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COVID-19: Nova Scotia reports 20 new cases as it prepares to vaccinate children

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia reports 20 new COVID-19 cases as it prepares to vaccinate children' Nova Scotia reports 20 new COVID-19 cases as it prepares to vaccinate children
Shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 is set to arrive at pharmacies across Nova Scotia this week. The province’s top doctor anticipates children will be able to receive their first dose by early December. Suzanne Lapointe reports.

Nova Scotia reported one death due to COVID-19 and 20 new cases on Wednesday.

There are 12 cases in Central Zone, six cases in Northern Zone, and two cases in Eastern Zone.

At a COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health said that while the overall case numbers may sound high, public health is “seeing some very positive signs.”

“The epidemiology is stabilizing in the Western Zone. There are still some sporadic cases, but we have a handle on that,” said Dr. Strang.

Read more: COVID-19: N.S. reports 29 new cases, another staff at long-term care home tests positive

The situation in the Northern Zone is also stabilizing, but Strang said the province will continue to see low levels of community transmission.

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Many new COVID-19 cases reported are also shifting from central Halifax into suburban areas.

Strang said most cases are in children under 12, but with the rollout of vaccines for children aged five to 11 the province expects to see less activity in the new year.

According to Premier Tim Houston, vaccines for this specific age group will arrive to the province sometime this week, but did not say when parents can start booking appointments for their children.

“Achieving good vaccination rates in children is the next and very important step,” said Strang.

On Nov. 23, four schools were notified of a COVID-19 exposure at their school.

Click to play video: 'Some parents pulling kids from class due to COVID-19' Some parents pulling kids from class due to COVID-19
Some parents pulling kids from class due to COVID-19

 

COVID-19 vaccination for key sectors

By Nov. 30, the province said all employees are required to have at least a first dose of vaccine.

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Those who are partially vaccinated may be subject to other health and safety measures, including testing. Those who do not have the first dose by November 30 will face employment consequences, including unpaid leave, said the province in a release.

The vaccination rates of employees in the health, education and the long-term care sectors included in the COVID-19 vaccination mandate who have reported are:

  • Nova Scotia Health Authority: 95 per cent fully vaccinated (up from 94 per cent on November 16), four per cent partially vaccinated, with 90 per cent reporting (up from 88 per cent)
  • IWK Health Centre: 99 per cent (no change), one per cent partially vaccinated, with 99 per cent reporting (no change)
  • Long-term care: 95 per cent fully vaccinated (up from 93), three per cent partially vaccinated, with 95 per cent reporting (up from 89 per cent)
  • Home care: 95 per cent fully vaccinated (up from 89), four per cent partially vaccinated, with 97 per cent reporting (up from 78 per cent)
  • Education: 97 per cent fully vaccinated (no change), two per cent partially vaccinated, with 90 per cent reporting (up from 75 per cent)
  • Emergency Health Services (EHS): 99 per cent fully vaccinated (no change), one per cent partially vaccinated, with 92 per cent reporting (up from 88 per cent)

Other sectors, like correctional services and daycares, have reported their employee vaccination rates, but the premier said he’s concerned about other sector groups that have not reported.

“Sectors are planning on how to handle staff shortages, but right now there’s no employer that’s expecting any major impact on service delivery,” said Houston.

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However, in the education sector, he said that they’re anticipating that busing will be an issue due to driver availability.

“These are all things that are being planned for by the employer and an update on the situation will be available early December,” Houston said.

As of Wednesday, there are no new cases at the East Cumberland Lodge long-term care home in Pugwash. A total of 32 residents and 11 staff members at the home have tested positive, and three of the infected residents have died.

So far, Nova Scotia has 172 active cases of COVID-19. Of those, 18 people are in hospital, including six in ICU.

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 3,323 tests the day before.

As of Tuesday, 1,622,765 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 787,353 Nova Scotians have received their second dose, and 13,160 eligible Nova Scotians have received a third dose.

Since August 1, there have been 2,223 positive COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths. There are 2,038 resolved cases.

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