COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Wednesday, Nov 3

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.

Vaccinations at the limit

Nova Scotia is running out of people to vaccinate. According to numbers reported today, clinics across the province stuck jabs in 1,870 arms Tuesday. That's much higher than the not-quite 1,300 shots delivered Monday, but on both days most of those injections went to people getting their second or third shot. In other words, people who were already in the vax club.

Tuesday there were 461 unvaccinated people who got their first dose, and Monday there were just 392 people getting a first dose. These are the new recruits to join the vax club, you might say, and their numbers haven't been this low since last February, when the province's vax rollout was the worst in Canada.

Right now, just over 83 percent of Nova Scotians have received either one, two or three vaccinations. Over coming days, some people with two doses will receive a third, and some with one dose will get a second. That's great for improving herd immunity, but it's only shuffling people around inside the vax club—maintaining the 83 percent rate, not increasing it.

To be sure, some people will also get their first dose, joining the club and raising the overall percentage, but their numbers are clearly dwindling. The vaccination rate chart lower down this page shows that growth has gone essentially flat in the group of Nova Scotians with at least one dose: 83.01 percent of the population last Thursday, 83.07 percent on Sunday, 83.08 Monday, 83.09 yesterday.

The province may be a victim of its own success, as its vax rollout eventually gathered enough steam to launch Nova Scotia from Canada's worst to among the best in the country. We could be running out of people to jab because we already got most of them. That's not a bad thing. Just don't be surprised if Nova Scotia stays stuck at 83-something percent with one or more doses—at least until Health Canada changes its rules and allows children below the age of 12 to get vaccinated.

The mystery of 38 new cases

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Reopening status
Phase 87 (in honour of brand-new COVID patient Sidney Crosby)

New cases

New recoveries

New deaths

Active cases

Total cases in Nova Scotia during pandemic

Total COVID deaths

Even as Nova Scotia seems to be settling into a workable, cautious new normal with COVID during the fourth wave of infections—opening restaurants wide but only to fully vaccinated people, maintaining some mask mandates, checking vax status at provincial borders—the disease itself is becoming more erratic.

We've mentioned this in recent Coast reports. Some weeks new cases are generally in decline from Monday to Friday, others the disease seems to gather strength after a down day on Tuesday. This "standard Tuesday drop" happened as usual yesterday, new cases dropping to 11 after averaging about 20 per day over the weekend. So what direction did things go today? The most new cases we've had in nearly a month, and the province announcing a special effort to try and figure out what the heck is happening.

The province is reporting 38 new cases on Wednesday, the highest one-day total since the 40 cases reported October 5. (Or maybe it was 39 cases Oct 5—there's some discrepancy in provincial data—but either way it's more than today's 38.) As well as a recent high for infections, only 19 people recovered from the disease since yesterday's report, so the active caseload jumps up to 180 active cases, a level we haven't experienced in the last two weeks. (The chart of new and active cases is below.)

The province, perhaps sharing our confusion about the disease's mercurial behaviour, is taking action. "Nova Scotia Health Authority’s (NSHA’s) public health team is investigating these new cases to understand the circumstances around the increased numbers," says today's report.

With cooling weather making outdoor gathering less inviting than indoor, the delta plus variant arriving in Canada, national infection numbers still high enough to remind us that the fourth wave remains a threat (there's a chart for that, too) and vaccine efficacy potentially waning as Nova Scotia's vax rollout approaches the one-year mark, there are lots of factors that could be playing into the disease's fitful surges. We look forward to the results of this investigation.

Places and cases

Today's 38 new cases get the typical superficial treatment in the province's written report: "There are 19 cases in Central Zone, 14 cases in Western Zone, four cases in Northern Zone and one case in Eastern Zone." So we at The Coast have done our typical analysis of the province's data dashboard to help you understand where, more specifically, the infections are happening.

After yesterday's rare day with zero new cases, the Halifax community health network in Central zone has 11 new cases, the most of any of the province's 14 community networks. The South Shore network has nine cases, and its Western zone neighbour Yarmouth/Shelburne/Digby has five. Three out of Northern zone's four new COVID patients live in the Amherst/Cumberland network, and the lone Eastern zone case is in Sydney/Glace Bay. Our full map and table of COVID in the community networks are below.

Hospitalizations are unchanged since yesterday. Eight of Nova Scotia's 180 active COVID patients are sick enough to be in hospital, but happily none of them are so sick that they need to be in the ICU.

Continuing its pattern of withholding specific information about cases, the province's report says three schools received COVID exposure notices yesterday. At the school exposures site, the three schools are listed as Bras D'or Elementary in Cape Breton, Oxford Regional Education Centre in the world blueberry capital of Oxford and, coincidentally, Oxford School in Halifax.

Our analysis of age-group data—information that's available with a special trip to Nova Scotia's data dashboard—shows that 13 of today's 38 new cases are in children 11 years old and younger. This is the only age group that's ineligible for vaccination under Health Canada rules.

Sid the Kid has 'Vid

Sidney Crosby is already known for being Cole Harbour's favourite son and the world's greatest hockey player. Now the Tim Hortons spokesperson can add a third distinction to his resume: COVID patient.

ESPN reports that Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said team captain Crosby has mild COVID-19 symptoms and missed practise today because of a positive test. Now Sid the Kid with 'Vid goes through the National Hockey League's protocol for the disease, which starts with going into isolation.

"Players can leave isolation after at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; at least 24 hours have passed since the last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and when team physicians conclude that the individual no longer presents a risk of infection to others," says ESPN.

One other Penguins player tested positive but is asymptomatic, and two Penguins were already in the NHL plague protocol. None of them are Sidney Crosby, however, so we won't trouble you with their names.

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 November 2, 2021.

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