Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia reports 1 new death, 163 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday

Nova Scotia reported 163 new cases of COVID-19 and one death on Saturday.

2 cases are staff members of care facilities, 1 in Halifax and the other in Lunenburg

There are 50 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, nine in intensive care. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Nova Scotia reported one death related to COVID-19 and 163 new cases of the virus on Saturday.

The death, a man in his 70s, is in the central health zone. It is the province's 71st COVID-related death.

The number of active cases marks a significant decrease from the previous day's figure of 227.

On Friday, Premier Iain Rankin indicated there were more than 200 positive results that had not been logged into the data entry system. It is unclear if any of that backlog is included in today's figures. 

Two of the new cases are staff members at care facilities.

One is a staff member of Melville Gardens, a residential care facility in Halifax. The other case is a staff member at Harbour View Haven, a nursing home in Lunenburg.

Most residents at the facilities have been fully vaccinated but are being isolated in their rooms while staff and residents are tested. 

The majority of the new cases, 134, are in the central health zone.

There are 13 cases in the northern zone and eight each in the eastern and western zones. 

Nova Scotia now has 1,538 active cases of COVID-19.

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 6,911 tests on Friday.

In a news release, Rankin called on Nova Scotians to do their part to get the virus in check. 

"The actions of every single Nova Scotian are critical right now. Everyone has a role to play. So, let's do it together. Let's get this virus under control," he said.

Demographic shift

As a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps Nova Scotia, more young and healthy people are being admitted to intensive care, according to a Halifax physician.

"We've had patients who are as young as their early 20s being in the ICU sick with COVID, and right on through from 20s onward up to their 40s, 50s and 60s," Dr. Sarah McMullen, an intensive care physician in Halifax, told CBC News Network on Saturday.

McMullen said COVID-19 hospitalizations were reserved for the elderly and those with underlying conditions during the first wave. That is no longer the case.

"Some of them are perfectly healthy at baseline, actually, so [it's a] bit of a demographic shift from what we've seen in the first wave," she said.

Dr. Sarah McMullen is an intensive care physician in Halifax. She says more young and healthy people have been admitted into the ICU during the third wave of the pandemic. (CBC)

As of Saturday, 49 people were in the hospital with COVID-19, seven in intensive care.

McMullen said there were about eight people on ventilators in the ICU on Saturday morning, but she expects ICU admissions to peak in the next seven to 10 days.

She warned that although the mortality rate in the ICU has been low, there is a "significant chance of death and dying" when a patient reaches the stage of needing a ventilator.

"It's a scary and lonely time for patients and their families going through this, regardless of where they are in hospital, but in particular in the intensive care unit," she said. 

More restrictions in place

On Friday, Rankin announced more restrictions and lockdown measures to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

Schools will remain closed for at least the remainder of May, and households must now designate one person to do essential shopping. Otherwise, Nova Scotians are encouraged to stay home during the third wave of the pandemic.

Starting Monday at 8 a.m., the province's border will close to people entering from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador until at least the end of the month. The border will also be closed to anyone moving to Nova Scotia.

The province also expanded vaccine eligibility for Nova Scotians 45 to 49 on Friday.

People in the new age group may now book appointments for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines

This age group is also eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Nova Scotia's vaccine rollout continues with 356,978 doses of vaccine administered, including 37,630 second doses as of Friday.

New rapid testing site in Halifax

A new rapid testing site opened in Halifax on Saturday. 

People aged 16 and older without symptoms can now visit the Canada Games Centre in Clayton Park from noon to 7 p.m. this weekend to be tested for COVID-19.

Rapid testing is only open to people who haven't travelled, haven't been at an exposure location and are not a close contact of a positive case.

A list of rapid testing sites across the province can be found here.

Testing outside Halifax

A release from Nova Scotia Health on Saturday said because of low-risk potential exposures and positive cases in the in and around the South Shore and Annapolis Valley, asymptomatic testing sites will be available Saturday to Monday in the affected areas. Testing is available at:

  • Gateway Plaza at 200-215 Dominion St., Bridgewater from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Lunenburg Municipal Building at 210 Aberdeen Rd., Bridgewater from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Liverpool  at 157 School St. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Acadia University Club  at 17 Westwood Ave., Wolfville from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Berwick Fire Hall at 300 Commercial St., Berwick from 8 to 7:30 p.m.

 Atlantic Canada case numbers

  • New Brunswick reported eight new cases and one new death on Saturday. There are now 141 active cases.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported six new COVID-19 cases for a total of 67 active cases Saturday.
  • P.E.I. announced one new case Friday and now has 10 active cases.