Nova Scotia reporting 14 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday
There are now 114 active cases in the province
Nova Scotia reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the province's total active cases to 114.
Twelve of the new cases are in the central health zone, with one case each in the northern and western zones.
Nova Scotia Health labs completed 2,253 tests Wednesday.
An additional 856 tests were administered Wednesday at a rapid-testing pop-up in downtown Halifax with five positive results. Those people were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test.
The health authority also warned Thursday of several potential exposures to the virus in the Halifax, Bedford and Dartmouth areas. A full list of exposures in the province can be found here.
In recent weeks, a small number of Nova Scotia Health employees have tested positive for COVID-19, spokesperson Brendan Elliot said in an email.
Elliot said it's fewer than five people across the province, but declined to be more specific citing privacy reasons. All employees who test positive are required to immediate self-isolate away from the workplace.
Rapid testing coming to long-term care
The province has a large supply of rapid testing kits and the plan is to make them available in nursing homes so staff can be regularly tested.
"We know that the asymptomatic carrier was the problem in the first wave. Nursing home staff, if sick, would stay at home, but asymptomatic [people] can bring it in," Leo Glavine, the province's health minister, said Thursday.
Although he would like to see dedicated staff in each care home to minimize exposure, Glavine could not say whether some workers would need to move between more than one facility.
New restrictions in effect
New restrictions came into effect Thursday in most of the Halifax Regional Municipality and parts of Hants County.
The restrictions include stopping dine-in service at bars and restaurants and closing gyms, libraries, museums and casinos for at least the next two weeks. Masks are also mandatory in common areas of multi-unit dwellings like apartments and condos.
A list of what's open and closed in the Halifax region can be found here.
Across the province, visitations to long-term care facilities are no longer allowed unless the person is a volunteer or designated caregiver.
All other Atlantic provinces, most recently New Brunswick, have brought back mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers. But as of Thursday evening, Nova Scotia's policy on regional travel remained unchanged.
"We respect the decision of New Brunswick. At this time, Nova Scotia is focused on the new measures that came into effect [Thursday], including the strong recommendation from Public Health to avoid non-essential travel," provincial spokesperson Marla MacInnis said in an email.
COVID cases in the Atlantic provinces
The latest numbers from the Atlantic provinces are:
- New Brunswick reported 12 new cases Thursday and has a total of 105 active cases. Effective midnight Thursday, anyone arriving in the province from all other provinces, including the Atlantic provinces, must self-isolate for 14 days.
- Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new cases Wednesday and has 28 active cases. Effective Wednesday, anyone arriving in the province from within the Maritimes will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
- P.E.I. reported one new case Wednesday and has two active case. As of Tuesday, anyone travelling to P.E.I. from other Atlantic provinces will have to quarantine for two weeks. Anyone who has returned from Nova Scotia or New Brunswick in the past week should limit their contact with others. As well, Islanders are being asked to not travel for the holidays.
Anyone with one of the following symptoms should visit the COVID-19 self-assessment website or call 811:
- Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the website or call 811:
- Sore throat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Runny nose.