COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Friday, Nov 26

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.

Omicrom emerges

In the latest example of the virus's disdain for the notion of TGIF, this Friday brings news of another COVID-19 mutant strain, known as B.1.1.529 to scientists and dubbed omicron by the World Health Organization.

The omicron variant was "first reported to WHO from South Africa" on Wednesday, before being announced today. It has "a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning," according to the WHO. "Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs" or variants of concern.

That was enough to totally freak out the world. Canada joined many countries in instituting restrictions on travel from southern Africa, and stock markets are down. Former Coast contributor Stephanie Nolen is in the middle of it all, reporting from an airplane stuck in omicron limbo on her way back from a trip to South Africa for her current employer, the New York Times.

28 new cases and rising active cases

Friday, November 26, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 5-ish

New cases

New recoveries

New deaths

Active cases

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic

Total COVID deaths

Although the average number of new cases has been holding remarkably steady this week—23 cases per day according to the 7-day moving average on the graph below—Nova Scotia reported a different number of cases each day. Monday there were 60 new cases, for example, and yesterday had 22. Today it's back up, with the province reporting 28 new COVID infections across NS.

Meanwhile the number of active cases had been steadily dropping since its November 9 high of 281 active cases. There were 193 active cases Monday, and 169 yesterday, but today that trend went in the opposite direction. The wrong direction. Because only 25 people recovered from the disease and 28 people caught it, the caseload rises today to 172 active cases. With any luck, it will be heading down again when the government's pandemic reporting division comes back from its weekend off and gives the next COVID update on Monday.

Friday's 28 new cases are restricted to only two of the four health authority zones in Nova Scotia, according to the province's written report. There are 16 infections in the Northern zone and 12 in Central.

Coast analysis of information at the province's data dashboard allows us to produce the map and table lower down this page, which show where COVID is being diagnosed in the 14 NS community health networks. Northern zone's Amherst/Cumberland health network has nine of today's 28 new cases, followed by the Halifax network in Central with six cases. The Truro/Colchester and Bedford/Sackville networks each have four new infections.

The province continues to warn of "limited community spread" in Halifax and northern NS. But happily there aren't any new infections today at the East Cumberland Lodge nursing home, which has endured 43 cases recently among staff and residents, and three resident deaths. Across the province, 14 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID, down from 17 hospitalizations yesterday. But like yesterday, five of the people in the hospital are sick enough to be in the ICU.

The continuing state of emergency

As it's done every two weeks since first declaring a state of emergency back in March 2020, today Nova Scotia extended the provincial pandemic SOE for another two weeks. "The order will take effect at noon, Sunday, November 28, and extend to noon, Sunday, December 12, unless the government terminates or extends it," says the Friday provincial COVID report.

Watch for it to will be extended on Dec 10, two Fridays from now.

Booking open for kids’ vaccinations

Today Nova Scotia opened its system for parents/guardians to schedule vaccination appointments for children from five years old to 11, the age group that Health Canada recently approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19. Nova Scotian kids will start getting shots next Thursday, December 2.

"The Province will have enough pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and appointments to provide every child aged five to 11 their first dose by the end of 2021," says the province in its press release about bookings opening. "Families should book their child’s appointment online at Booking by phone is only recommended if online booking is not an option. People who book by phone should expect high call volumes."

The press release doesn't even give the phone number, that's how much it wants people to go to to make their jab dates. But if you need the number, it's 1-833-797-7772 (answering calls every day 6am-10pm).

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 25, 2021.

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