Cape Breton Post
Fourteen new cases, one in eastern zone
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is back up to double-digit new COVID-19 cases, reporting 14 on Thursday.
Twelve of the new cases are in central zone, where 11 are close contacts of previously reported cases and the other is under investigation.
One case is in eastern zone and is a close contact of a previously reported case.
One western zone case is related to travel.
97 ACTIVE CASES
There are also nine reported recoveries for a total active case count of 97. Of those, six people are in hospital COVID-19 units, including three in ICU. The median age of people hospitalized in the third wave is 52 for non-ICU and 55 for people in ICU.
“It shows again, that we are on the right track and we need to stay focused,” Premier Iain Rankin said Thursday in an online update of the state of COVID-19 in the province. “As of (Thursday), nearly 69 per cent of Nova Scotians have received their first dose of vaccine. Our second dose rollout strategy is now moving along nicely. This week, we are administering about 80,000 doses.”
Rankin, who was joined by Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health for the online update, said the province will receive a “significant” shipment of the Moderna vaccines.
Strang supplemented that announcement by saying that while the province has more than enough supply of both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the number of doses of Pfizer available will go down in July.
“Over the next few weeks, we’ll get more than 400,000 doses of vaccine,” Strang said. “This is a dramatic surge in our supply and well above the maximum we anticipated. But ultimately, it’s a gamechanger. Everyone will get their second doses much earlier than originally scheduled.”
That means vaccine clinic hours will be expanded, he said.
EARLIER SECOND DOSES
Nova Scotians who have had their first dose on or before May 1 can now book an earlier second dose, Strang said. An email will be sent out to those eligible who have provided an email address.
He also said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are interchangeable and either can be used for a second dose no matter which brand people received for their first dose.
“We have heard some people saying that they want to wait, that instead of getting Moderna vaccine, they want to wait for a second dose of Pfizer. I want to reassure everyone that there is no substantive difference between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. They’re both mRNA vaccines and are both very effective at preventing COVID19 symptoms, severe illness and death.
“Take the first available appointment, regardless of what vaccine you got for your first dose.”
Strang said the time frame of the original goal for everyone to be fully vaccinated by mid to late fall now can be adjusted. He expects the province will reach that goal in August.
People with two doses can expect to start to have restrictions eased, he said.
“If you got two doses of vaccine, even if you are a high-risk contact, you’re probably not going to have to isolate. That’s our starting point.
“Then we’re also going to start to look at all our other measures like masking, etc., and how we start to relax those. We’re having national conversations at my level around that to try to get some consistency. But also we need to be cognizant of that until we get two-dose coverage with vaccine that we still need to have many of these public health measures in place.”
Rankin said he would be meeting Thursday evening with the other Canadian premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the issue of vaccination credentials on the agenda.
“I’m eager to continue to talk about that as we look at our next phase of our reopening plan and look at what other provinces are working on at the same time.”
The premier continued to urge Nova Scotians to get tested.
On Wednesday, Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 5,977 tests.
“Even when our case numbers are low, testing is key,” Rankin said. “It pulls the curtains back on whether there is a possibility of community spread. It also allows us to track cases if there is known contact, to stamp out the COVID virus when we can.”
As of Wednesday, 735,008 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 66,248 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
Since April 1, there have been 4,031 positive COVID19 cases and 24 deaths. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.