2 new cases March 31 as the humans win the month | COVID-19 | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Map of COVID-19 cases reported in Nova Scotia as of March 31, 2021. Legend here. THE COAST

2 new cases March 31 as the humans win the month

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 numbers as of Wednesday.

With a new case in the Halifax community health network and another in the Lunenburg network (check our table below), the province is announcing two infections today. "Both cases are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada," says Wednesday's daily update. "The people are self-isolating, as required."

Three patients recovered since yesterday's report, so the number of active cases in Nova Scotia fell to 23. (For the fourth day in a row, the province say one of those patients is in the hospital due to COVID-19.) And it's the last day of March, so we can do the tally and discover the coronavirus got 75 new infections in the month, while 89 people recovered from the disease, so the humans win!

In 2021, people won in January by a score of 106 recoveries to 94 infections, but we lost February, 33 recoveries to 61 infections. Winning March gives us the lead in months, two to one. But in the overall total of recoveries to infections since January 1, the virus maintains a narrow lead; the humans have 228 recoveries and the virus has 230 infections.

As good team leaders should, Strankin has their focus on starting April strong and taking the lead in recoveries over infections, rather than using the holiday weekend to celebrate the March win—and perhaps create an opening for the viral nemesis. "Passover, Easter and Ramadan are times to celebrate and gather with loved ones," premier Iain Rankin says via the provincial update. "As we work to contain the virus, let's keep our gatherings small and continue to follow the public health protocols that are in place to keep our communities safe."

"As we approach a holiday weekend, I want to remind Nova Scotians of the importance of celebrating safely," provincial public health head Robert Strang says in the same update. "Do your part by following the gathering limits, keeping a consistent social group, staying home if you are feeling unwell, washing your hands and self-isolating if required."

Local labs had a big day yesterday—the latest update says 4,446 Nova Scotian tests were analyzed, the most since March 5. And the National Microbiology Lab is also doing its work of sequencing every positive test in Nova Scotia: It found another case of the fast-spreading B117 mutation in a previously announced Central zone patient who travelled internationally. "At this time, there is no sign of community spread from the variant case," says the province today. "This brings the total number of cases of the UK variant in Nova Scotia to 18. The number of South African variant cases remains at 10."

Nova Scotia's vaccination clinics had a huge day yesterday, delivering 6,459 doses. That sets a new provincial record for most injections in a day, and it is almost 3,000 doses above the rolling daily average. Plus it pushes our total number of doses administered during the pandemic past the 100,000 milestone (reaching 100,832 to be exact).

That first 100,000 mark arrives roughly 100 days since the rollout began, for a cumulative rate of about 1,000 shots per day. At that pace, it would take more than five years to inoculate every Nova Scotian, so you can understand why it's important to get the daily rate up as high as possible.

April is the last month of Phase 1 of Nova Scotia's vax rollout, and when he announced the phased plan in January, Strang projected a rate of 10,000 daily doses early in Phase 2, around the middle of May. Then in February, Strang blamed vaccine shortages for slowing the rollout, but said the province would get back on track by delivering 12,000 daily doses in April, toward the end of Phase 1.

Going that fast, that soon, would indeed do wonders for the pace of vaccinations. But it's hard to know if the plan is realistic. Last Friday Strang announced a vaccine shipment delay that could lead to a shortage, even as he said the mid-May target is 86,000 doses per week, or more than 12,000 per day. Then on Tuesday he talked about Health Canada's recent recommendation not to use the AstraZeneca vaccine on people younger than 55, a move that doesn't actually effect Nova Scotia's planned AZ deployment—which targets a 55+ age swath—but could cause vaccine hesitancy. And as if on cue, today, Wednesday, the province put out a press release that it doesn't have enough people signed up for vaccinations after the holiday weekend: "There are still appointments available next week at vaccine clinics for Nova Scotians who are 75 and older."

Because of the Friday holiday, Strankin are having their standard end-of-week C19 briefing tomorrow, Thursday, at 1pm. 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. Expect them to rally Nova Scotians who have a shot at getting a shot to take the shot.

Where Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 cases are on Wednesday, March 31

Western zone totals 1 new 0 closed 2 active
Yarmouth - - -
Lunenburg 1 - 1
Wolfville - - 1
Central zone totals 1 new 2 closed 19 active
West Hants - - -
Halifax 1 - 8
Dartmouth - 2 5
Bedford - - 3
Eastern Shore - - -
Northern zone totals 0 new 0 closed 1 active
Truro - - 1
Amherst - - -
Pictou - - -
Eastern zone totals 0 new 1 closed 1 active
Antigonish - - -
Inverness - 1 1
Sydney - - -

TABLE NOTES The totals for the health zones (Northern, Eastern, Western, Central) may be different than the totals you'd get by adding up the numbers in the Community Health Networks that make up each zone, because the province doesn't track all cases at the community network level. The zone totals reflect every case in the area; the community network numbers only show cases that can be localized to a region inside the bigger area. The names of the community networks here have been adapted/shortened for simplicity (click to download the province's PDF map with the exhaustively complete network names). All data comes from the Nova Scotia COVID-19 data page. We use a dash (-) instead of a zero (0) where applicable in the health network numbers to make the table easier to read.

Kyle Shaw

Kyle is the editor of The Coast. He was a founding member of the newspaper in 1993 and was the paper’s first publisher. Kyle occasionally teaches creative nonfiction writing (think magazine-style #longreads) and copy editing at the University of King’s College School of Journalism.
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