COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Thursday, Sep 16

Information including charts, new infections and our daily map of community COVID-19.

NOTE: This day is now over. Click for the latest on COVID-19 from The Coast. Or for an informative look back at Nova Scotia's evolving pandemic response, keep on reading.

34 new cases, half of them in Truro/Colchester

Nova Scotia's rollercoaster ride continues. After just six new cases yesterday, the province is reporting 34 new COVID infections today. Along with those new cases come 20 people recovering from the disease, so after a downturn yesterday, the caseload increased to 173 active cases. (To get a sense of that rollercoaster in action, check the graph of new and active cases lower down this page. All it's missing is some loops.)

The province's daily disease update says the 34 infections are mostly in the Northern health zone, with 26 new cases, followed by seven in Central and one in Eastern. Five of the cases in Central are under investigation as possible community spread, while all the others are connected to travel or previous patients. "There is a large cluster of linked cases in a defined, unvaccinated group in Northern Zone, and more cases are expected," the report adds. "There are signs of community spread among those in Central Zone aged 20 to 40 who are unvaccinated and participating in social activities."

The Coast continues to analyze provincial data every day in order to let you know where, more specifically, COVID activity is happening. Our popular map and table, available below, break the province down by its 14 community health networks, rather than just the four huge health zones. (Eastern zone lumps Cape Breton and a big chunk of the mainland together, for example, while our table shows what's happening in Inverness/Victoria/Richmond separately from Cape Breton's other community network, Sydney/Glace Bay, and the mainland Antigonish/Guysborough network is a third entity of its own.)

Today, the Truro/Colchester network has 17 of the 26 new cases in Northern zone, while Amherst/Cumberland has nine cases. Central zone's Halifax network has five cases, Dartmouth and Bedford/Sackville each have one. Thursday's final new case is in Sydney/Glace Bay.

For the fourth day in a row, Nova Scotia has four COVID patients who are sick enough to be in hospital. Luckily none of them are so serious as to be in intensive care.

Testing bump, vaccination slump

On Tuesday, the day Doctor Strang and health minister Michelle Thompson announced that COVID's fourth-wave surge made it unsafe to loosen restrictions and enter Phase 5 reopening, there was also a surge in people getting COVID tests. That testing surge continued Wednesday—today's provincial report says 4,016 tests were completed Wednesday, which is six swabs more than Tuesday and also about 1,000 tests higher than the current daily average.

In vaccinations, Wednesday is ofter the day of the week when the most jabs are given. (We've heard unsubstantiated theories that the hump day bump happens because coupons flyers are timed to drive pharmacy traffic on Wednesdays.) The trend is holding true so far this week, but whatever COVID fear is driving people to get tested in droves is NOT triggering a comparable stampede of vaccinations.

Today's provincial data says 3,387 people got vaccinated yesterday in clinics around the province, which is slightly more than the 3,043 vaccinations Tuesday and 2,917 Monday. However, this Wednesday's 3,387 doses are well below the average of 4,477 vaccinations per day reported for the last six Wednesdays, dating to the beginning of August.

Those numbers are all the people getting vaccinated, both first dose and second. Focusing just on people getting the second dose, the data is even less impressive. Out of the 3,387 shots delivered into arms yesterday, 1,997 went to people getting their second dose. More than were injected on Monday and Tuesday (around 1,600 per day) to be sure, but the fewest second shots reported for a Wednesday since June 9, back when most vaccinations were going to people getting their first jab. And taking the last six Wednesdays before yesterday, the average was 3,625 second shots per day. That's approaching double yesterday's 1,997 second shots, sign of a hump day slump rather than a bump.

Our chart of the vaccination rate in Nova Scotia is below. According to the province's numbers, currently 73.08 percent of the province is fully vaxxed with two doses of vaccine. Premier Tim Houston says we cannot enter Phase 5 reopening until NS reaches 75 percent, which is a moot point right now, with any reopening put off until October 4 at the earliest. But it means the province still has some vaccination work to do before making the target.

Map of cases in community health networks

This infographic was created by The Coast using daily case data from Nova Scotia's official COVID-19 dashboard. Our goal is for this to be the best NS COVID map around, clearer and more informative than the province or any other media organization provides. To get there we do an analysis of the data to find each day's new and resolved case numbers in the 14 community health networks, information the province does not provide. For a different but still highly accessible approach to the latest COVID statistics, check out our case table. Note: On July 23, 2021, Nova Scotia announced that it will no longer update case numbers on weekends.

jump back to the top

Case table of the health networks

The Coast uses data logged from Nova Scotia's official COVID-19 dashboard in order to provide this tabulated breakdown. The province reports the number of active cases in each of Nova Scotia's 14 community health networks, but we do the math to be able to report the new and resolved case numbers. We also map the data to provide a different view of the case information. Note: Effective July 23, 2021, the province no longer updates case numbers on weekends.

jump back to the top

New and active cases visualized

Nova Scotia's third wave of COVID grew in April, 2021, peaked in May (227 new cases in one day was the maximum) and subsided in June. On July 17, the province reached five active cases—its lowest level in more than eight months—and an election was called. So when it came time to reset The Coast's chart comparing daily new cases with that day’s active caseload, in order to better reflect disease levels after the third wave, we started from July 17. Two months later, on September 14, the province formally announced the arrival of the fourth wave of COVID. The dark line tracks the rise and fall of new infections reported by the province; the green area is the province's caseload. Click or hover over any point on the graph and the detail for that moment will pop up. To focus on just new or active cases, click the legend at the top left of the graph to hide or reveal that data set. Note: As of July 23, 2021, the province stopped updating case numbers on weekends. And you can click here for the version of this graph that includes the third wave and its May 10 crest of 1,655 active cases.

jump back to the top

Vaccination in the population

How many Nova Scotians already have one dose of vaccine? How many are fully vaccinated with two doses? And how close are we to the herd immunity goal of 75 percent of the province fully vaxxed? These questions are answered in our chart of the vaccination rate in Nova Scotia since the province started reporting these numbers in January 2021, breaking out people who've had a single dose separate from those who've had the full complement of two doses. (Here's more information about the 75 percent target and what it will take to get there.) Note: The province doesn't update vaccination numbers on weekends.

jump back to the top

Canadian cases in 2021

There was a point in July 2021, when the delta variant was causing an increase in COVID infections around the world, that Canada seemed safe from the fourth wave. By August, however, that point had passed, and case numbers around the country started to rise again. This graph charts the number of new infections every day in each province and territory, using the 7-day moving average to mitigate single-day anomalies (including a lack of weekend reporting in several jurisdictions including British Columbia and Nova Scotia). To focus on individual places, click the place names at the top of the chart to turn that data on or off.

jump back to the top

Click here for yesterday's COVID-19 news roundup, for September 15, 2021.