COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Tuesday, Oct 19

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.

Full disclosure on hospital outbreak

In a welcome change from his predecessors, premier Tim Houston erred on the side of full disclosure and sharing the mic with people closer to the ground at today's provincial COVID briefing. Western zone health official Alyson Lamb joined Houston and top doc Strang at the briefing to talk about the COVID outbreak at the Valley Regional Hospital. The Coast's Lyndsay Armstrong was there, and wrote this report on the outbreak and school closures just for you.

Dropping to a dozen new cases

The province just announced the lowest new-case total in more than a month! There are only 12 new cases today, which is half (half!) last week's daily average, and the fewest Nova Scotia has reported since there were six cases announced September 15.

With 33 people recovering from the disease, the caseload is down to 187 active cases. That comes after two reports in a row of increases that saw the caseload pop over 200 yesterday. What a relief.

Speaking of relief, we're relieved to report that the province's COVID data dashboard is back in action after yesterday's technical issue. The current map and table of cases in the community health networks are below, but we can't say for sure how many of these cases are from the weekend, and how many are from Monday, so we're not going to get into the details. For the undetailed perspective, the province says the 12 new cases announced today are from Central zone (eight cases) and Western (four).

Hospitalizations reported today reflect a bit of push and pull: The total number of COVID patients in hospital is down from yesterday, but the number of those in intensive care is up. There are currently 14 people in hospital, four of them in the ICU. One of the intensive care patients is in Valley Regional Hospital, in Kentville, where the province says a small outbreak is happening (read more above).

The testing number in today's report is low. Nova Scotia's labs processed just 2,152 tests yesterday, the fewest since 2,034 tests were announced last Wednesday. Testing hasn't dropped below 2,000 in a day since August.

And vaccinations continue to creep along. There were 1,446 people who received their second dose yesterday, a number that's pretty average for recent reports. Nova Scotia is now 77.11 percent fully vaccinated according to official—not counting the uncountable—statistics.

Ambulance trouble

Remember in the summer when two people died of COVID at home, and then-premier Iain Rankin and Doctor Strang freaked out and said they'd cover the cost of ambulances to get people to the hospital? Well, Danica Pettipas definitely remembers, because she's hoping the province will cover a couple ambulance bills she had to pay during her bout with COVID. Lyndsay Armstrong has the story.

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 18, 2021.

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