COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Wednesday, Dec 1

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.

Strang talks omicron and vaccinating children

After the province's surprise announcement of a new travel restriction for kids (see below), media were invited to a surprise session with Doctor Strang to find out more. The Coast's Lyndsay Armstrong attended, and filed this report.

34 or 35 new cases

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 5-ish

New cases

New recoveries

New deaths

Active cases

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic

Total COVID deaths

Nova Scotia's written COVID report for Wednesday says there are 35 new infections in the province. "There are 16 cases in Northern Zone, 16 cases in Central Zone and three cases in Western Zone," the report confidently states. "There is a new cluster of cases in a localized community in Northern Zone, and there is also evidence of limited community spread in Halifax and parts of northern Nova Scotia."

But at Nova Scotia's data dashboard, there are only 34 new infections. Coast analysis of the dashboard numbers, as made accessible to you in the map and table below, shows only 15 new cases in Northern zone, not 16.

Which report is right? We may never know, especially when the province refuses to answer such questions, claiming all such discrepancies are the result of patient information changing in the Panorama public health tracking system. And it might not matter anyway—the confusion of a case or two moving around in databases being insignificant in Nova Scotia's big-picture pandemic response. But that said, the written report actually suggests the data dashboard is the right one.

Going with its 35 new cases, the report also says there have been 31 recoveries since the last report, for a difference of (35 minus 31 equals) four new cases. The report says that leads to a caseload of 203 active cases. But yesterday there were 200 active cases. If the caseload increased by four, today there should be 204 active cases, not the 203 active cases offered by both the dashboard and the report. However, the 34 new cases from the dashboard minus 31 recoveries would equal three new cases added to the caseload, matching up perfectly with the current total of 203 active cases.

And it's the increase from 200 active cases to 203 that is the important thing today. (Check the graph below.) It's a small rise, but no rise is good. Especially when it comes with increasing hospitalizations: from 13 COVID patients in hospital—four of them in ICU—yesterday, to 15 people in hospital—eight of them in ICU—today.

Charting infections in children

Today's news of travel restrictions on Nova Scotians aged 11 and younger (see below) inspired us to graph infections in this population, dating back to October 4 when the provincial COVID data dashboard first started reporting infection information specifically for the 0-to-11 age group. With kids aged five to 11 allowed to be vaccinated starting tomorrow, the number of infections in this age group should begin to fall soon.

Update: Children started being vaccinated today, according to the photos the province sent us of eight-year-old Jack Woodhead getting a jab. This despite the province saying last week that pediatric vaxxing would begin tomorrow, December 2. While we look into what's going on with the different dates, here's a picture of young Jack to take your mind off the confusion.

Update 2: Inferring from what Doctor Strang said at today's hastily convened press session, it sounds like the province decided to do a sort of soft launch of vaccinations for kids at a few clinics today, in advance of the wide release across Nova Scotia tomorrow.

click to enlarge Nurse Laura Bailey injects eight-year-old Jack Woodhead with anti-COVID vaccine. - COMMUNICATIONS NOVA SCOTIA
Communications Nova Scotia
Nurse Laura Bailey injects eight-year-old Jack Woodhead with anti-COVID vaccine.

New travel restrictions for children

In response to COVID spread among young kids who are largely unvaccinated, this afternoon the province announced it is immediately restricting kids under 11 years old from leaving the province to participate in arts, culture or sporting events.

"We are seeing cases spreading among children through these types of events. Given that vaccination for this age group is only just starting to roll out, we need to take this step to help keep our children and others safe," chief medical officer of health Robert Strang said in a statement.

Children under 11 are permitted to travel to these events as spectators, not participants, and kids can continue travelling for regular practices, lessons and rehearsals. The province considers these activities lower risk because kids will be interacting with the same group of people.

Also effective today, individuals, businesses and organizations in Nova Scotia cannot host sports games, competitions and tournaments, or arts and culture performances, that include children 11 and younger from outside the province as participants. They also cannot participate in these types of events outside Nova Scotia.

Strang is speaking at a last-minute teleconference today at 1:30pm to explain further.

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 purple line tracks the rise and fall of daily new infections reported by the province; the green area is the province's caseload. In mid-November, The Coast added a golden line to show the 7-day moving average of daily new cases, effectively a smoothed-out version of the purple line that puts the ups and downs into bigger context. Click or hover over any point on the graph and the detail for that moment will pop up. To focus on just some information, 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 November 30, 2021.

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