, and the facility is closed to visitors and designated caregivers. All residents have been tested. Testing was completed Saturday for all staff who are close contacts of the two staff members who tested positive, and testing for all other staff will be completed on Sunday.

"With public health's support, we have been able to establish an on-site testing clinic at Glasgow Hall. So that's taking place this afternoon for our employees," said Lisa Snodgrass, Infection Prevention and Control Specialist for Shannex Inc., the company that owns and operates Glasgow Hall. 

The province says most residents of Glasgow Hall have been fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with work underway to support any remaining residents and staff who wish to get vaccinated.

"All the right steps are being taken to contain this outbreak for the safety of residents and staff at Glasgow Hall," said Premier Iain Rankin in a news release. "As we continue to fight this virus and variant strains, it's more important than ever that Nova Scotians remain vigilant, follow all public health measures, and get vaccinated as soon as it's their turn."

22 VARIANT CASES CONFIRMED INCLUDING FIRST BRAZILIAN VARIANT CASE

Unrelated to Sunday's new cases, Nova Scotia is reporting 22 new cases of COVID-19 variants.

Health officials say 19 of the variant cases are the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom. Two of the variant cases are the B.1.3.5.1 variant, first identified in South Africa. One of the cases is the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil. This is the first time a Brazilian variant case has been detected in the province.

"There has been a total of 63 cases of the U.K. variant, 12 cases of the South African variant, and one case of the Brazil variant identified in Nova Scotia." said health officials in a news release on Sunday.

"While more of our cases have been confirmed as variants, it is a good sign that these cases are mainly due to travel. We are detecting them through testing and containing them before they can spread widely within Nova Scotia," said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. "This is another reminder why it's important for people to not travel unless it's absolutely necessary."

CASE CONFIRMED INVOLVING HALIFAX AREA HEALTH CARE WORKER

Also on Sunday, a spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Health confirmed another health care worker in the Halifax area had recently tested positive for COVID-19.

In a brief interview Sunday, Wendy Walters said eight co-workers were also self isolating as a result of the positive finding.

Walters said public health officials were still investigating the case.

She would not discuss any other details, including where the health care worker is employed, citing privacy concerns.

"The challenge of this case is that it is one (case) and the employee is protected under their personal health information," said Walters.

TWO CASES AT SCHOOLS

Later Sunday evening, Nova Scotia reported two additional cases.

One is connected to South Woodside Elementary School in Dartmouth.

The second is connected to St. Joseph's-Alexander Mckay Elementary School in Halifax.

Both schools will remain closed until Thursday so that a deep cleaning can take place.

St. Joseph's - A. McKay & South Woodside schools are closed today – Monday, April 19, 2021. More details at: https://t.co/dAPoTrIK0u

— Halifax Regional Centre for Education (@HRCE_NS) April 19, 2021

N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA

The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,052 tests on Saturday. The province has completed 466,422 tests since the pandemic began.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,807 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,691 cases have recovered and 67 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.

There are currently two people in hospital due to COVID-19, with no one in the intensive care unit.

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: 126 cases (7 active cases)
  • Central Zone: 1,432 cases (26 active cases)
  • Northern Zone: 136 cases (no active cases)
  • Eastern Zone: 113 cases (16 active cases)

The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to May 2, 2021.

VACCINE UPDATE

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

As of Friday, 194,792 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 138,268 were first doses and 31,583 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.

As of Tuesday, the province has received a total of 264,700 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15, 2020, and anticipate a delivery of 55,310 doses this week.

NOVA SCOTIANS ENCOURAGED TO SEEK ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING

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

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.

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  

With files from the Canadian Press.