COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Friday, Nov 12

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.



No vax tracker update today

Most Fridays, we update our animated race chart of Canada's vaccination progress with the latest numbers from the federal government. But today, the feds are not issuing new numbers. "Please note that the November 12 report will be published on November 15, 2021," says a notice at the Canadian government's COVID vaccination page. So our vax tracker will have to wait until Monday, too.

The government doesn't say what caused the delay, but we are guessing it's due to Thursday being Remembrance Day. The holiday is observed in various ways across the country, with some places allowing stores to be open, but government offices are pretty consistently closed in every jurisdiction.


You’ll never guess what happened with Nova Scotia’s state of emergency

Oh wait, you totally guessed. It's been extended for yet another two weeks, just like it has every couple weeks since it first came into effect on March 22, 2020.


Below-average new cases heading into the weekend

Friday, November 12, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 5 or so

New cases
70

New recoveries
69

New deaths
0

Active cases
277

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic
7,815

Total COVID deaths
102

Friday's provincial pandemic update arrives between yesterday's Remembrance Day holiday from new COVID numbers and the upcoming weekend break. It's like an oasis of data surrounded by a lack of information, except where an oasis is typically a place of refuge in the middle of an otherwise harsh landscape, today's disease news mars a few days of otherwise blissful ignorance.

In its written report, the province says there have been 70 new cases diagnosed over the last two days. At an average of 35 cases per day, that is up from the 30 cases reported Wednesday, down from the 56 cases reported Tuesday and right in line with the 111 cases over three days reported Monday. Confusing, right? To help you understand the bigger meaning behind the daily fluctuations—especially the large swings that typically happen Mondays in the report that contains information from the Friday, Saturday and Sunday before—today we added a line to our chart of new and active cases, below. The new line graphs the 7-day moving average of daily new cases, smoothing out the daily fluctuations.

We added the 7-day average line to the chart, leaving the more volatile daily new cases line rather than replacing it, because the chart is interactive and you can click in the legend near the top edge of the chart to turn on or off the data you want. You get to make the decision about how much information you need.

So what does the having the 7-day average tell us about today's report of 70 new cases? The current average is 38 cases per day, and today there are effectively 35 cases per day, making this a below-average day. And when you're talking about COVID, every day with below-average infections can't be all bad.

The province says Nova Scotia's Northern health authority zone and the Western zone both continue to have COVID community spread, "primarily related to ongoing transmission from a faith-based gathering that occurred in late October." That includes the outbreak at a nursing home in Pugwash: "Two more residents and an additional two staff members at East Cumberland Lodge have tested positive for COVID-19," says the province today. "A total of 22 residents and four staff members at the home have now tested positive. Public and occupational health are working with the facility to prevent further spread. Increased public health measures and restrictions are in place."

According to the provincial written report, today's 70 new cases are spread across Nova Scotia as 44 in Central zone, 12 in Northern, nine Western and five Eastern. According to the maps at the provincial data dashboard, however, there are 42 cases in Central (not 44), 14 in Northern (not 12), nine in Western (which agrees with the written report) and four (not five) in Eastern. The dashboard maps total 69 new cases instead of 70.

This discrepancy between reports is also revealed another way. The written report states: "Today, November 12, Nova Scotia is reporting 70 new cases of COVID-19 and 69 recoveries since the last update November 10." Having one more case than recoveries should send the number of active case up by one, from the 277 reported yesterday to 278 today. But guess what the report says? "As of today, Nova Scotia has 277 active cases of COVID-19."

The active caseload should change any time the number of new infections is different from the number of recoveries (and there are no deaths). Apparently the active caseload didn't change from the last report to today's report, and if that is accurate, then there should be either 69 new cases and 69 recoveries, or 70 cases and 70 recoveries, or any number of cases and the same number recoveries—but not 70 cases and 69 recoveries and the same 277 active cases as Wednesday.

To be honest, sometimes we feel like pedantic jerks pointing out these discrepancies. (We said it commenters, so you don't have to.) But we are trying to give you as complete a picture as possible of every day's COVID numbers. We think the province's picture is fractured—the written report has some useful information, and the dashboard has some different useful information—and opaque. Based mostly on the graphs we produce (below), our picture is often more complete, clear and accessible than the province's, but that includes being transparent when we discover inconsistencies from the province when we are doing the work to synthesize the various provincial information sources into something clear.

Does it matter if there are 70 cases or 69? Does the province even know it's reporting two different numbers? Is the province trying to hide something? Is it just messing with The Coast because nobody else is doing the deep-dive data comparison to produce such information as our map and table? Are there mistakes at the lab? Do all the health authorities have the same reporting tools? Is the difference just a quirk of timing with cases changing between when one report gets produced compared to another? If that quirk exists, could it be fixed? How much of this stuff is handled by fax machines?

The Coast doesn't know the answers to any of these questions. But we are willing to admit that to you.

For its part, the province includes a line in every written report to cover its ass for variations in the numbers. "Cumulative cases may change as data is updated in Panorama," the province says. That's all. It doesn't bother to explain that Panorama is the databasing system used by public health to keep track of case information about individual COVID patients, making even its attempt at transparency opaque.


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.

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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.

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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 purple line tracks the rise and fall of daily new infections reported by the province; the green area is the province's caseload. In mid-November, The Coast added a golden line to show the 7-day moving average of daily new cases, effectively a smoothed-out version of the purple line that puts the ups and downs into bigger context. Click or hover over any point on the graph and the detail for that moment will pop up. To focus on just some information, 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.

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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.

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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.

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Breakthrough infections in Nova Scotia

On Fridays, the province's daily COVID report includes statistics about COVID breakthroughs—infections, hospitalizations and deaths among people who are fully or partially vaccinated. The province reports its numbers as a cumulative total: all the breakthrough cases dating from March 15, 2021 to the latest update. The Coast does an analysis to break the information about new cases down by each weekly reporting period, in order to offer our readers the following unique view of the same information, so you can better understand the fluctuations in breakthrough infections as they happen. Note: Our bar chart only dates back to June because the province didn't start this reporting until summer 2021.

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Click here for the previous COVID-19 news roundup, for November 10, 2021.

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