Nova Scotia

'Heading in the right direction': Nova Scotia reports 86 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Nova Scotia is reporting 86 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, and 115 recoveries. The last time the province reported fewer than 100 new daily cases was April 30, just days after the province ordered a lockdown to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Province reports fewer than 100 new daily cases for first time since April

Kelly Clark reacts after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Kevin Orrell at Nova Scotia's first drive-thru vaccination clinic at the Dartmouth General Hospital in Dartmouth this week. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia announced 86 new cases and 115 recoveries in Saturday's COVID-19 update.

The last time the province reported fewer than 100 new daily cases was April 30, just days after the province went into lockdown to help prevent the spread of the virus.

"I'm pleased to see that our new case number is a double-digit figure for the first time in more than two weeks," Premier Iain Rankin said in a news release from the Department of Health.

"Thanks to the sacrifices of Nova Scotians, we're seeing hopeful signs of a downward trend. However, we must stick with the restrictions and public health measures to stop the spread while we continue to vaccinate more and more Nova Scotians."

There are 66 new cases in the central health zone, including a staff member at The Ivy Meadows, a long-term care facility in Beaver Bank.

While most residents have been fully vaccinated, Public Health has advised residents and staff in the affected unit to be tested for COVID-19.

There are also 11 new cases in the eastern health zone, five in the northern zone and four in the western zone.

The new cases were identified among 10,272 tests completed by Nova Scotia Heath labs on Friday.

Premier Iain Rankin and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang implemented a provincial lockdown in Nova Scotia just over two weeks ago. (Communications Nova Scotia)

The province now has 1,509 known active cases.

"Today's new case number shows that things are heading in the right direction, and the hard work we're doing is helping to slow the spread," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said in the release.

"We all must continue to follow the public health protocols to bring those numbers down and be in a position to start re-opening in June."

There have been more hospitalizations in Nova Scotia in the third wave of the pandemic than in the first and second waves combined.

There are now 96 people in hospital, including 23 in intensive care. Current hospitalizations include people in their early 20s to people in their 90s.

According to the Department of Health, the median age of people hospitalized in the third wave is 55 for non-ICU, and 58 for people in ICU.

Increase in testing, vaccinations

At Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Strang said there are a few communities with clusters of cases outside the central zone. They are Sydney, Bridgewater, and the Annapolis Valley from Middleton to Kentville.

Broad testing will be available in those communities in the coming days to determine if there are cases in those communities Public Health is not yet aware of.

Nova Scotia's vaccine rollout is "slightly ahead of schedule," Strang said, adding that least 45 per cent of all eligible people have received one or both doses.

Vaccination appointments opened to people 35 to 39 on Friday.

As of Thursday, 415,570 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 38,830 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.

Anti-mask rally cancelled

On Friday, Nova Scotia was granted an injunction to block all anti-public health order protests, including an anti-mask rally that was planned for Saturday in Halifax.

The ban prevents Freedom Nova Scotia and similar groups from staging illegal gatherings in defiance of Nova Scotia's public health orders.

The injunction also allows police to arrest and detain individuals attending these gatherings, as it would be a clear violation of a court order.

Although organizers cancelled the event, Halifax Regional Police did intervene when a handful of protesters showed up at Citadel Hill Saturday afternoon.

The injunction will remain in effect until the provincial state of emergency is lifted.

Atlantic Canada case numbers

  • New Brunswick reported seven new cases on Saturday. There are now 113 active cases. Eleven people are hospital, including two in intensive care.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported five new cases on Saturday for a total of 78 active cases. One person is in hospital.
  • P.E.I. reported one new case on Saturday. The new case is an individual in their 20s who is a close contact of a previously announced case related to a child-care centre. The province has 10 active cases.