Nova Scotia reported two new cases of the coronavirus on Friday.
One new case is in the eastern zone and is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The other case is in the central zone and is a close contact of a previously reported case.
There are 15 known active cases in the province.
Since Dec. 15, 2020, the province has received 47,280 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 10,530 of the Pfizer vaccine received this week.
This week’s Pfizer delivery was the province’s largest shipment to date, and was distributed to eight clinics across the province.
“Latest reports from the federal government indicate that vaccine deliveries to Canada are back on track,” Strang said, adding that steady shipments are expected.
On Feb. 22, the province is launching the first community clinic to vaccinate Nova Scotians.
“On Monday we will reach an important milestone as we start our first prototype clinic at the IWK for Nova Scotians who are 80 years of age or older.”
Strang said he is happy to report that appointments filled up quickly, and 500 seniors are scheduled to be immunized at the community clinic.
Three new clinics launching this week are in Antigonish, Bridgewater and Amherst.
Throughout March, there will be 10 community vaccination clinics, Strang said.
Clinics will open in the following communities on these dates:
- Monday, March 8: Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro
- Monday, March 15: Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth
- Monday, March 22: Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth
Strang said around 48,000 Nova Scotians will receive a letter from MSI advising them that they are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
As of March 1, anyone who is over the age of 80, or will turn 80 after that date, is eligible to be vaccinated.
Details will be provided in the coming weeks and will be included in the MSI letters.
Booking for vaccination appointments can be made online or over the phone. Because the immunization process involves two doses of the vaccine, individuals will be asked to book both at the same time.
“If you are not comfortable, and some seniors may not be, coming to a large clinic, you certainly have the option of waiting,” Strang said.
“We are currently working with pharmacies and physician partners to get the vaccine in select locations across the province that would not be large community clinics.”
Strang reminds individuals that public health guidelines must be followed before and after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccination plan for Mi’kmaq
Next week, the first of 13 immunization clinics for Mi’kmaw communities will be launched in Millbrook First Nation.
Details are being finalized and eligible individuals will be contacted by the Millbrook First Nation Health Centre.
“All the First Nations clinics will be managed by the respective health centres in the different communities, and it will be health centre staff who administer the vaccine to those living in their communities,” said Strang
“It’s been very important in our partnership with First Nations communities that it’s their clinics, that they have tremendous amount of input into scheduling and who gets vaccinated and when.
“We’re really relying on them to communicate about the clinic, communicate in a culturally appropriate and sensitive way to deal with some of the challenges we have around vaccine hesitancy that are specific within those communities.”
Strang said the same approach will be taken with African Nova Scotian communities, and that plan it still being developed.
Nova Scotians encouraged to get tested
Nova Scotia health officials are encouraging residents to get tested.
On Sunday, a testing clinic will be set up at the Marine Atlantic ferry terminal in North Sydney.
Premier Stephen McNeil said in the Friday briefing all passengers from Newfoundland and Labrador are encouraged to get tested.
Testing will be mandatory for those who are exempt from the 14-day isolation coming from N.L.
Strang said in the briefing that cases with unknown sources have popped up in Beaver Bank and New Minas.
“I want to remind people that even if you have a single symptom, or just generally feel mildly unwell, you need to get tested.
“Many of the recent cases of COVID-19 we are seeing in Nova Scotia are presenting as mild, cold-like symptoms.”
He says not even a runny nose or a throat tickle should be ignored.
“Please go online or call 811 and book a test,” Strang said.
On Friday, mobile testing units were deployed in Beaver Bank.
This weekend, the province will conduct community-based testing and work closely with the families and staff of the Beaver Bank-Monarch Drive Elementary School, after a case connected to the
school was reported this week. Strang said he encourages residents to participate.
“Expanding our testing… will be an important part of our assessment of trying to determine if there is any undetected spread of COVID within those communities.”
A pop-up site in New Minas will also be organized this Saturday and Sunday.
Friday marked the 100th Nova Scotia COVID-19 briefing, and will be Premier McNeil’s last briefing before he is replaced by premier-designate Iain Rankin.