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COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Wed, May 12 

Updates including briefings, 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.

149 new cases as the active caseload increases again

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

New cases
149

New recoveries
119

Active cases
1,621

Days in a row with cases
44

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic
4,307

Halifax’s lockdown
20 days

Nova Scotia’s lockdown
15 days

Yesterday we got to share the wonderful news that the number of active COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia went down from Monday to Tuesday, after 24 straight days of increases. Now we have to report that after Tuesday's reprieve, the province's daily COVID report for Wednesday shows active cases increasing again.

There are 149 new cases across the province according to today's report, "116 cases in Central Zone, 13 in Western Zone, 11 in Eastern Zone and nine in Northern Zone." Meanwhile 119 people who had the disease have recovered since yesterday, so the active caseload increases by 30 patients, from 1,591 active cases on Tuesday to 1,621 today.

For the complete breakdown of today's new cases from the four health zones into the province's 14 community health networks, scroll down to our table and map, below.

The COVID report also says the recent traffic jam of testing and data entry is resolved: "Public health has cleared the backlog of positive cases. All positive cases have been contacted and entered into Panorama, the data system. Public health has resumed contacting new positive cases after receiving lab confirmation." We will have a story about this whole bewildering backlog situation at The Coast tomorrow. (Update: read the story here.)

As you might have guessed given the worsening COVID situation in hospitals, mentioned below and in this story, today's hospitalization numbers increased. The latest numbers from the Strankin briefing (which may supersede the stats at the province's data dashboard) have 75 COVID patients in hospital, up from 64 patients yesterday, with 20 of them in ICU. That is fully double the 10 COVID patients in intensive care reported Tuesday.

Rounding out the daily statistics, Nova Scotia labs completed 7,289 tests yesterday, slightly above the current average of about 6,600 daily tests, and clinics across the province administered 12,780 doses of vaccine, the highest one-day total in nearly three weeks. The province does not say how many of those were Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZenaca, but with the halting of AZ vaccinations announced today (see below), presumably the number in coming days will only reflect mRNA shots.


Intensive care beds needed

The other scary news from Strankin's briefing is that ICU patients have started being moved out of Central zone hospitals in order to make room for an expected surge of people with severe COVID. Read the full story by The Coast's Johanna Chisholm, which quotes a Nova Scotia Health notice saying "These patients are most often otherwise healthy people, not the frail, older patients we saw admitted last spring."


Nova Scotia halts AstraZeneca vaccine

In just one of the big news items to come out of today's briefing, the province announced it is pausing AstraZeneca injections, effective immediately.

"The decision is based on an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting condition linked to this vaccine and because Nova Scotia has enough mRNA vaccine to immunize people age 40 and older," says the press release about the move. "Anyone who is scheduled to receive their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine will be contacted by their clinic for a new appointment for either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in a timely manner." Find out more in our full story here.

And if you're among the tens of thousands of Nova Scotians who've already received an AZ vaccine, the province offers this list of things to watch for as an indication you should get medical attention immediately:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • stomach pain that will not go away
  • leg swelling
  • a sudden and severe headache
  • a headache that will not go away and is getting worse
  • blurred vision
  • skin bruising (other than the area vaccinated), reddish or purplish spots, or blood blisters under the skin


Map of new cases in Nova Scotia


COVID in the community health networks

Our table logs data from Nova Scotia's official COVID-19 dashboard in order to provide this information. The province reports the number of active cases in each of the 14 community health networks, but The Coast does the math to be able to report the new and resolved case numbers.


Stores are back on the potential exposures list

On Monday, two days ago, Coast reporter Victoria Walton wrote a story about the province's database of potential COVID-19 exposure sites. Walton asked top doc Strang what happened to all the shops and restaurants and gyms that made up the bulk of the list in April; in May stores disappeared, only to be replaced by bus routes and offices where someone with COVID had been. Strang essentially said at this point in the outbreak, there would be too many possible exposure locations to list, and people should assume they're crossing paths with the disease any time they're "out and about in HRM."

That seemed a fair, if terrifying, answer to us. But maybe people thought it was too terrifying to read, because on Tuesday suddenly the list of exposure sites was back to normal, including grocery stores and retailers and vaccine clinics (yes, you can catch COVID when you're getting vaccinated for COVID). While we can't prove that our story caused the province to resume sharing the whole list, some coincidences are too hard to ignore, just like catching COVID after being at an exposure site.


Briefing today at 3pm

Strankin is having a briefing that's scheduled to start at 3pm today. You can watch live at novascotia.ca/stayinformed/webcast and/or @nsgov on Facebook, or catch it later at the Nova Scotia government's YouTube page. And in a rare display of scheduling vision, not only did the province announce this briefing, but it said the next one will be Friday at 1pm. Things really are different in the third wave.


Click here for yesterday's COVID-19 news roundup, for May 11, 2021.

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