Nova Scotia reports 12 new cases of COVID-19, small outbreak at hospital

·3 min read

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is continuing to handle the fourth wave of COVID-19 well, officials say, despite the recent closure of some schools in the Halifax area and a small outbreak reported at a hospital in the Annapolis Valley.

The province reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with eight in the Halifax area and four in the province's western zone. There are a total of 187 active cases of novel coronavirus in the province.

"There are some pockets of COVID-19, but we are seeing moderate transmission that is not becoming widespread," said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. "We do need to expect to see some cases in places like schools, hospitals and other group settings. If COVID is in our communities, it is going to get into these settings."

Strang said a small outbreak at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, N.S., started with some cases in the community.

Officials said three patients in a non-COVID unit have tested positive for the virus. Two of the three cases are asymptomatic, while one patient is in intensive care.

Alyson Lamb, the provincial health authority's executive director for the western zone, said one case was identified on Friday and the other two on Monday. She said so far, precautionary testing has been carried out on 50 patients and staff.

"All other patients, staff and visitors identified as close contacts will be tested," Lamb said. "The outbreak at Valley Regional Hospital is limited as it stands."

Meanwhile, Strang said some community spread of the virus remains in the Halifax area, related to families and close social groups.

"It is in these same pockets of community transmission where we are also seeing cases in schools, and in a few of those schools we are seeing limited spread of the virus," he said.

Three schools are temporarily closed for the rest of the week in the Halifax area including Joseph Howe Elementary and École Mer et Monde in Halifax and Dartmouth South Academy. Duc d'Anville Elementary in Halifax was closed last week but reopened Monday.

Strang said while he realizes the school closures are a concern for parents, he pointed out that only 44 — or about 10 per cent of the province's 370 public schools — have had a COVID-19 case. Of those, only four have had to close to prevent further spread.

"The benefits of being in school continue to far outweigh the risks of disrupting school because of COVID-19," Strang said.

On the vaccine front, he said booster doses would begin to be administered to long-term care residents across the province next week. Strang said it's recommended that those in long-term care receive a booster at least six months after the primary vaccine series.

And as of Tuesday, bookings opened for booster doses for those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

According to provincial data, 82.5 per cent of the province's population have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 77.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2021.

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

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