Nova Scotia reports 4 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday
2 of the cases are students who travelled outside the Atlantic region
Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
Three of the new cases are in the central health zone. One was a close contact of a previously reported case. The other two are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. One is a student at Dalhousie University in Halifax who lives off-campus.
The case in the eastern health zone is a student at Cape Breton University in Sydney who lived off-campus and travelled outside the region. That case was reported Friday but not included in the official case tally until Saturday.
All the new cases are self-isolating.
There are 30 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, down two from Friday. No one is in hospital with the virus.
Nova Scotia Health Authority labs conducted 2,293 Nova Scotia tests on Friday.
Premier Stephen McNeil is commending students for "following health protocols," according to a release from the province.
"We are seeing young people at universities taking the isolation requirement seriously and I want to thank them for protecting the health of others in their school community," he said.
The province is continuing to urge students who have returned from outside of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland or P.E.I. to book a COVID-19 test on the sixth, seventh or eighth day of their quarantine, regardless if they have symptoms.
Any students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must complete a self-assessment online or call 811. Students still must complete their 14-day isolation period even with a negative test result.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said the low numbers are encouraging but warned against complacency.
"While this is good news, we must remember COVID-19 is still in our communities and we must all do our part to prevent its spread," he said in a news release.
New potential exposures
Late Saturday, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced two new possible COVID-19 exposures on flights into Halifax from Toronto.
Officials are asking anyone who was on the following flights in the specified seats to immediately book a test through the province's self-assessment website or contact 811, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms:
- Swoop flight 408 travelling on Jan. 8 from Toronto (5:30 p.m.) to Halifax (8:30 p.m.), passengers in rows 16-22 seats A, B, C and D. Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Jan. 22.
- Air Canada flight 604 travelling on Jan. 5 from Toronto (8:00 a.m.) to Halifax (11:00 a.m.), passengers in rows 22-28 in seats C, D, E and F. Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Jan. 19.
All other passengers on this flight must continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
Reduction in vaccine supply
At a news briefing on Friday, the premier said Nova Scotia will continue to hold back second doses of COVID-19 vaccine until it is guaranteed there will be no interruption in supply.
McNeil said he understands the concerns people have with the rollout, but stressed the importance of moving the vaccine throughout the province safely and effectively.
He said the province had administered 7,600 doses of the vaccine as of late Thursday, which included 2,200 front-line health-care workers who have received their second dose.
Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the province had received 13,000 doses of vaccine prior to Thursday. Most of that supply has been administered or has been scheduled for second doses.
Pfizer had recently said it will temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine to Canada. The pharmaceutical giant is pausing some production lines at a facility in Belgium in order to expand long-term manufacturing capacity.
In an email, a spokesperson from Nova Scotia Health said it has been notified it should expect fewer Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses each week for a month.
"We have solid processes in place to manage a decrease or increase in vaccine supply. We can adjust our clinics to accommodate the amount of vaccine we receive," the email said.
Mandatory testing for rotational workers
Mandatory testing for rotational workers came into effect Friday. Workers will now be required to get a test within two days of returning to Nova Scotia and again about a week later.
If rotational workers do not get tested, they will be fined $1,000. Regardless of the test result, they must still complete their 14-day modified self-isolation.
A mobile health unit was set up in Truro , N.S., on Thursday in response to an increase in the number of potential exposures in the area in the last week. A full list of exposures in the province can be found here.
On Friday, Nova Scotia Health said the unit will be expanded for four more days of testing. Drop-in testing will be available on Saturday at the NSCC Truro Campus from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday through Tuesday at the convention centre in the Best Western Glengarry from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Atlantic Canada case numbers
- New Brunswick reported 27 new cases on Saturday and has 267 active cases. Three people are in hospital with the virus.
- Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases on Saturday. The province has five active cases. One person is in hospital with the virus.
- P.E.I. reported one new case and eight active cases on Thursday.
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With files from Cassidy Chisholm