COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Thursday, Oct 21

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.

19 new cases

After 12 new cases reported Tuesday, then just six cases yesterday, we were hoping for…well…just maybe…zero today. Or four. Something comfortingly low, anyway. But this being COVID we're talking about, it's not surprising that our hopes are now thoroughly dashed as the province is reporting 19 new infections today. Nineteen! More than Tuesday and Wednesday combined.

But contrasting those 19 new cases, there are 21 Nova Scotians who recovered from the disease since yesterday, for a net decline of two. So for the third day in a row the caseload drops, reaching 163 active cases today. Plus hospitalizations dropped by one overnight, from 16 yesterday to 15 today (with five of those patients in ICU both days). Take that, COVID! You hit us hard and we bounce back harder.

In its written report, the province says the 19 new cases are spread across the Northern health zone (nine cases), Central zone (eight cases) and Western (two). In its data dashboard, buried several clicks deep, the province gives information about cases in the community health networks. The Coast analyses that info to produce the map and table below. Today those communication tools reveal all nine of Northern zone's cases are in the Amherst/Cumberland network, the most new cases of any of Nova Scotia's 14 networks. The Dartmouth network, in Central zone, has four cases, and three other networks each have two cases. Halifax has the most active cases in the province, with 72.

The latest on the hospital outbreak is that a "fifth patient in a non-COVID unit at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville has tested positive for COVID-19," the province says. "One person is in intensive care at the hospital. Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) continues to test patients, staff and doctors identified as close contacts."

Four schools got exposure notices yesterday, the province reports, with a link to the list of all recent school exposures. If you're curious but click-averse, the schools are Caledonia Junior High in Dartmouth; Joseph Howe Elementary in Halifax (which is already closed as a COVID precaution); and West Highlands Elementary and E.B. Chandler Junior High, in Amherst. Yes, the same Amherst as the Amherst/Cumberland network where many of today's new cases are located.

In related analysis of provincial data, we can report that seven of today's 19 new cases are in children 11 years old and younger. This is both the prime demographic for elementary school and the only group ineligible for vaccination under Health Canada guidelines.

Adding this information together, we can speculate that shit just got real around Amherst, where there are nine infections, two elementary schools with confirmed exposures and the province has seven cases in the age group with elementary-age kids. But that really is just speculation.

In much more concrete matters, provincial labs completed 3,648 tests yesterday, the most reported since last Friday. And vaccinations delivered across the province yesterday are right around where vaccinations have been lately. With 1,567 people receiving their second dose, Nova Scotia is now 77.41 percent fully vaxxed.

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 20, 2021.

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