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click to enlarge Map of COVID-19 cases reported in Nova Scotia as of March 18, 2021. Legend here. THE COAST

Map of COVID-19 cases reported in Nova Scotia as of March 18, 2021. Legend here. THE COAST

A COVID-19 death is Nova Scotia’s first in 6+ months 

The province is also reporting 3 new C19 infections on Thursday, March 18.

The past few months of Covid have actually been pretty good in Nova Scotia. We've had some COVID-19 scares, but also got to relax. There have been cases in schools, but for the most part the school system has been open, a feat that's rare in North America. Lockdowns have come, lockdowns have gone. The ultimate reminder that we're facing a deadly pandemic is that people die, and through yesterday the province had gone 205 days—nearly seven months—without reporting a death. But that excellent streak ended today.

Nova Scotia's daily report to media says a women in her 80s has died in the Central health zone. According to our table at the bottom of this story that analyses provincial data, she lived in the Dartmouth community health network. The last death before this was another 80something, a man in the Northern zone, announced August 23.

"On behalf of all Nova Scotians, I extend my condolences to the family and loved ones of this individual," says Iain Rankin in today's report, performing this sombre duty for the first time in his nascent tenure as premier. "It's important that we continue to do everything we can to continue to slow the spread of the virus in our province."

Head public heath doctor Robert Strang has been at his post throughout the pandemic, which has now killed 66 Nova Scotians. "My thoughts are with this woman's family during this difficult time," he says.

Adding to the strain of this death, there are three new cases in the province today, all of them in the Central zone (split between the Halifax and Bedford community networks per our table). Luckily none of them are likely community transmission of the virus. "Two of the cases are close contacts of previously reported cases and the other case is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada," says the province. "The person is self-isolating, as required."

There is a glimmer of positivity in today's report: According to the latest vaccination numbers, yesterday continued the pattern of Wednesdays being the day of the week when the most vaccines are put into Nova Scotian arms. The province injected 2,824 doses yesterday, the most of any day since vaccinations started in December, the highest daily total of this week, and several times more than recent Mondays like March 8 (not quite 800 vaccines), March 1 (just over 600) and February 22 (a pathetic 445 jabs).

What is so special about Wednesdays, and can it be repeated on other days to help get this province vaccinated more quickly? We put this question to the province, and heard back from the Gary O’Toole, the NS Health Authority's senior director of population and public health,  described "our top dog on the vaccine front" by one of his colleagues at the authority.

"There is nothing special about Wednesday," O'Toole says in an email. "There is no intention around this, and I suspect as clinics continue to ramp up and as doses increase into the province, this will change."

We hope O'Toole is right, because it needs to change. The last two C19 deaths in the province are a harsh reminder that people 80 and up need protection from the worst of the disease, but the rollout is going so slowly that currently only members of that population who were born in January through August can register for a vaccine. If the vaccination program worked so smoothly that every day was like a Wednesday, people 80+ born in September, October, November and December wouldn't have to wait as long for their shot at a shot.

Where Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 cases are on Thursday, March 18

HEALTH ZONE & NETWORK NEW CASES CLOSED CASES ACTIVE CASES
Western zone totals 0 new 0 closed 7 active
Yarmouth - - -
Lunenburg - - -
Wolfville - - 7
Central zone totals 3 new 1 closed 10 active
West Hants - - -
Halifax 1 - 4
Dartmouth - 1 2
Bedford 2 - 4
Eastern Shore - - -
Northern zone totals 0 new 0 closed 0 active
Truro - - -
Amherst - - -
Pictou - - -
Eastern zone totals 0 new 0 closed 0 active
Antigonish - - -
Inverness - - -
Sydney - - -

TABLE NOTES The totals for the health zones (Northern, Eastern, Western, Central) may be different than the totals you'd get by adding up the numbers in the Community Health Networks that make up each zone, because the province doesn't track all cases at the community network level. The zone totals reflect every case in the area; the community network numbers only show cases that can be localized to a region inside the bigger area. The names of the community networks here have been adapted/shortened for simplicity (click to download the province's PDF map with the exhaustively complete network names). All data comes from the Nova Scotia COVID-19 data page. We use a dash (-) instead of a zero (0) where applicable in the health network numbers to make the table easier to read.

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