COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Friday, Oct 8

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.

Breakthrough cases holding steady

The Coast's graph of breakthrough infections lower down this page is scary at first glance. It shows a breakthrough of breakthrough cases, with 70 of this week's new COVID patients being fully vaccinated, the most the province has ever reported, beating last week's then-record of 54 infections among fully vaxxed people.

But at second glance, nothing has changed. The number of infections among fully vaxxed and partially vaxxed people has steadily risen over the last three weeks, but then so has the number of unvaccinated cases: Total cases have been going up of late, as the fourth wave takes hold. However, the proportion of those cases that are full or partial breakthroughs has been holding steady the last three weeks, at about one third of all cases.

Now to be sure, one third in each of the last three weeks is an increase from four weeks ago, when the Sep 10-16 week was at 14 percent breakthrough. The week before that was at 28 percent, and the week before that, the Aug 27-Sep 1 reporting period, was 52 percent breakthrough. More than half of all cases were among people with at least one vaccine that week!

What the more recent numbers show is infections settling into a predictable pattern, where about a third of all cases are breakthroughs. We'll know in a week, when the next breakthrough numbers come out, if the one-third prediction holds.

Kids and schools

"On October 7, two schools were notified of an exposure(s) at their school," says today's provincial report. Instead of naming the schools, however, the report offers a link to the school-exposure database. According to the database, the Halifax schools Duc d'Anville Elementary and École Mer et Monde are the sites of the exposures. Duc d'Anville is named lower down in this report because the province is closing it next week to try to limit disease spread.

At its COVID data dashboard, the province reports the total number of cases across a spectrum of age groups. Coast analysis of that information across multiple reporting periods—a little elementary addition and subtraction—reveals the number of new cases in the age groups. Today, seven of the 25 new cases are among children 0-11 years old, the age group that includes most elementary-school students, and which is made up entirely of people who cannot yet be vaccinated according to Health Canada. Another two of the 25 cases are in people in the 12-19 age group.

Testing and vaccinations

COVID testing in today's report—reflecting the PCR tests that local labs completed yesterday—is down from the last couple of days, at 3,740 tests processed. This week's high of over 4,600 tests was reported Wednesday, and yesterday's report was 4,201 tests. The current daily average now is right around 3,900 tests.

Today's vaccination numbers, again reporting what clinics across the province did on Thursday, are also down. There were 2,475 arms jabbed yesterday, the only number below 3,000 reported all week. Out of those vaccinations, there were 1,371 delivered to people getting their second dose, another low point for the week. Nova Scotia is now 75.93 percent fully vaccinated.

A COVID school closure

Duc d'Anville Elementary has a gotten a few COVID exposure warnings recently, including one reported on Tuesday and another Wednesday. So it doesn't come as a complete surprise that today the province is announcing a temporary shutdown for the elementary school in Halifax's Clayton Park neighbourhood.

"The school will be closed to students from October 12 to October 15 to prevent further spread of the virus among the school community," says the press release about the provincial announcement. "At-home learning will begin October 12."

The release says a mobile COVID testing unit "will continue to be in the community" next week, and that public health will run "vaccination outreach clinics" in the area in order to "encourage and support families to get vaccinated." People will need a negative test to go back to school when Duc d'Anville reopens on Monday, Oct 18.

“While our goal is to keep students learning in the classroom, I was clear that if stronger measures were needed, like closing a school, we would not hesitate to act,” top doc Robert Strang says in the release. “The regional medical officer of health team has been closely monitoring this situation, and they are recommending a temporary closure to contain the spread.”

New and active cases down for the weekend

Friday, October 8, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 5 (with some tweaks)

New cases

New recoveries

New deaths

Active cases

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic

Total COVID deaths

The province's last COVID report until after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend feels worthy of celebration. There are 25 new cases, falling from yesterday's 30, and enough recoveries to drive the caseload down to 234 active cases. And both the number of COVID patients in hospital and the number of those patients in intensive care dropped from Thursday to Friday; Nova Scotia currently has 15 hospitalizations, with four of them in the ICU.

If you need something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, our COVID situation is worthy. Lots of places are not so lucky, even a place as close as our neighbour New Brunswick, as The Coast's Victoria Walton shows in this story about the different approaches to long weekend gathering on both sides of the border.

Nova Scotia's next COVID report will come out Tuesday, October 12, after a break for the weekend and holiday Monday. We hope you have a good and safe holiday.

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 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.

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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 October 7, 2021.

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