Nova Scotia's daily COVID-19 case count goes down for third straight day, 67 new cases announced Friday

For the third day in a row, Nova Scotia has seen its daily COVID-19 cases lower, with 67 new infections announced Friday.

According to a tweet from Nova Scotia Health and Wellness, 57 of Friday's cases are in the Central zone.

Three cases are in the Eastern zone, three are in the Northern zone, and four are being reported in the Western zone.

"Our case numbers are going in the right direction. Let’s not lose this momentum," wrote Premier Iain Rankin in a tweet Friday morning. "Together, Nova Scotia is stronger. Together, Nova Scotia, we can beat this."

Public health says one of the cases in the Central zone involves a staff member at Clarmar Residential Care Facility – a residential care home in Dartmouth, N.S. This is the second case involving a staff member at the facility - both of which were reported this week.

As announced Saturday, the province is no longer including an "exposure category" (travel, close contact, etc.), citing increased investigations.

The province says there is evidence of community spread in Nova Scotia’s Central zone.

Public Health says the province’s other zones, Eastern, Northern, and Western, are being monitored for signs of community spread.

Twenty-six of Nova Scotia's previously reported cases are now considered resolved, with total number of active infections increasing to 589.

OVER 70,000 COVID-19 TESTS COMPLETED IN 5-DAY SPAN

Nova Scotia Public Health says they are experiencing some delays processing lab results due to a large increase in individuals getting tested for COVID-19 in the last week. There is also a backlog in data entry.

In a tweet from Nova Scotia Health & Wellness on Thursday, it says the province has completed nearly 74,000 COVID-19 tests within a 5-day span – between April 25 and April 29. They say this number does not include rapid testing or drop-in testing samples.

Between April 25 and April 27, public health says almost 40,000 tests were completed, with 14,730 processed on April 27 alone.

"Please be reassured that these are in progress; it is simply taking longer than usual," wrote Health & Wellness in a tweet on Thursday.

According to health officials, public health has emailed 66,574 negative test results and made 3,500 live calls to communicate negative results in the past week.

Thank you to the @nshealth staff and all of the amazing work that goes on behind the scenes while so many Nova Scotians get tested for COVID-19.

Please be patient while awaiting your results. https://t.co/wYLYA5X0ZN

— Health & Wellness (@nshealth) April 29, 2021

N.S. CONTINUES WORK ON SUPPORT PACKAGE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

During a live news conference Friday, Rankin reiterated his concern for small business owners across the province. He says the province is still working on a package to help support small businesses during these difficult times.

"I can't imagine how hard it is to manage your business during these cycles of opening and closings and I know you are frustrated" said Rankin. "We had to shut down in order to keep everyone safe and slow the spread. Just know that I understand that your livelihoods are at stake. These restrictions are difficult in the short-term, but they will pay off in the long run."

In a letter directed to the premier of Nova Scotia, over 70 small business owners said they cannot "overemphasize the importance of a robust, immediate, and wide-reaching response to the many issues facing small business, days before rent and tax payments are due."

The business owners added they do not disagree with the province's lockdown due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, adding they completely support the measures taken.

"We cannot, however, underestimate the impact of this lockdown on small business, especially given how challenging this year has been for everyone," read the letter to the premier.

N.S. COVID-19 CASE DATA

As of April 26, Nova Scotia has completed 524,220 COVID-19 tests.

Due to technical difficulties, health officials say the total number of tests completed on Thursday are not available at this time.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 2,427 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,771 cases have recovered and 67 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.

There are currently 22 people in hospital due to COVID-19, five of which are in the intensive care unit.

"We are in a serious outbreak situation," said Strang, during a live news conference on Friday. "We are seeing the stresses on many parts of our healthcare systems, such as public health lab, and we're beginning to see impacts on our hospitals. We've seen a substantial increase in hospitalizations in the past few days and they expect that this concerning trend will continue."

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: 145 cases (16 active cases)
  • Central Zone: 1,963 cases (509 active cases)
  • Northern Zone: 155 cases (18 active case)
  • Eastern Zone: 161 cases (47 active cases)

The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to May 16, 2021.

CHANGES TO ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING STRATEGY 

In order to address the test result backlog, Nova Scotia is shifting their COVID-19 asymptomatic testing strategy.

In the interim, most Nova Scotians are encouraged to use pop-up testing sites instead of booking a COVID-19 lab test over the next few days.

Individuals under the following categories are still encouraged to book lab tests:

  • anyone with symptoms
  • anyone who has been notified that they are a close contact of a known case
  • anyone who has been at an exposure location
  • anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador

“This is a short-term issue, and we have a plan to clear up the backlog,” said Rankin. “Following the restrictions and public health measures are critical to protect you, your loved ones and the health system from being overwhelmed.”

Public health says anyone who does not meet the above criteria and has already booked an appointment should cancel it following the instructions provided in their confirmation email.

"Efforts are being made to increase rapid testing capacity around the province," wrote the province in a release on Friday.

Pop up testing locations being provided on Friday, include:

  • East Dartmouth Community Centre (50 Caledonia Road, Dartmouth) from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Centre 200 (481 George Street, Sydney) from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Halifax Convention Centre (Argyle Street entrance at 1650 Argyle Street, Halifax) from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Alderney Gate Public Library (60 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth) from noon to 7 p.m.
  • Cineplex Bridgewater (349 Lahave Street, Bridgewater) from noon to 7 p.m.

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 Tuesday, 312,493 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. According to the province, 25.6 per cent of the eligible population have received vaccines as of Thursday, with 3.6 per cent having received a second dose.

The province has received a total of 345,940 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15, 2020.

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