Nova Scotia health officials are reporting nine new cases of coronavirus on Friday.
All are located in the central zone.
A case first detected Friday is a student at South Bedford School, Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed in a COVID-19 provincial update on Friday.
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The individual was not at school Friday and is self-isolated, health officials said.
However, the school will remain closed until December 2, for it to be cleaned.
Everyone in a class where a confirmed case has been attended will be tested and required to self-isolate for 14 days, Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of Nova Scotia health.
Affected students will be transferred to home learning and public health officials are working to establish close contacts.
As a result of the positive tests reported Friday, there are now 118 active cases in Nova Scotia.
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Rapidly testing a model for other provinces
Strang asked for patience on Friday as the province’s health teams worked to test large numbers of people, including individuals who were tested at the fast-testing pop-up locations offered this week.
He said the fast-testing pop-up site in downtown Halifax completed 1,142 of the 3,109 tests completed Thursday.
Four individuals tested positive at the Clyde Street jump scene and were advised to self-segregate and were referred for a standard test.
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Friday’s pop-up COVID-19 rapid testing site is located at Alderney Gate Public Library in Dartmouth. It will run from 1:30 pm to 8pm
Strang stressed that rapid tests are less accurate than the usual tests used by the province but that it allows them to process more people.
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He said provinces across Canada are taking a close look at the model they have tried to develop.
He thanked Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist at Dalhousie University, and Dr. Todd Hatchette has been responsible for the rapid testing sites.
The province’s chief physician said Wolfville is likely to receive a rapid jump test site sometime next week. That decision comes after wastewater has been tested and the presence of COVID-19 detected.
Strang said that could be a sign that COVID-19 has spread outside the HRM.
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The province’s update also focused on the challenge that health officials have faced in trying to track and track an increasingly large number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Less than a week ago, Nova Scotia’s department of public health received 276 open investigations, each having an average of five or six close contacts.
On Friday, public health dealt with 1,058 open investigations.
Each case they diagnose as positive has an average of seven close contacts although some have significantly more, Strang said.
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Tests coming into long-term care homes
Nova Scotia also launched a new voluntary testing scheme in the province’s long-term care homes on Friday.
Volunteers, designated caregivers and workers who provide direct care to residents will now be tested fortnightly.
The aim is to monitor, reduce and prevent the spread of the virus.
Ongoing testing has begun in three long-term care centers: Northwood, Ocean View and St. Vincent’s and will expand to six more facilities over the next two weeks.
Essential travel only
The premier issued a warning to Nova Scotians – especially those in the central zone – that they should remember what they are doing this weekend as the holiday season unofficially kicks off on Black Friday.
“We recommend that you travel for nothing but what is essential,” said McNeil. “Shopping is not an essential service.”
It was a message echoed by Strang.
“Wave two is clearly here in Halifax and we’re trying to keep it here in Halifax,” said Strang.
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The province implemented new restrictions to the Halifax area this week.
On Thursday, New Brunswick joined PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador to tighten border restrictions and take a break from the Atlantic bubble.
Now anyone entering New Brunswick, including Nova Scotians, will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Strang said Friday that the province has not made the decision to implement more restrictions at this time, meaning that travelers from other Atlantic states do not need to self-isolate for 14 days.
He emphasized that travel should be for essential reasons only. That includes not only out-of-province travel but also trips in or out of HRM.
McNeil said the province considers travel essential for medical appointments or things of that nature.
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Nova Scotia has also renewed its state of emergency for another two weeks.
The fresh order will take effect at noon on November 29, and extend to noon on December 13, unless terminated or extended by the province.
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