Nova Scotia

N.S. reports 37 new cases of COVID-19; residents urged to get tested

As the province reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, Nova Scotia Health is encouraging more people to get tested.

Head of ICU says signs show province is 'coming out of the wave three slowly'

A nurse uses a swab to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal in October. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total active caseload to 787.

Of the new cases, 22 are in the central zone, 11 are in the eastern zone and four are in the northern zone.

There were 72 people in hospital as of Wednesday, including 19 in intensive care.

Fewer patients are needing ICU care this week compared to last week, said Dr. Tony O'Leary, who runs the intensive care units for COVID-19 patients and serves as the province's medical director of pandemic critical care.

He said another week of declining numbers will give him more confidence that the third wave is receding, and won't return in a "double peak." 

"The reason that we're in a good state is that we've followed that public health messaging, we've worn masks, we've socially distanced during the lockdown," he told CBC News on Wednesday. "That's meant we haven't become overwhelmed, although we did have to escalate services."

Younger patients during 3rd wave

O'Leary said they are seeing younger patients in the third wave, and people staying 10 days to two weeks, which is comparable to other jurisdictions in Canada. He said "proning techniques" have proved effective, which involves getting people to lie on their stomachs to help with breathing, which can prevent ICU admissions.  

He said his staff are tired, but doing an amazing job. 

"They're optimistically confident that we're on a downward trend now and coming out of wave three slowly," he said.

N.S. Health urges people to get tested

As new daily case numbers continue to drop in the third wave, so too has the number of daily COVID-19 tests.

On Tuesday, there were 5,023 tests processed in labs.

Nova Scotia's health authority is asking people to get tested, saying a significant number of appointment slots have been unfilled lately at primary assessment centres across the province. 

Nova Scotians have responded in droves to such calls in the past, especially when there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases. In late November, early March and late April, several thousand tests were done each day, culminating in a high of 19,305 tests processed by labs on May 3.

On Monday, 3,976 were processed — the lowest number since April 19, when 2,722 tests were processed as the third wave was just beginning.

People can book an appointment for a test online or call 811. In addition to tests at primary assessment and other locations, there are pop-up testing sites available as well.

2 people fined $2,422

On Tuesday afternoon, police ticketed two people in Halifax for failing to abide by the Health Protection Act.

Halifax Regional Police said they investigated a report that two people who had travelled outside the country were not self-isolating as required. Both people were given a ticket that comes with a fine of $2,422.

NSCC outlines plan for next year

Meanwhile, another post-secondary institution in the province has announced its plans for the 2021-22 school year. 

The Nova Scotia Community College said it plans to return to more in-person classes, supports and services in the fall while some programs will remain completely online. Others will be a blended delivery model starting in September. 

"The health and safety of our community remains a priority of the college," NSCC president Don Bureaux said in a release Wednesday. 

"Thanks to our employees and students, we have learned a great deal while continuing our operations throughout a global pandemic."

The college follows many Nova Scotia universities that have already announced a return to campus for most classes for the 2021 fall semester, although some will also use a combination of online and in-person.

Atlantic Canada case numbers

  • New Brunswick reported 10 new cases on Wednesday. The province has 134 active cases.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases Wednesday and 93 active cases.
  • P.E.I. reported no new cases Wednesday. The province has 13 active cases.