NOTE: This week is now over. For the very latest news, please go here. But for an informative look back at exactly how Nova Scotia responded to COVID-19 in realtime, keep on reading.
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Editor's note: In its 28 years The Coast has never been a just-the-facts news service, but for these strange times this news centre offers quick-hit updates.
Sunday, September 13
The week ends on a high note of low numbers
Even with universities ramping up and grade schools across the province welcoming back over 100,000 students to classrooms this week, there hasn’t been a case of COVID-19 diagnosed in Nova Scotia for six days straight. It’s a weird, wonderful situation.
As well as reporting no new cases today, the province’s C19 update says there remains one person with an active case, and that patient is not in the hospital. More reports like that will be very welcome in the coming week.
Saturday, September 12
Down to one active case
Between no new cases and one patient recovered, today’s COVID-19 report from the province announced that Nova Scotia has just one active case right now. The patient is not sick enough to be in the hospital.
That’s five days in a row without a diagnosed case in the province. Nice work.
And there’s even better news in the NS Health Authority’s Northern zone (think the large area including Truro, Pictou and up to the New Brunswick border. After a full C19 incubation cycle, 14 days, without a case, the Northern zone’s status gets downgraded to green on our awesome case map. Check it out above.
Three more days without a case, and the Eastern and Western zones will go back to green, too. Please keep you fingers crossed until Tuesday, and in the meantime enjoy a fun, safe weekend.
Friday, September 11
So few cases we need to import them
Today’s COVID-19 report from the province includes a situation that is unprecedented—at least to our admittedly imperfect memory—in Nova Scotia’s history with this rotten disease. But first, the basics.
For the fourth day in a row, no new cases have been diagnosed here. (This lack of cases is both precedented and awesome.) There remain two patients who have C19, but neither is in hospital. And we checked with the province, and there’s no update on the case of the nurse who was announced as a new diagnosis on Monday, but turns out to possibly maybe be Canada’s first known case of someone getting reinfected after already having the disease months ago. (Top doc Robert Strang talked about this at the webcast briefing on Wednesday, as described in this week’s edition of The Float email newsletter. If you don’t get it, you should subscribe!)
Getting back to the weird new thing, there is a sorta new case that the province is dealing with. Here’s the line from the report: “Public health is managing and investigating a case of COVID-19 that is in Nova Scotia but had been identified in another province. Since the person tested positive in another province, the case is not included in the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.
As the report says, the transplanted case isn’t in our diagnosed total of 1,086 cases. But the transplant isn’t in our active number of cases either (we checked with the province on this, too). So technically there are three people known to have COVID-19 in Nova Scotia right now, although only two of them are home grown. We’ve included this case on the map, locating it somewhere offshore, pending further updates.
Speaking of map updates, yesterday we corrected an error that had been on the map for a couple days. In the Central health zone, the last new case was announced September 7—the potentially reinfected nurse—not September 8. We’re sorry for the error.
Thursday, September 10
Just a week ago, six people in Nova Scotia had active cases of COVID-19. As of today’s pandemic update from the province, which features no new cases and one person recovered from the disease, there are only two active patients. And neither of them is sick enough to be in the hospital. So far back to school week is going well, with three case-free days in a row. Right on.
Wednesday, September 9
40,000 percent more cases
No new cases, no patients recovered, nobody dead. The province’s COVID-19 report is wonderfully boring today. That’s always been good to see during the pandemic, but it may be even more welcome now that infections are rising in the rest of Canada.
The latest data—that’s up to and including yesterday’s numbers from across the country—shows the six provinces to the west of the Atlantic bubble are diagnosing new infections at a rate that hasn’t been this high since June 14.
The statistic we use in the following chart is the number of new cases announced over the last 14 days; that’s the two-week C19 incubation cycle measured backward from each day (hence “rolling”). It shows how active the virus is over the full course of its ability to spread, and gives the trend of whether it’s spreading faster or slower. We think this is a vital measure when considering the risks of opening the east coast to the rest of Canada without any quarantine restrictions.
On July 9, exactly two months ago, the number of new cases in the six western provinces hit a recent low of 4,170 in one incubation cycle. Yesterday, that number was nearly double at 7,760. (The slight drop the day earlier is due to some provinces not reporting numbers on the Labour Day holiday; the September 8 total would be 7,760 cases whether or not labs took a day off, precisely because the number is looking at every diagnosis announced in the two weeks prior.)
If you click on “Other provinces” in the legend at the bottom of the chart, that data will disappear, changing the scale of daily infections at the left side to reveal the relatively tiny numbers of new cases in the Atlantic bubble and the almost-complete lack of infections in the North. Yesterday, the four Atlantic provinces had a total of 19 cases in the latest incubation cycle.
In other words, the rest of Canada had (7,760 cases divided by 19 cases equals) more than 400 times as many cases as the east coast yesterday. That’s not 400 percent, but 40,000 percent more cases outside the Atlantic bubble.
To be sure, those other six provinces have a much larger population than the east coast provinces: nearly 33 million people compared to just over two million, according to 2016 census figures. That’s 14 times or 1,400 percent bigger. A large difference. But not as large as the difference in COVID-19 infections.
Tuesday, September 8
Potential exposure at Canada Games Centre
Were you getting all healthy and fit at the gym last week? Awesome if that was you, except we have a little warning to pass on—you might have been exposed to this stupid deadly disease that’s going around.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority published an advisory today about possible COVID-19 exposure at the fitness centre inside the Canada Games Centre, near Bayers Lake. The advisory covers a string of five days, from Friday, August 28 through Tuesday, September 1. Here’s how the NSHA worded the warning.
Public Health is advising of potential public exposure to COVID-19 in the Fitness Centre at Canada Games Centre, 26 Thomas Raddall Drive, Halifax on the following dates/times:
• August 28, 29, 30 from 10 am to 1 pm
• August 31 and September 1 from 5 pm to 8 pm
Public Health has been directly contacting anyone known to be a contact of the case involved. The risk of exposure is low, however Public Health is asking patrons of the fitness centre to self-monitor for development of symptoms. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the dates noted may develop symptoms up to, and including, 14 days from their last potential exposure.
The NSHA doesn’t give any details about who had C19 at the fitness centre, like how many people there were, or it they are a staffer or someone working out. The Canada Games Centre, which was told about the potential exposure Monday night, posted about it today, suggesting there was a single infected person who was there to work out: “The individual followed all CGC protocols including wearing a mask to and from the Fitness Centre, wiping down equipment, and social distancing while exercising.”
The CGC’s post includes some “Actions We’ve Taken” to address the exposure warning. “In addition to the ongoing disinfecting during and in between time slots, the CGC also performs a deep clean of all areas overnight. Following the news of the potential exposure, we took advantage of the facility’s closure on Labour Day to thoroughly clean and disinfect the Fitness Centre again.”
City hall edges back to normal
Among many kinds of gatherings that were stopped when COVID-19 arrived in March, city hall put an end to in-person meetings of regional council, as well as various board and committee meetings. But today came news that some face-to-face meetings can resume. First up, that exciting shindig known as the Appeals Standing Committee, this Thursday at 10am!
OK, it’s not exactly letting bars stay open to all hours without restrictions on crowd size or movements. (Party off, BC.) It’s not even council meetings happening in person. But as a (baby) step in the right direction of improving democratic participation and accountability, we’ll take it.
Here’s more info about what meeting are, and aren’t, getting back to normal—plus what “normal” looks like in the new C19 normal—as copied from the city’s public service announcement:
All standing committee meetings are approved to return to in-person sessions. Given the size of these committees, relative to the meeting space, arrangements have been made to facilitate these meetings in-person while adhering to current public health directives.
The Appeals Standing Committee will be the first in-person meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10 at City Hall. This meeting will be open to the public and media. Note that there will be limitations on the number of attendees in order to adhere to public health directives. All those who wish to attend the meeting must register in advance by contacting the Clerk’s Office at [email protected] no later than 4:30 p.m. the day before the meeting.
As space allows, up to two to three residents from the same household can be accommodated when attending the meeting. Appellants/property owners and municipal staff will be limited to essential representatives only. All attendees must sign-in at the front desk, sanitize, and wear a mask at all times while in the building. Physical distancing of six feet (two metres) must be maintained.
Meetings of Regional Council, the Board of Police Commissioners and community council meetings will continue to be held virtually using Microsoft Teams. Other meetings, (e.g. advisory committees, committee meetings etc.) will continue to be held via teleconference or will be rescheduled to a later date. For meetings held via teleconference, meeting minutes will be posted online as soon as possible after the conclusion of the meeting.
View the agenda for the Appeals Standing Committee meeting at https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/standing-committees/september-10-2020-appeals-standing-committee
“The most important metre”
After yesterday’s new case marred the otherwise case-free long weekend, we are back to no new diagnoses today. The province’s daily COVID-19 update also says one patient who recently contracted the disease has recovered, leaving Nova Scotia with three active cases. This feels like an auspicious way to welcome the start of public school around the province.
Hopefully we’ll continue to have many days without cases even as something like 120,000 students (up to and including Grade 12) and 10,000 teachers start gathering in classrooms that don’t necessarily afford two metres of physical distancing between each desk. “Our goal is to have at least a metre space between desks,” as NS top public health doc Robert Strang described the back to school plan in July. “And it's that first metre which is the most important metre.”
Monday, September 7
Long weekend C19
vacation (part three, the worst part)
The Labour Day long weekend started strong, featuring two days in a row—Saturday and Sunday—without a case. We were loving that the coronavirus seemed to be taking a break in Nova Scotia to match the human holiday. But unfortunately on Labour Day itself, the disease decided to get back to work: Today the province is reporting a new case in the Central health zone (Halifax and a wide margin of environs).
The province’s official COVID-19 report to media doesn’t give any details about the new case, such as whether the patient is a university student or if the case is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. It only says the case is “under investigation by Public Health.” Four people in Nova Scotia are currently known to be infected.
Until now, the Central zone hadn’t had a case for 15 days. On our C19 map (above), which gives more info and history than the province’s version, just yesterday Central had changed colour from yellow to green. That showed the region had gone a full two-week incubation cycle without a new case, a welcome milestone that is erased by Central switching to red to indicate a daily diagnosis. All the other regions remain yellow because their most recent cases were within the last couple weeks.
News updates archives
August 31 week. August 24 week. August 17 week. August 10 week. August 3 week. July 27 week. July 20 week. July 13 week. July 6 week. June 29 week. June 22 week. June 15 week. June 8 week. June 1 week. May 25 week. May 18 week. May 11 week. May 4 week. April 27 week. April 20 week. April 13 week.