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163 new cases and 1 death Saturday, May 8 

Nova Scotia climbs to 1,539 active cases COVID-19 as the lockdown gets tighter.

  For the second day in a row, a Nova Scotian has died from COVID-19. The province reported the death—a man in his 70s in the Central health zone—in Saturday's COVID update. This is Nova Scotia's 71st death from the disease. 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

New cases
163

New deaths
1

New recoveries
88

Active cases
1,539

Days in a row with cases
40

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic
3,754

Halifax’s lockdown
16 days

Nova Scotia’s lockdown
11 days

“Another family is suffering the loss of a loved one, and on behalf of all Nova Scotians, I want to offer my condolences,” premier Iain Rankin says in the update. “Our province is at a serious point in the pandemic. The actions of every single Nova Scotian are critical right now. Everyone has a role to play. So, let’s do it together. Let’s get this virus under control.”

In hopes of establishing that control, the province brought new measures into effect this morning at 8am, tightening the province-wide lockdown that was already pretty strict. These are the shopping restrictions that public health head Robert Strang announced yesterday with the line that launched a thousand memes, "Now is not the time to go to Costco for sandals." Nova Scotia's border locks down tighter starting Monday at 8am.

The province has 163 new COVID cases today. "There are 134 cases in Central Zone, 13 in Northern Zone, eight in Eastern Zone and eight in Western Zone," the update says, with two of the newly infected being long-term care workers. "One case in Central Zone involves a staff member of Melville Gardens, a residential care facility in Halifax. Another case is in Western Zone and involves a staff member at Harbour View Haven, a nursing home in Lunenburg. As a precaution, residents living on the impacted units at both facilities are being isolated and cared for in their rooms. Staff and residents on the impacted units are being tested. Most residents have been fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine."

Today's count of 163 new cases is down from the 227 cases reported yesterday; before this drop, for five days in a row the number of new cases just kept climbing. The number of people in hospital also fell, from 50 hospitalizations yesterday to 49 today, as did the number of those in intensive care, from nine ICU patients to seven. And 88 infected people recovered since yesterday, Nova Scotia's second-best day for recoveries of the pandemic (there were 97 recoveries May 12, 2020). But the active caseload still went up today—as it has for the last 22 days in a row—to 1,539 active cases.

Vaccination numbers aren't reported on the weekend, which is in keeping with the slowdown in vaccinations that happens every weekend. Testing numbers are reported, however: Nova Scotia labs dealt with 6,911 tests yesterday, down from recent days that approached 20,000 tests completed daily as the province got through a large backlog. Now there's a data-entry backlog, as the province reported early this week, but today's C19 update describes a new provincial plan to get around the backlog when it comes to alerting people who test positive.

"Public health continues to work through the backlog of positive cases that need to be contacted and entered into Panorma, the data system," the province says. "To allow for timely notification, public health is contacting confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts by text message when possible. Nova Scotia Health has created a team that is immediately calling all positive cases to advise they are positive and determine whether they need supports. Public health will continue to do detailed follow up on cases and contacts as soon as they are able."

Here's hoping the new contact team is speedy, and that people who are awaiting test results are self-isolating. Otherwise this backlog could lead to another infection boom.

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