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First COVID-19 case found at Halifax Shipyard as province reports 8 new cases

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia reports 8 new COVID-19 cases Thursday' Nova Scotia reports 8 new COVID-19 cases Thursday
WATCH: Nova Scotia health officials are worried after the province reported eight new cases of covid-19, three of which remain under investigation. Thursday’s case numbers are the largest single-day jump in daily counts since mid-January. Alexa MacLean reports. – Feb 25, 2021

Nova Scotia reported eight new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday in its highest daily count since Jan. 11.

Seven of the new cases are in the central zone, four of which are close contacts of previously reported cases. The other three cases are under investigation.

One additional case is in the eastern zone and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

There are now 27 known active cases in the province.

“You can see from today’s numbers that the cases are ticking up. And so, let me remind all Nova Scotians of the importance of testing. It’s key for detecting cases early on and limiting the spread of COVID-19,” said Premier Iain Rankin in a news release.

“I encourage you, even if you don’t have symptoms, to book an appointment at one of the primary assessment centres or drop into a pop-up testing site.”

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Coronavirus: Nova Scotia’s new premier says he’s a ‘science guy,’ urges people to ‘stay the course’ – Feb 24, 2021

Read more: ‘We are still in a pandemic’: Premier Rankin urges caution during first COVID-19 update

On Thursday, an asymptomatic testing pop-up site is available at the Eastern Passage Cow Bays Lion Club from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For the rest of the week, pop-up sites will be available in the following locations during the specified times:

  • Friday, Feb. 26 – Eastern Passage Cow Bays Lion Club, from noon to 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 26 – Halifax Convention Centre, from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 27 – Halifax Convention Centre, from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 27 – Elmsdale Fire Hall, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 28 – Elmsdale Fire Hall, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday,  Feb. 28 – St. Andrew’s United Church in Halifax, from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia Health completed 2,969 tests for COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of tests completed in the second wave to 200,142.

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Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Nova Scotia’s top doctor expresses concern over community transmission' Coronavirus: Nova Scotia’s top doctor expresses concern over community transmission
Coronavirus: Nova Scotia’s top doctor expresses concern over community transmission – Feb 24, 2021

There have been 535 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths since Oct. 1 in Nova Scotia. One person is currently in hospital in intensive care with the virus.

“We have recently started to see new cases with no clear link to travel or a known case. This is increasingly concerning as our case numbers are creeping up,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, in the release.

“I want to remind people of the importance of following all the public health measures, as well as keeping your social circles small and consistent,” he said.

“If you do have several close contacts, consider making testing part of your regular COVID-19 prevention measures.”

Read more: Nova Scotia advises of COVID-19 exposure at 5 locations, Halifax bus routes

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As of Wednesday, 30,748 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Nova Scotia and 11,766 residents have received their second dose.

COVID-19 case detected at Halifax Shipyard

Irving Shipbuilding confirmed late Thursday afternoon that it has detected its first case of COVID-19 in an employee of the Halifax Shipyard.

“Nova Scotia Health reached out directly to members of the person’s crew late this morning and directed the crew of 15 people to go home, self-isolate and schedule COVID-19 tests,” read a statement to Global News.

“It was after this initial outreach that we first became aware of the positive COVID-19 case. We contacted Nova Scotia Health to confirm the details and immediately informed the Union leadership.”

Read more: Potential exposure to COVID-19 reported at 4 locations in Halifax

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The company said it suspended all production activities and sent home all dayshift employees who work in the Assembly Hall and Module Hall, where the person infected works.

“At Irving Shipbuilding, we always place the health and safety of our employees as our top priority. Our thoughts are with our colleague today, who we wish good health and a quick return to work once it is safe to do so,” said Irving Shipbuilding President Kevin Mooney in the statement.

“I also want to thank the Union leadership for their collaboration and cooperation on the actions taken today, which saw us safely and efficiently suspend production in less than one hour of learning of the positive test result.”

The company says production will be shut down until the second shift on Friday, to allow for sanitization and cleaning.

In addition, a pop-up testing site adjacent to the shipyard will be open to allow employees to get tested.

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia continues to promote rapid testing in face of COVID-19 variant' Nova Scotia continues to promote rapid testing in face of COVID-19 variant
Nova Scotia continues to promote rapid testing in face of COVID-19 variant – Feb 13, 2021

Irving Shipbuilding says its protocols for COVID are rigorous, and have been since early 2020. Its measures include:

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  • Daily temperature screening for all employees, contractors and visitors
  • Completion of medical questionnaires for all employees, contractors and visitors before being allowed into worksites
  • Significantly enhanced cleaning protocols
  • Installation of more than 100 hand-sanitizing areas
  • Cancellation of all non-essential workplace visits
  • Reconfiguration of all lunchrooms, offices and workspaces
  • Re-engineering of work procedures to minimize or eliminate two-person tasks
  • Requirement to wear face masks at all times when travelling between workspaces and when six-feet physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Staggered shift times and staggered lunch breaks
  • Installation of an additional and lunch and break area

 

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