COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Tuesday, Aug 24

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.

On testing and vaccinations

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 4

New cases

New recoveries

New deaths

Active cases

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic

Total COVID deaths

"Right now our case numbers are manageable," said public health top doc Strang at yesterday's COVID briefing. "There's no sign of community spread. And most of our cases are related to travel or are close contacts of previous cases."

Today's COVID report from the province bears out this line of thinking. There are 11 new infections and 18 recoveries for a total of 49 active cases, a recent high but definitely "manageable" compared to the 1,000+ active cases we had three short months ago. We're also chuffed to be able to say nobody is currently in the hospital due to COVID. (See below for more on the basics of today's main numbers.)

"But it's only a matter of time before the fourth wave is here in Nova Scotia, too," Strang said, considering COVID's delta-variant-powered rise in much of the world, including Canada. "We should expect to see increasing case numbers and even localized outbreaks largely in unvaccinated groups. The key to getting through the fourth wave is vaccine. And I can't say that strongly enough.

"The more vaccinated we are, the less impact a fourth wave will have on people, our healthcare system and our economy."

So where are we on vaccinations? The Tuesday provincial report is the first with vax stats since last Friday, as NS never reports jab counts on weekends, and the Panorama public health tracking system had some kind of technical issue yesterday that kept many numbers from being reported. Clinics across the province delivered a grand total of 4,784 shots on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday combined, or about 1,200 injections per day. That's low. Extremely low. Easter long weekend low, nearly 100 days ago back at the beginning of April, before the third wave.

Of course the slowing pace of vaccinations has been clear for weeks, and we still got to the Phase 4 reopening target of 75 percent of the population being vaccinated with at least one dose. Nova Scotia should make it to the Phase 5 target of 75 percent fully vaccinated with two doses, but it will take a while. That's why next-premier Tim Houston picked September 15 to launch Phase 5.

If you want to indulge the agony of tracking the painfully slow vaccine uptake, be sure to check our Nova Scotia vaccination rate chart (below). It moved from 69.17 percent of the province fully vaccinated in Friday's report, to 69.56 percent today.

Phase 5's impending arrival brings with it the phasing out of widespread COVID testing. "High vaccination rates and low case numbers means we won't need to focus on general asymptomatic testing," Strang said yesterday. "So we will begin eliminating that option. It will still be available to incoming travellers who need it, and the close contacts of confirmed cases and anyone else who is directed by public health to get tested."

That announcement wasn't needed to lower testing requests yesterday. Local labs processed just 2,387 tests according to today's report, well below the current average of over 3,000 tests per day. We'll continue to follow testing numbers in coming weeks, to find out how the effort to mothball the testing effort goes.

The basics: 11 new cases, 49 active cases

Here are the main numbers from the province's Tuesday disease update, along with the updated map and table of COVID in Nova Scotia's community health networks. We'll get a full report up later today, but where the province's report was incomplete yesterday and the map hasn't been updated since last Friday, we wanted to get this basic report out sooner rather than later.

The province is announcing 11 new cases today, all of them related to either travel or previously infected people. After not reporting the active caseload yesterday, now the province says there are 49 active cases. This is the highest level in Nova Scotia since the third wave ended (check the graph of new and active cases below).

Because the province had a technical problem and didn't update its data dashboard yesterday, the map (also below) includes all the cases diagnosed since the last dashboard update on Friday, not just the 11 announced today. The Bedford/Sackville community health network has the most new cases, with eight, while Amherst/Cumberland and Halifax are tied for second-most with six new infections each. Halifax has the most active cases at 16.

In some fantastic news, there are no COVID patients in hospital in Nova Scotia. This is the first time the hospitals have been reported clear of the disease in 25 days, going back to July 29. So although the caseload is higher than it's been in over a month, having nobody in hospital with COVID and no community spread among the new cases means Nova Scotia is in a pretty safe position right now.

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. 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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Click here for yesterday's COVID-19 news roundup, for August 23, 2021.

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