Today, December 21, Nova Scotia is reporting 522 new cases of COVID-19.
There are 382 cases in Central Zone, 59 cases in Eastern Zone, 38 cases in Northern Zone and 43 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.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) is reporting an outbreak at the Halifax Infirmary site of the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Currently there are a very low number of patients impacted (less than five), and all patients are being closely monitored and other infection prevention and control measures are being put in place. NSHA will provide a further update when more information is available.
NSHA is also reporting an outbreak at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish (also less than five patients). As a precaution, NSHA is testing identified close contacts. Testing will be made available for all staff and doctors on site who want to get tested.
The Province is reporting an outbreak at Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Eastern Passage. Three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. No one is in hospital. All staff and 97 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated. Eighty-six per cent of eligible residents have had a booster shot. Public health is working with the facility to prevent further spread. Increased public health measures and restrictions are in place.
There are no new cases reported at Parkstone Enhanced Care in Halifax. A total of one resident and one staff member at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19. No one is in hospital. All staff and residents are fully vaccinated, and all eligible residents have had a booster shot. Public health is working with the facility to prevent further spread. Increased public health measures and restrictions are in place.
On December 20, NSHA’s labs completed 10,201 tests.
Nine people are in hospital, including three in ICU.
On December 20, nine schools were notified of an exposure(s) at their school. As always, all staff, parents and guardians are notified of exposures if a positive case (student, teacher or staff) was at the school while infectious. A list of schools with exposures is available online: https://backtoschool.ednet.ns.ca/school-exposures
As of December 20, 1,740,158 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 792,848 Nova Scotians have received their second dose, and 90,369 eligible Nova Scotians have received a third dose.
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)
— 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.
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)