Dr. Strang. (Communications N.S. Photo)

HALIFAX: As the province announced 11 new cases bringing its total to 44 as of Nov. 22, the chief medical officer of heaLth for the province said most of these new cases are a result of people going to Downtown areas.

All 11 new cases are in Central Zone. Six are connected to previously reported cases; five are under investigation.

“The majority of new cases we are seeing involve social interactions – people who may or may not be symptomatic going downtown with friends and staying for several hours,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health.

This does not include a potential case that was detected last night, Nov. 21, in a pilot rapid COVID-19 screening program for bar staff and patrons in downtown Halifax.

About 150 rapid tests were done, most on staff. Of 10 patrons tested, one was positive. That person also underwent the standard test, which provides a higher level of accuracy. Results are pending, and the person has been self-isolating since last night.

“Catching even one potential case of COVID-19 can have a huge impact in stopping the spread of the virus,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “It’s an important lesson that we need to limit our social contacts and follow all the other public health guidelines – wear a mask, practise social distancing and wash your hands.”

Results of last night’s pilot will be used to inform a broader testing strategy.

“Last night’s pilot provides us more information as our testing and screening strategy continues to evolve,” said Dr. Strang.

New restrictions in metro Halifax Regional Municipality and parts of Hants County come into effect tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 23. The restrictions can be found at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/county-restrictions/.

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 1,164 Nova Scotia tests on Nov. 21.

To date, Nova Scotia has had 128,080 negative test results, 1,179 positive COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths. No one is currently in hospital. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 90. One thousand and seventy cases are now resolved. Cases have been identified in all parts of the province. Cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama.

Visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to do a self-assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had or you are currently experiencing:
— fever (i.e. chills/sweats) or cough (new or worsening)

Two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):
— sore throat
— runny nose/ nasal congestion
— headache
— shortness of breath

Call 811 if you cannot access the online self-assessment or wish to speak with a nurse about your symptoms.

When a new case of COVID-19 is confirmed, public health works to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with that person. Those individuals who have been confirmed are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who has travelled outside of Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better.

It remains important for Nova Scotians to strictly adhere to the public health order and directives – practise good hand washing and other hygiene steps, maintain a physical distance when and where required. Wearing a non-medical mask is mandatory in most indoor public places.

As of July 3, interprovincial travel within Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, without the requirement to self-isolate for permanent Atlantic Canadian residents, is permitted. All public health directives of each province must be followed. Under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act order, visitors from other Canadian provinces and territories must self-isolate for 14 days. Other visitors from outside the Atlantic provinces who have self-isolated for 14 days in another Atlantic province may travel to Nova Scotia without self-isolating again.

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .

Businesses and other organizations can find information to help them safely reopen at https://novascotia.ca/reopening-nova-scotia .

Quick Facts:
— testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to Nov. 29
— online booking for COVID-19 testing appointments is available for Nova Scotians getting a test at all primary assessment centres or at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax

Additional Resources:
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)

For more information about COVID-19 testing and online booking, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/

The COVID-19 self-assessment is at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/