For the tenth day in a row, the number of active COVID-19 cases across the province has gone up. For the second day in a row, the current surge of infections has set a new record for most new cases in a day. This is the situation on the fourth day of lockdown in Nova Scotia's COVID third wave.
The province is reporting 66 new cases on Monday, April 26. "Sixty cases are in Central Zone," says the official daily report, "eight of which were identified Sunday, April 25, at:
• Chebucto Heights Elementary, Halifax
• Joseph Howe Elementary, Halifax
• Oxford School, Halifax
• Bedford South School, Bedford
• Atlantic View Elementary, Lawrencetown
• Brookhouse Elementary, Dartmouth
• Cole Harbour District High, Dartmouth
• Nelson Whynder Elementary, North Preston
Three cases are in Eastern Zone, one of which was identified Sunday, April 25, at Jubilee Elementary in Sydney Mines. Two cases are in Western Zone, and one case is in Northern Zone."
There are now 323 active cases in the province. (The peak remains 466 active cases at the height of the first wave, April 19, 2020.)
A surge of testing has come with the increase in infections: 11,335 tests were completed by local labs yesterday, a record high for one day, nearly double the current daily average. The number of people in hospitals is holding at five, as it's been since Saturday, but there are now two people in intensive care. These are the first ICU patients since March 16, or 40 days ago.
Halifax has only been locked down for four days, not enough time to take the edge off a disease that has an incubation period around 14 days, so today the province announced two further steps in restrictions.
The first is a further tightening of things in the rest of the province outside the lockdown zone (Halifax Regional Municipality and some surrounding areas). This builds on the travel and gathering restrictions announced yesterday by capping restaurants at 50 percent capacity, plus other stuff spelled out in the official announcement.
Related Halifax goes back into lockdown to fight community spread: The third wave has arrived, bringing with it four weeks of restrictions.
Related Short-staffed and with sick students, Halifax schools close for two weeks: The government will re-assess by May 7.
The second step is more radical: closing all public schools in the lockdown zone. The closure starts tomorrow, Tuesday, April 27 at 8am. Remote learning will begin this Thursday, April 29.
“Every decision we make for our schools is out of an abundance of caution and in consultation with public health,” says education and early childhood development minister Derek Mombourquette in the press release about the closure. "I know this will be difficult for some families, but Nova Scotians have shown time and time again that they’ll step up in our fight against this virus.”
Mombourquette is way off the mark with "difficult for some." This sucks pretty universally, and the province knows it. As top doc Robert Strang in the release, “The best place for children and youth is in school, for their social, physical and mental well-being.” It's also best for working adults not to pause their incomes and careers to do a bad job at preparing the next generation to meet the challenges the future holds. But apparently the disease has gotten bad enough for this option.
"With the number of community and school cases rising and the impact on students, teachers and staff, I support the decision to move to at home learning in the greater Halifax area, as an additional measure," says Strang. "If we all do our part, our kids may be able to return to the classroom soon.”
Where Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 cases are on Monday, April 26
|HEALTH ZONE & NETWORK||NEW CASES||CLOSED CASES||ACTIVE CASES|
|Western zone totals||2 new||1 closed||12 active|
|Central zone totals||60 new||4 closed||266 active|
|Northern zone totals||1 new||0 closed||12 active|
|Eastern zone totals||5 new||3 closed||33 active|
TABLE NOTES The totals for the health zones (Northern, Eastern, Western, Central) may be different than the totals you'd get by adding up the numbers in the Community Health Networks that make up each zone. The zone totals reflect every case in the area, while the community network numbers only show cases that can be localized with the patient's postal code to a region inside the bigger area. Because case information may be updated by the province after cases are announced, two things that lead to different totals are common: 1. the province never gets the information to track some case(s) at the community network level, usually leading to a higher number of cases in the zone total than the sum of the networks, and 2. a case may appear in the network day(s) after it was announced when a case that didn't have a postal code receives one, usually leading to a lower number of cases in the zone total than the sum of the networks. The names of the community networks here have been adapted/shortened for simplicity (click to download the province's PDF map with the exhaustively complete network names). All data comes from the Nova Scotia COVID-19 data page. We use a dash (-) instead of a zero (0) where applicable in the health network numbers to make the table easier to read.