COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Monday, Dec 20

Information including charts and new infections as the fourth wave of COVID-19 rises.

The X-Ring Xplosion of COVID cases is overwhelming Nova Scotia's data dashboard, so until it is fixed we are suspending our map and charts that depend on dashboard data. In the meantime, you can still enjoy these infographics:
New and active cases    Vaccination rate    Nova Scotia’s third and fourth waves    Breakthrough infections    Canada’s fourth wave

Houstrang speaks tomorrow

Premier Tim Houston and chief medical officer of health Robert Strang are giving one of their occasional COVID-19 briefings Tuesday Dec 21, scheduled to start at 2pm. You'll be able to watch live at and/or @nsgov on Facebook.

COVID rages on

Monday, December 20, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 4

New cases

New recoveries

New deaths

Active cases

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic

Total COVID deaths

Sometimes the heading on the daily COVID press release from Nova Scotia's government says all you need to know that the province is still on fire. Take today's subject line: "485 New Cases of COVID-19, Long-Term Care Outbreak."

After the weekend set new COVID case records with two days in a row of 400+ cases, Monday pushes to another record. Those 485 new infections are spread across the province as 317 infections in Central zone, 75 for Western, 57 in Eastern and finally 36 for Northern.

The province is still officially overwhelmed by all the new cases. "Due to delays with data entry into Panorama (public health’s case management system), the number of positive cases being released today are lab results, not Panorama results," says today's report, as it has several days running. "This continues to better reflect the situation on the ground."

As part of this overwhelm, the government cannot report recoveries or active cases, but The Coast is calculating the maximum number of active cases by adding daily new cases to the last official active count of 194 cases on Thursday, Dec 9. That calculation arrives at 3,028* active cases today, the asterisk serving as a reminder that these are unprecedented times in the province's pandemic.

The latest outbreak in a long-term care facility is happening at Parkstone Enhanced Care, in Halifax. "One resident and one staff member have tested positive for COVID-19. No one is in hospital," the province says. "All staff and residents are fully vaccinated, and all eligible residents have had a booster shot. Public health is working with the facility to prevent further spread. Increased public health measures and restrictions are in place."

Across the province, the astronomical rise in infections has not—at least not yet—lead to huge increases in hospitalizations. Current there are just nine COVID patients in hospital, out of as many as 3,028* people who actively have COVID. This is a tiny percentage, and only two of those nine people in hospital are so sick that they need to be in intensive care.

In other comforting news, Nova Scotians are getting tested in droves. Provincial labs processed 9,198 tests yesterday, the most since there were more than 10,000 tests reported on May 15, back in Nova Scotia's third wave.

Comparing active cases in the third and fourth waves

In December, the town of Antigonish became ground zero for an inter-provincial COVID outbreak due to a weekend of superspreader events connected to the annual presentation of X-Rings at St. Francis Xavier University. But how bad is the outbreak, really? The following chart lets you compare Nova Scotia's active cases, dating from the third wave in April through the fourth wave and its infection Xplosion, using case data from provincial pandemic reports. The chart will be updated when provincial reporting allows. Note: From Friday, Dec 10 through today, Nova Scotia has been too overwhelmed by new COVID cases to report recoveries or an official active case count; the active case numbers on this graph for those dates have been calculated by adding each day's new cases to the last official active count, and are therefore a maximum active caseload.

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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. Also, from Friday, Dec 10 through today, Nova Scotia has been too overwhelmed by new COVID cases to report recoveries or an official active case count; the active case numbers on this graph for those dates have been calculated by adding each day's reported new cases to the last official active count, and are therefore a maximum active caseload.

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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. Also, since the start of third doses, provincial vax reports have produced strange results—including some negative numbers—when graphed; The Coast is working to sort this out and we ask for your patience while we do.

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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 December 19, 2021.

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