426 new COVID-19 cases (Dec 18 2021)

Today, December 18, Nova Scotia is reporting 426 new cases of COVID-19.

There are 296 cases in Central Zone, 70 cases in Eastern Zone, 35 cases in Northern Zone and 25 cases in Western Zone.

Due to delays with data entry into Panorama (public health’s case management system), the number of positive cases being released today are lab results, not Panorama results. This continues to better reflect the situation on the ground.

Because of a spike in testing and positive cases, public health is experiencing some delays in follow-up. Public health will try to contact anyone confirmed positive by the lab within 24 hours to provide information on required isolation and testing. All cases will be asked to contact their close contacts. This may be the only contact a positive case has with public health. Detailed follow-ups are being prioritized to support contact tracing in schools, long-term care, healthcare facilities, correctional facilities, shelters and other group settings.

All close contacts, including those who are fully vaccinated, now need to isolate for 72 hours after the exposure and then get a lab-based (PCR) test. Those who are fully vaccinated can stop isolating after receiving a negative lab test. Those not fully vaccinated must continue to isolate, following the instructions for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated, found at https://www.nshealth.ca/information-covid-19-close-contacts

It is important that anyone who tests positive with a rapid test self-isolates immediately and gets a PCR test, regardless of vaccination status. If the PCR test is negative, they can stop isolating if they have no symptoms and are fully vaccinated.

On December 17, Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 8,996 tests.

Testing Advice

Symptoms and self-assessment:

Regardless of vaccination status, anyone with symptoms should immediately self-isolate and visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to do a self-assessment. They should also book a COVID-19 test if, in the past 48 hours, they have had or are currently experiencing:

— cough (new or worsening)

Or two or more of the following symptoms:

— fever (chills, sweats)
— headache
— runny nose or nasal congestion
— sore throat
— shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

People should call 811 if they cannot access the online self-assessment or wish to speak with a nurse about their symptoms.

Testing advice for people without symptoms:

People who do not have symptoms but should get tested are listed at: https://www.nshealth.ca/visit-covid-19-testing-site . People who do not meet any of the criteria for asymptomatic testing can get a rapid test at a pop-up site or a mobile unit. Rapid test locations are listed at: https://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus/covid-19-rapid-testing .

People who were advised by public health that they were a close contact of a positive case or if they were at a site listed in a COVID-19 exposure notification should isolate immediately and monitor for symptoms, even if fully vaccinated. They should also book a PCR test for 72 hours after the exposure.

If the test result is negative, people can stop isolating if fully vaccinated. If it is positive, they should continue isolating and follow the public health direction that’s online.

Additional Resources:
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus

Information on provincewide restrictions that took effect December 17 and other public health measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is available at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restrictions-and-guidance/

More information on COVID-19 case data, testing and vaccines is available at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/data/

More information about public health text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts is available here: https://www.nshealth.ca/news/public-health-notifying-positive-covid-19-cases-text-advising-notify-close-contacts

Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus or 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

Source: Release

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