Nova Scotia

110 new COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, including one that shuts Halifax Shipyard

Irving has shut its Halifax Shipyard after a positive COVID-19 test from someone connected to its second Arctic and offshore patrol ship. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia reported Thursday the province has distributed its 400,000th dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Irving suspends work until at least Monday after case connected to Arctic and offshore patrol ship

The future HMCS Margaret Brooke floats alongside the Irving shipbuilding yard in Halifax last week, awaiting its first sea trial. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Irving Shipbuilding has shut its Halifax Shipyard after a positive COVID-19 test from someone connected to its second Arctic and offshore patrol ship.

Irving said production operations at the shipyard are paused until at least Monday's day shift. The company said it will provide more details later Thursday.

The company is building six Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the Royal Canadian Navy. One has already been delivered. A second, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke, is undergoing final testing. The company plans to launch a third in 2022, and work on a fourth has begun.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia reported 110 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 155 recoveries. There are 83 new cases in central zone, 12 in eastern zone, nine in western zone and six in northern zone.

The province said eight patients at the Halifax Infirmary who weren't in the COVID unit tested positive for the disease. They are now in the COVID unit. Patients near them have tested negative for the disease and Nova Scotia's health authority is testing staff who worked near them. 

Public Health said there is still community spread in central zone, and the other areas are being watched for signs of such spreading. 

Nova Scotia has 1,572 active cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, with 85 people in hospital including 15 in the intensive care unit. 

On Wednesday, the health authority completed 7,205 tests.

"We are seeing early signs that our case numbers are declining, which is an indication that the restrictions that are in place are working," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "The cases we are seeing have fewer close contacts than cases in previous weeks. We're headed in the right direction, so let's keep up the good work by strictly adhering to the public health protocols."

Staff at the Nova Scotia COVID-19 community vaccine clinic at Cape Breton University celebrate reaching the 400,000 mark. (Submitted by Communications Nova Scotia)

Vaccination milestone hit

Also Thursday, the province distributed its 400,000th dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Since the rollout by age cohort began, about 558,000 people have become eligible to book an appointment in Nova Scotia.

The milestone was reached with a person at a drop-in clinic Thursday in Sydney. The province said a month ago, only 200,000 doses had been given out. As of Wednesday, about 37.5 per cent of Nova Scotians have had at least one dose.

The province has also reached vaccine coverage rates of more than 80 per cent in people aged 60 and older. All licensed long-term care facility residents have been fully vaccinated.

The province also added a wait-list to the vaccine booking page. That means if someone cancels, another person will be offered that spot. 

AstraZeneca side effects 

The province said people scheduled for their first AstaZeneca shot will get an email cancelling that appointment and asking them to book a new spot for another vaccine. 

Nova Scotia is waiting for guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to decide what second shot will be offered to the 57,576 Nova Scotians who've already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This week, Nova Scotia announced it will follow the lead of other provinces and pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine out of "an abundance of caution" over a rare blood-clotting disorder.

The province and Public Health said no one in Nova Scotia has reported a case of vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia, the blood clots connected to the vaccine. 

Nova Scotia said people should watch for the following symptoms between four to 14 days after vaccination and seek immediate medical attention if they occur:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Leg swelling

  • Persistent abdominal pain

  • Sudden onset of severe or persistent worsening headaches or blurred vision

  • Skin bruising (other than at the site of vaccination)

  • A headache that won't go away

  • Blurred vision

Atlantic Canada case numbers

  • New Brunswick reported 16 new cases on Thursday. There are now 127 active cases. Six people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.

  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported seven new cases on Thursday for a total of 82 active cases.

  • P.E.I. had one new case on Thursday, with seven total active cases.