Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday in the province's Northern Zone, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 16.
Four of the province’s active cases are under investigation -- including the latest case announced Tuesday -- which means health officials aren’t certain how they became infected.
“Several cases are still under investigation, in particular two groups of individuals where travel is a factor, but there are also a number of potential contacts within those two groups,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang during an update on Tuesday. “Public Health is working now to confirm the source of the initial infection.”
While officials work to determine the source of the latest cases of COVID-19, Strang says some people are in isolation, but wouldn’t say how many.
While some cases are still under investigation, Strang says there is no indication there is general community spread in Nova Scotia -- something that is being felt in other provinces.
“Until a few weeks ago, Manitoba was on the same track as Nova Scotia. They were reporting low or no cases consistently for months, but things can change in the blink of an eye,” he said. “Yesterday, Manitoba reported 241 new cases and five more deaths and they are now seeing wide community spread.”
OFFICIALS WARN AGAINST COMPLACENCY
With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise across the country and around the world, officials are reminding Nova Scotians not to become complacent.
“Just because our cases are still lower than most anywhere in the country does not give us the right to ease up on our protocols,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “COVID is lurking in every corner and the moment we let our guard down -- by not isolating long enough, by ignoring our symptoms or by not getting tested when we are sick -- COVID pounces and cases climb.”
“As the world becomes a bit more concerning around us, whether it’s other parts of Canada or internationally, it needs to be a strong reminder to Nova Scotians that we can’t relax,” said Strang. “The way we keep ourselves safe is by all of us following public health restrictions and recommendations.”
The Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 625 Nova Scotia tests on Monday.
To date, Nova Scotia has 113,202 negative tests.
There are 1,114 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, while 1,033 cases are considered resolved and 65 people have died, leaving 16 active cases in the province.
There is no one in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
The province's confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 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: 58 cases
- Central Zone: 927 cases
- Northern Zone: 74 cases
- Eastern Zone: 55 cases
Strang says public health has provided guidance for community groups that want to host ceremonies, which will be posted to the government’s website.
Those guidelines include:
- Making events by invitation only.
- Limiting numbers of invited guests, especially if veterans are attended.
- Consider hosting virtual events.
- Place wreathes before the ceremony to minimize movement and ensure physical distancing.
- Mass singing performances are not encouraged and any singers must be physically distanced.
“Next Wednesday is a very important day for all Canadians, a chance to recognize the people who fought and died for our freedom today. It’s a chance to remember that despite years of communities being very different, people remained together and committed, and to me that’s a very important lesson for this year as we’re living with COVID," said Strang.
Strang began Tuesday's news update by thanking Nova Scotians who safely celebrated Halloween, but did have a warning to some who weren't following the rules.
“Unfortunately I have heard of some large private gatherings on the weekend that police had to attend to, and I have to say that’s really disappointing, especially when the vast majority of people did what they need to do to keep Halloween safe, that not everybody was taking that same attitude,” said Strang.
That included nine residents of Wolfville, N.S., who were charged and fined after police responded to complaints of partying, noise and violations of the Liquor Control and Health Protection acts on Halloween night.
“I’ll be blunt, they’re putting all of us at risk. Stop being selfish. Follow the rules, they’re there for a reason," said Strang.
SCHOOL GYMS TO REOPEN
The province also announced Tuesday it will gradually reopen school gymnasiums to community groups that want to use them for activities.
Education Minister Zach Churchill said in a news release that the province will allocate $5.5 million in federal funding for the hiring of staff who will ensure access to the school buildings is limited to the designated areas.
Churchill added that access to the schools will be restricted to the gyms and to the washrooms.
STATE OF EMERGENCY RENEWED UNTIL MID-NOVEMBER
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Nov. 15, unless the government terminates or extends it before then.
COVID ALERT APP
Earlier in October, Nova Scotia Health announced that Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is now available in the province.
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
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose/nasal congestion
SELF-ISOLATION AND MANDATORY MASKS
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form before coming to the province.
However, the province has eased some self-isolation requirements for out-of-province rotational workers.
Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are not required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia, but they must be prepared to provide proof of their place of residency at provincial borders.
On Oct. 22, New Brunswick announced further restrictions related to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton-Restigouche region of northern New Brunswick. Nova Scotians are being advised to avoid unnecessary travel to that area.
Visitors from outside the Atlantic region who have already self-isolated in another Atlantic province for 14 days may travel to Nova Scotia without having to self-isolate again.
It is mandatory to wear a non-medical mask in most indoor public places in Nova Scotia.