Nova Scotia reports record 394 new cases of COVID-19, 7 people in hospital
Houston announces new grant for businesses damaged by latest restrictions
Nova Scotia announced 394 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and said seven people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.
The province said there are 295 new cases in central zone, 54 in eastern zone, 27 in northern zone and 18 cases in western zone.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said during a COVID-19 briefing the "sheer volume" of new cases is putting pressure on Public Health as it tries to keep up with tests.
"If you are positive, inform your own close contacts," he said. "So far, the symptoms appear less severe, but it's still COVID."
He said older people or people who are immunocompromised might experience worse symptoms.
"Think about what would happen if things change and people start to get hospitalized," Houston added.
Grant for businesses
Houston said the latest restrictions his government has introduced will damage businesses, so the government will offer a sector-impact support program, which will give those businesses a one-time grant from $2,500 to $7,500.
Houston said St. Francis Xavier University and the student union have each been fined $11,622.50 for not following masking rules at its event.
A St. FX spokesperson confirmed in a statement that tickets had been issued.
"Our current focus remains on supporting our students and the community through this outbreak. We will be investigating operational issues in the weeks ahead," said Cindy MacKenzie.
Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said when vaccinated people get COVID-19, the protection means they experience milder symptoms.
"Thankfully, what we're seeing so far, and elsewhere in Canada, is relatively mild disease," Strang said. "We've only had two new hospitalizations, despite the high number of cases."
Strang said Nova Scotia is fully booked for vaccination appointments in December and he expects to see more open up in January.
He said people in their 50s might be able to get a third shot in January.
"It's really about making sure that each age cohort gets a reasonable time to get immunized, starting with those who are at greatest risk," Strang said. "We have lots of capacity to immunize people and we have lots of vaccine."
Strang said there's a "ripple effect" when people test positive and must isolate and not go to work, or into the community, even if they're not very ill.
"We need to focus more on severe illness and less on overall number of cases and infections," Strang said.
It was the seventh day in a row the province has announced more than 100 new infections.
The previous highest daily case count was 227 new infections on May 7.
In light of the jump in cases, the province has placed tighter restrictions on gatherings and businesses starting Friday. Some bars and restaurants report having to endure staffing challenges with some of them closing temporarily due to employees testing positive.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre said Friday it would be postponing some non-urgent surgeries beginning Monday.
"We regret having to reduce any services. However, Nova Scotia Health, like many other employers, is dealing with rapidly growing numbers of staff having to stay out of the workplace due to exposures while the demand for care remains high," Nova Scotia Health said in a news release.
Patients affected by the decision will be contacted by their surgeon.
Last day of school now Friday
On Wednesday, the province announced the last day of public school classes for the year will be Friday due to the impact of the rising number of COVID-19 cases on staffing levels and the number of students attending class. Students had been expected to remain in the classroom until Dec. 21.
The province added 16 more school exposures on Friday:
- Evangeline Middle School in New Minas.
- Hants East Rural High School in Milford.
- Atlantic Memorial Terence Bay Elementary in Shad Bay.
- Bay View High School in Upper Tantallon.
- Cavalier Drive School in Lower Sackville.
- Charles P. Allen High in Bedford.
- Citadel High School in Halifax
- Dartmouth South Academy in Dartmouth.
- Hammonds Plains Consolidated in Hammonds Plains.
- Madeline Symonds Middle School in Hammonds Plains.
- Millwood Elementary School in Middle Sackville.
- Prospect Road Elementary in Hatchet Lake.
- Sackville High in Lower Sackville.
- Antigonish Education Centre in Antigonish.
- St. Andrew Junior School in Antigonish.
- Strait Area Education and Recreation Centre (SAERC) in Port Hawkesbury
The province maintains a list of school exposures here.
Atlantic Canada case numbers
- New Brunswick reported 163 new cases on Friday. The province has 1,255 active cases. There are 45 people in hospital, 14 in ICU.
- Newfoundland and Labrador reported 46 new cases on Friday. The province has 76 active cases.
- Prince Edward Island reported 31 new cases on Friday, a single-day record for the province. There are 75 active cases, P.E.I.'s highest active case count since the pandemic was declared.