COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Wednesday, Nov 17

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.



Massive vaccination spike

Something very strange is happening in the vaccination numbers the province reported today. Supposedly clinics across the province delivered 16,377 jabs yesterday, which is radically higher than any number reported recently. It's more than 10 times the 1,520 shots in yesterday's report, for example. In fact, the last time Nova Scotia had at least this many vaccinations in a single day was July 21, nearly four months ago, when there were 16,673 injections.

We don't know if this is a typo or what. The provincial report doesn't explain the spike, and Doctor Strang didn't say anything about the unlikely numbers at the briefing, so we are asking the province for information. We'll let you know what we find out.


The premier and the pastor

Nova Scotia premier Tim Houston used today's briefing to call out Robert Smith, pastor of Gospel Light Baptist Church and organizer of the superspreader event that is directly tied to three COVID deaths in Nova Scotia. The pastor gave a sermon on Sunday refusing to accept responsibility for starting the ongoing outbreak—he said he was just doing "what god wanted us to do" by illegally bringing 100 people together in Amherst—but the premier described the sermon as "totally disgusting" and called for the police to take action. For more on this, The Coast's Lyndsay Armstrong went to the briefing in person and filed this report.


Crappy anniversary

Did you realize today is a significant date in the history of humanity? It's believed that two years ago, the very first known case of COVID-19 was diagnosed.


Houstrang speaks

Premier Tim Houston and chief medical officer of health Robert Strang are giving one of their occasional COVID-19 briefings today at 1pm. Watch live at novascotia.ca/stayinformed/webcast and/or @nsgov on Facebook, or catch it later at the Nova Scotia government's YouTube page.


Community spread is spreading

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 5 or so

New cases
20

New recoveries
36

New deaths
0

Active cases
236

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic
7,963

Total COVID deaths
105

The province is reporting just 20 new cases of COVID today, the fewest in a report since there were 11 cases on Tuesday, Nov 2. And going with the relatively low count of new infections, 36 people recovered from the disease, so the active caseload drops for the second straight day this week, getting down to 236 active cases.

That's the good news.

According to the province's written report, the 20 new cases are scattered across Nova Scotia as eight cases in the Central health authority zone, and six cases in both Western and Northern zones, with none in Eastern. Our map and table below use Coast analysis of information from the province's data dashboard to reveal what's happening at the more localized level of the community health networks; the most new-case activity in Nova Scotia is in the Northern zone's Amherst/Cumberland network, where there are five fresh infections, followed by the Halifax network (four cases) in Central zone.

This really doesn't sound like a lot of cases either at the level of the zones or the networks. But apparently the province is seeing a disturbing pattern in its information, because it says community spread of COVID is spreading.

Yesterday, like the last several days, the provincial written report said: "There is community spread in Northern and Western zones, primarily related to ongoing transmission from a faith-based gathering that occurred in late October. This includes secondary transmission to other faith-based gatherings, workplaces and to East Cumberland Lodge, a long-term care home in Pugwash."

Today, there are no new cases at the East Cumberland Lodge nursing home, but: "There are active cases in all health zones and evidence of limited community spread in Halifax and northern Nova Scotia."

That's the bad news.


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 16, 2021.

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