COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Friday, Nov 19

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.



Children cleared for Pfizer shot

In a major development in the COVID fight, today Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids between the ages of 5 and 11. "This is great news. Soon, we will be able to protect more Nova Scotians against the virus," says NS health and wellness minister Michelle Thompson in a statement.

"We have been anticipating this announcement for weeks and have been working with our health system partners and our vaccine booking system on a plan. We are now waiting on information from our federal partners regarding vaccine delivery to finalize our planning," Thomson adds. "We look forward to sharing more information with families next week."


Canada passes 75% fully vaccinated

The federal government usually reports the latest vax stats on Friday, and in today's data the Canada-wide figure is 75.04 percent fully vaccinated. Remember back a few short weeks ago, when Nova Scotia was struggling to hit the 75 percent target? And now the whole country is there, on average. It's amazing progress (on average). Our animated chart that tracks national vaccination rates shows which places are above 75 and which are still below.


Another death connected to Robert Smith's gathering

Pastor Robert Smith of the Gospel Light Baptist Church already had three COVID deaths on his conscience due to an illegal superspreader event he organized. With today's disease report from the province, he has a fourth death to consider.

"A woman in her 90s with underlying medical conditions in Northern Zone has died as a result of complications related to COVID-19," says the province. "She was a resident of the East Cumberland Lodge long-term care home in Pugwash." Also today, another Lodge resident tested COVID-positive. So the Gospel Light gathering took COVID to the Lodge, and now a total of 32 residents and 10 staff have caught the disease, leading to three of those residents dying.

“This is a very sad day and I send my sympathies to the family and loved ones of the woman who has passed, as well as everyone at East Cumberland Lodge,” premier Tim Houston says in the province's report. “I ask all Nova Scotians to do everything you can to help keep COVID-19 out of our long-term care facilities and our communities. This means getting fully vaccinated, staying home if you are sick and following public health measures.”


Nova Scotia passes 8,000 infections during the pandemic

Friday, November 19, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 5 (with tweaks)

New cases
27

New recoveries
40

New deaths
1

Active cases
223

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic
8,013

Total COVID deaths
106

The province is reporting 27 new COVID cases Friday, pushing Nova Scotia's total number of infections during the pandemic to 8,013. Another thousand-case milestone, which we hoped never to reach, has been reached.

The 27 new cases is up from 22 reported yesterday, but with 40 people recovering in today's report the active caseload drops to 223 active cases. That's welcome downward momentum after the caseload didn't change at all yesterday. Another welcome change after no movement yesterday comes in hospitalizations: 17 people were in hospital yesterday with COVID, and now there are only 15 patients in hospital. Unfortunately, as reported every day since Monday, out of those hospitalized patients, seven are sick enough to be in intensive care.

According to Nova Scotia's written report, the new cases are spread across the four provincial health zones as follows: 13 cases in Central zone, seven in Western Zone, six Northern Zone and one Eastern. ("There is also evidence of limited community spread in Halifax and northern Nova Scotia," the report warns.)

According to Coast analysis of Nova Scotia's data dashboard, out of the 14 provincial community health networks, the Halifax network has the most new cases at six, followed by Bedford/Sackville and Amherst/Cumberland with five cases apiece, then the Annapolis Valley network at four cases. As you could figure out from our map and table that visualize the case information in the networks, today is yet another one of those days where the province's written report numbers and its data dashboard numbers don't completely agree with each other. The province doesn't explain any discrepancies beyond its standard caveat that information can change as individual COVID cases get updated.

In other issues with provincial information, when we updated the chart of breakthrough infections with the new data the province typically reports on Friday, we noticed a glitch with the dates. A week ago, in the Nov 12 provincial COVID report, the section about breakthrough cases said the numbers covered the dates from Nov 4 to Nov 9. Then today's report says it covers the dates from Nov 11 to Nov 18. In between those two date ranges, poor Nov 10 is missing.

We suspect this is a simple typo, and either today's report or last week's includes Nov 10. After the weekend break, when the province's COVID media team is back on the job Monday, we should be able to find out for sure.


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 yesterday's COVID-19 news roundup, for November 18, 2021.

About The Authors

Kyle Shaw

Kyle is the editor of The Coast. He was a founding member of the newspaper in 1993 and was the paper’s first publisher. Kyle occasionally teaches creative nonfiction writing (think magazine-style #longreads) and copy editing at the University of King’s College School of Journalism.

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