Today, Premier McNeil and Dr Strang held a press conference to update on COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. Here is the summary:
- Over 5400 rapid tests have been done, with 21 testing positive with no symptoms to date. This helps us contain the virus.
- Mobile testing units will allow us to bring tests to communities where and when needed. Tomorrow, there will be 1 in Northeast Kings Education Centre.
- 226 new cases since the 2nd wave began October 1.
- Encouraging to see the stabilization of numbers the last few days, especially with the increase in testing, though it's much too early to relax. This is just one indicator we look at when determining if we can lift restrictions. We now have 8 close contacts per positive case. There were 3 on average during the first wave. This is why it's important to reduce social contacts.
- Most of the virus activity currently is during social interactions, whereas it was travel related cases and close contacts primarily during the first wave.
- Halifax restrictions are in place until December 9 and then it will be determined which measures, if any need to be extended based on our key indicators.
- Regarding travel restrictions, we are asking people to limit travel in and out of the affected areas in Halifax. When people move, the virus moves with it and we need to protect the rest of our province whilst we deal with Halifax. Essential travel is still allowed (school, work, medical etc...) and people should not be denied services in their home communities because they have to travel to Halifax. Access to restaurants etc... should not happen to these essential workers. However, non-essential travel is still a concern, such as coming into Halifax or leaving Halifax to go shopping, get a Christmas tree etc... please stay in Halifax if you live in Halifax unless it's for essential purposes, save for those travelling into Halifax. Stay close to home and respect capacity limits.
- Many more people appear to be not wearing a mask than would make sense because of medical conditions, this includes on buses and in Access NS etc... Stop looking for loopholes and stop making excuses and arguing with bus drivers, retails workers etc... Masks work and they are a necessary part of our response. It's challenging to enforce as there are people who have legitimate reasons. We don't want people who are legitimate to be denied services. ( (Dr Strang) have a 15 year old son with a significant disability who cannot wear a mask. We are careful where we take him but sometimes he has to be out and cannot wear a mask. We all have a responsibility to wear a mask if we can, and to accommodate those who cannot.
- Testing strategy is 3 fold. 1) Rapid testing, which we have done 5400 tests with 21 positive's who have all been referred to a more accurate PCR test. 2) PCR testing for anyone in the late night bar and restaurant seen. 8300 people have come forward to be tested from this group. 3) Routine asymptomatic testing of those in LTC facilities which will continue to be rolled out across the province. Also, we have a mobile unit which can be deployed anywhere in the Province. We have 2x 20 foot vans staffed by trained practitioners. These are not drop in testing centres. These are for PCR testing and the next one will be at Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning. Appointments are required. 2 cases are in this school and it is still unclear how the virus made it to this facility.
- Effective tomorrow, we are reducing the number of designated caregivers in LTC facilities from 2 to 1. This applies across the Province. We feel it's a necessary step to restrict this to minimize the chance of COVID-19 entering LTC facilities.
- We are 1 week into the new restrictions in HRM and Hants and I am encouraged by where we are, though it is still too early to know exactly where things will go over the next week or so.
- All stores visited by enforcement officers have been in compliance, this is excellent news.
- Next week we will look carefully at the current restrictions to determine if we can lift them, which will need to be done slowly and carefully.
- We have to have a very different holiday seasons this year. fewer and smaller gatherings and less travel. Whether it's where we go to pick up a tree, who we are celebrating with etc... The spirit of the season is more important than ever. Focus on what we HAVE rather than what we aren't able to do this year. We want everyone who is here this year to be there next year to celebrate in a more normal way.
- Acknowledgement of World Aids Day
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Here is a brief roundup for December 1:
NS - 10 new cases (all in central zone), 6 recoveries, 142 active cases, 4138 tests. Yesterday there were 275 tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in Halifax and 585 tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in Wolfville. There were no positive test results identified at either site.
NB - 7 new cases (4 in zone 2, 3 in zone 3), 11 recoveries, 116 active cases.
*Note, for the first time Dr. Russell (and the education minister who also spoke) have left their masks on whilst speaking during the press conference. They have always taken them off as they reached the podium prior to today. I believe this an important and intentional public display given the incredibly strong stance NB is taking with regards to masks, both indoors and outdoors in orange zones, including significant enforcement by special constables dressed in green, military style combat gear.
PEI - 0 new cases, 4 active
NFLD - 1 new case, 33 active
There is no one in hospital in Atlantic Canada.