COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Tuesday, Sep 14

Information including charts, new infections and our daily map of community COVID-19.

Caught between the fourth wave and Phase 5

On Sunday, Prince Edward Island closed a bunch of schools. Monday, New Brunswick brought back mandatory masks to schools. And Tuesday, Nova Scotia announced that it could not go ahead with its next stage of reopening. The fourth wave of COVID has arrived in the Maritime provinces.

Phase 5 was scheduled to start tomorrow in NS, eliminating most masking requirements and gathering restrictions in the province. But yesterday's report of high case counts signalled the fourth wave of infections is decidedly upon us. So today the province made a common-sense decision to respect the virus and postpone Phase 5 until at least October 4, when the POV (proof of vaccination) program is supposed to be ready. Click here for the full report on the day's developments from Coast reporter Lyndsay Armstrong, who was at the provincial COVID briefing in person when health and wellness minister Michelle Thompson made the announcement.

66 new cases

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 4

New cases

New recoveries

New deaths

Active cases

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic

Total COVID deaths

After getting through the third wave of COVID, Nova Scotia was lucky with reopening. Phase 1 arrived on schedule, as did Phases 2, 3 and 4. Even as the fourth wave grew in much of Canada, we were cruising to Phase 5 and the end of most public health restrictions. It was supposed to start tomorrow. Instead, our luck ran out today. Read the full story of the fourth wave's arrive and Phase 5's postponement here.

With that big news of the day taken care of, we can go on to the numbers behind the news. Nova Scotia is reporting 66 new COVID cases Tuesday and 18 recoveries, pushing the caseload to its highest point since the third wave, 173 active cases. Like yesterday, four COVID patients are in hospital in the province.

"Sixty-one of the cases are in Northern Zone. Fifty-nine are close contacts of previously reported cases. Two are related to travel," says the daily provincial disease dispatch. "There is a large cluster of linked cases in a defined group in Northern Zone. Most of the group is unvaccinated, so more cases are expected."

The other five cases are in Central zone. Although their transmission vectors are a mix of travel and close contacts with COVID, the province has a warning about community transmission: "There are signs of community spread among those in Central Zone aged 20 to 40 who are unvaccinated and participating in social activities."

The Coast's ever-popular map and table further down this page break the 66 new cases down by Nova Scotia's community health networks. They show Truro/Colchester leading the rest of the province in all three daily COVID categories: new cases (Truro/Colchester has 59 of the 66 new infections), new recoveries (eight) and active cases (80). The Halifax and Dartmouth networks follow at a distance, with three new cases apiece, three recoveries combined and 26 and 20 active cases respectively.

Local labs processed 2,543 tests yesterday, close to the current rolling average of almost 2,700 tests per day. And clinics across the province injected 2,917 vaccinations into arms on Monday, less than half of them (1,308 jabs) to people getting their second dose. Nova Scotia's fully vaccinated population increased, slightly, from 72.54 percent yesterday to 72.70 percent today.

Instead of premier Houston joining Strang today for a Houstrang briefing, new health and wellness minister Michelle Thompson joined the top doc to give a Thompstrang report. During the briefing, Strang repeatedly said the decision to postpone Phase 5 was due to disease epidemiology, and not because Nova Scotia seems unlikely to reach the reopening target of 75 percent fully vaccinated. But it bears mentioning that Wednesday is almost certainly going to arrive without Nova Scotia's population being 75 percent fully vaccinated, despite last week's full-throated assurances from Houstrang that we would reach the target.

The following chart shows that hitting 75 percent by Wednesday would require clinics to inject more than 13,000 second-dose vaccinations on Tuesday (provided we count Strang's uncounted military cohort of vaccinated people). Nova Scotia was getting this kind of vaccine uptake regularly in July, but the last time the province injected more than 10,000 people in a day was Monday, August 2, nearly six weeks ago. Tomorrow the vaccine count for Tuesday will be released, and we'll find out for sure how close to the target we got.

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 September 13, 2021.

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