NOTE: This week is now over. For the very latest news, please go here. But for an informative look back at exactly how Nova Scotia responded to COVID-19 in realtime, keep on reading.
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Editor's note: In its 28 years The Coast has never been a just-the-facts news service, but for these strange times this news centre offers quick-hit updates.
Nova Scotia has now gone five days straight without a new case of COVID-19, according to today’s provincial update. The last person who caught the disease is still in the ICU, which is disconcerting. But otherwise it’s a good day in the new New Zealand.
Hmmm. Could Nova Zealand be a thing? Watch for us to drop that into conversation in coming days.
A gorgeous weekend day brings COVID-19 news from the province of nobody joining that single infected patient in the ICU, plus no new infections diagnosed. That’s four days in a row without a case. It may not sound like much, but it’s the second-longest case-free streak of any province, behind only Newfoundland and Labrador, which is going for eight days today.
For truly long streaks, we turn to the North. The Yukon should reach 50 days today, and that’s relatively short. The Northwest Territories are going on 173 days, a strong effort. But leading Canada if not the world is Nunavut, among the least C19-touched jurisdictions on the planet, with zero cases all-time for an infection-free streak (counted from February 1, when the country had just four cases) of 239 days.
No cases! For the third day in a row, the provincial COVID-19 update is reporting no new cases of the disease have been discovered. On that note, have a great weekend, everybody!
Those sure are some nice sunny skies left behind in the wake of Hurricane Teddy (which, we know, wasn’t technically a hurricane by the time it reached Nova Scotia, but you trying squeezing SEO juice out of the search term “Teddy the post-tropical cyclone”). To go with the cheery weather, the province issued a positive COVID-19 update: no new cases, nobody dead from the wretched disease.
One person is still in hospital—in the ICU, even—so there’s room for improvement. But things didn’t get worse, which counts for a lot in the time of Covid.
It’s always nice to see aspects of the old normal return to the new normal. The latest example is the fall recreation slate from the city, which starts swinging into action October 1.
The press release making the Halifax Regional Municipality’s announcement divides the city’s rec options into three types: recreation programming, arenas and recreation centres. The highlights of programming are that the available programs will be up for browsing October 1 at the city’s myREC site; registration opens a week later, October 8, online, by phone at 902-490-6666 or in person at George Dixon Community Centre, Sackville Sports Stadium, Musquodoboit Harbour Recreation Centre, Findlay Community Centre, Chocolate Lake Recreation Centre and/or Captain William Spry Community Centre; and the programs run for eight weeks starting the October 19 week.
For arenas, the city expects all municipal arenas to be open by October 1, including ice surfaces. A participant is allowed one masked, physically distanced spectator in attendance, depending on the arena’s capacity. (Hockey moms and other sports fans can get the full health guidelines are here.)
And city recreation centres will reopen October 15. Different centres may have different approaches, so the best source of information is checking with the individual facilities. “Access to fitness centres, pools and attendance in fitness class will be available by appointment only to ensure safety and proper public health protocols,” says the city’s announcement. “Appointments may be booked over the phone or online through halifax.ca/myREC.”
With the post-tropical cyclone formerly known as Hurricane Teddy making landfall this morning near Ecum Secum, there isn’t a lot of attention left for the stupid virus right now. And luckily none is needed. The province is reporting no fresh COVID-19 activity: zero new cases, and the patient announced yesterday remains in the ICU. Now back to those storm chips.
After yesterday’s confusing news about a probable case, today brings a very clear COVID-19 report from the province. Unfortunately it’s not a good kind of clarity: There’s been a new case confirmed in the Western health zone, the area of Nova Scotia that includes Yarmouth, Digby and Bridgewater.
Top doc Robert Strang gave a webcast briefing today with premier Stephen McNeil. During that session, Strang said the newly diagnosed person is a worker who’s returned to Nova Scotia after travel outside Canada, and while the public health investigation is not yet final, it “appears this individual had very few close contacts.”
The patient is currently in hospital in the ICU.
The province is reporting no new “confirmed” COVID-19 cases today. Which ought to be cause for celebration because that’s 14 days—a two-week coronavirus incubation cycle—without a new case. But instead, we get confusion. Because the province is also reporting a “probable” case. Should the streak stay or should it go?
The probable case involves a Dalhousie student who “returned from travel outside the Atlantic Bubble” as the province’s C19 report says. This person doesn’t live in a dorm, and as required they went into a two-week quarantine when they got back. They also got an “indeterminate” result on a C19 test, which is treated like a positive in terms of what precautions are used around the patient, but the test is not counted on any of the province’s public statistics. So yeah, Nova Scotia technically doesn’t have any active cases right now.
Confused? The provincial report has an explanatory paragraph to try to deal with that. Here it is, cut and pasted verbatim.
Indeterminate test results do not provide a negative or positive. They may occur because someone previously had COVID-19 and the virus is still detectable in their system, or someone has been tested before the virus is fully detectable. In these situations, public health conducts further assessment, including whether someone had or has symptoms or was recently exposed to someone with COVID-19, to inform how the case is treated. Since probable cases are not confirmed to be positive, they are not included in the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.
We have to admit there are now two coronavirus solitudes in the country: one is made up of the North and the east coast, the other is the rest. The six provinces west of Atlantic Canada where COVID-19 is thriving. Not in decline, as the virus was in June (see above chart of 14-day infection totals). Not a holdout position stubbornly refusing to go away, as we could rationalize through July and August. September has brought an undeniably surge of infections in every province beyond the Atlantic bubble of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Yes, there are other things to discuss today in NS, including a Dalhousie student’s probable C19 case, the report on the disease’s particularly deadly course at the Northwood long-term care facility and Hurricane Teddy’s approach. But in the big pandemic picture, it’s good to start the week with awareness of how things are unfolding in the rest of Canada. Next time you get annoyed at putting on a mask or waiting outside a store, just remember how good we (currently) have it here.
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