Nova Scotia reported no new COVID-19 cases for the first time in about a month on Monday.
"It's encouraging to see a day with no new cases being reported," said Premier Iain Rankin in a news release.
"Nova Scotians continue to show their commitment to follow the public health measures and we are seeing that their efforts are working to slow the spread of COVID-19."
The last time the province reported no new cases was on Feb. 12.
There are now 24 active cases in Nova Scotia, 17 of which are in the central health zone. There are nine cases in the Bedford/Sackville community health network, three cases in the Halifax peninsula/Chebucto network, and three cases in the Dartmouth/Southeastern network. Two cases are not attached to a specific health network.
Three cases are in the eastern health zone: two cases in the Cape Breton community health network, and one case in the Inverness, Victoria and Richmond health network. There are also three cases in the northern zone, with two in the Cumberland community health network and one in the Colchester/East Hants network.
One case is in the Annapolis and Kings health network in the western zone. Two people are currently hospitalized in Nova Scotia, with one in the intensive care unit.
"We wouldn't be where we are today without the co-operation of Nova Scotians," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, in the release.
"Let's keep up the good work by remaining vigilant - wear a mask, limit social contacts, practise social distancing, adhere to the gathering limit, stay home if you feel unwell and wash your hands."
Vaccine booking still frustrating
On Monday morning, the province reopened booking for people 80 years or older who want to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Booking had started last week but the launch was not up to expectations, prompting Strang to say the province needs "to do better" during Friday's live briefing. People spoke with the Herald about the difficulties they faced getting through the designated phone lines and accessing the booking website, which the province said had crashed due to the high demand.
Strang said the province will remedy the situation by alllowing people to register based on their birth month. Today, people born between Jaunuary and April would book their appointments.
Despite the changes to the booking system, the experience doesn't seem to have improved for some readers. Cindy Titus, who was booking an appointment for her 86-year-old mother, told the Herald in an email that they tried both the phone and website with no success.
"After several hours of call dropping before connecting, busy signals or the one time I got as far as a recording informing me the system was full, call back later, I began reaching out to others," they said.
One of the people they spoke with said they got through but were told "all appointments were booked."
Sorn Ptrigi, who is over 80 and born between January and March, said they gave up trying after 45 minutes. But their son-in-law managed to book them an appointment because his Internet was "faster."
"The telephone was always and forever busy and the internet simply told me constantly that I had at least another hour's wait (never changed) and the page would reset (maybe)...but it never did as long as I held out."
The full letters are at the end of this article in italics.
Rapid test locations
Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 2,768 Nova Scotia tests on March 7.
Rapid testing will be available this week at the following dates and times:
- Tuesday, March 9 at LeBron Recreation Centre, 36 Holland Ave., Bedford, from 1 to 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, March 11 at St. Margaret’s Centre, 12 Westwood Blvd, Upper Tantallon from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Friday, March 12 -- St. Margaret’s Centre, 12 Westwood Blvd, Upper Tantallon from noon to 7:30 p.m.
As of March 7, 39,444 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 14,433 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
Since Oct. 1, there have been 570 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. Nova Scotia Health Authority labs administered a total of 249,957 tests.
Nova Scotians are strongly encouraged to be tested for COVID-19, particularly if they have a large number of close contacts due to their work or social activities.
Appointments can be booked at covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca, by choosing the asymptomatic option.
More information on testing can be found at www.nshealth.ca/coronavirustesting.
Book an online test on the self-assessment website if in the past 48 hours you have had or you are currently experiencing:
- fever (i.e. chills/sweats) or cough (new or worsening)
Or two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):
- sore throat
- runny nose/nasal congestion
- shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
Call 811 if you cannot access the online self-assessment or wish to speak with a nurse about your symptoms.
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at novascotia.ca/coronavirus.
Businesses and other organizations can find information to help them safely reopen and operate at novascotia.ca/reopening-nova-scotia.
Nebal Snan is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.
Vaccine rollout letters
Dear Chronicle Herald,,
What a horribly inconvenient and essentially useless covid vaccination rollout Nova Scotia has arranged. I'm eligible as an over-80 year old with a birthday in the first 3 months of the year. This morning, I was on the telephone and internet simultaneously trying to book a vaccination appointment. After 45 minutes, I gave up. The telephone was always and forever busy and the internet simply told me constantly that I had at least another hour's wait (never changed) and the page would reset (maybe)...but it never did as long as I held out.
After 45 minutes, I gave up. [Fortunately, for me, my son-in-law somehow got through and booked an appointment for me because he had ethernet (whatever that is), which is somehow faster (he said).]
So, I'm writing this now for all the other senior Nova Scotians that must have tried this morning to reach the appointment officals and simply gave up in frustration.
How awful this is. How many seniors were sitting on their phones and computers hour after hour trying to book an appointment. this morning?... (How many seniors actually have computers, are online, and know how to use them correctly?...as even the URL's changed sometimes.).
How stupidly unthinking can our health officials be be? Of course the system is going to crash if everyone is trying to phone or check in at the same time.
This is such a lazy way of running a booking service. It would be far better if, as many other jurisdictions are doing, if the NS health officials organized and contacted all eligible seniors with a health card in each designated category, either by telephone or by normal snailmail, with a suggested date and time. They already have all of the health card information they need, age, birthdate and Health card number. In fact, the original information from Dr. Strang's office, was that people would be contacted by mail when they were eligible with, one assumes, a booking time and date, which could be accepted or rejected. Most people would accept and those who did not, could contact the Health Dept for another date and/or time ...which would likely be a very small fraction of the eligible cohort, rather than everybody trying to book at the same time.
You need to publish this complaint, and any others, as I'm sure there will be many, many people complaining over this ridiculously unwieldy system.
Is this just another one of the numerous failures of the department of health under this Liberal government? Dr Strang and all the front line workers have done an excellent job from day one of the pandemic.The problem appears to be at the “top”.
Perhaps the “real” workers should be given the means to get on with the job.
I have spent most of the day on the phone only to get a busy signal. Cannot book on line as my husband and I must go together so must use the phone. What are we to do?
It has been known for a year that would there be a vaccine. Certainly enough time for an efficient rollout plan to be designed. Perhaps fewer people in the “top” positions is the answer. Let the real workers get on with it.
Thank you for your attention.
Today, Monday, March 8th, 2021, is the day our seniors could begin making appointments to have covid19 vaccines, as per the instructions they received in a two page letter from Nova Scotia/MSI.
My mother is 86 years old and could not navigate the online option. As her caregiver, I took over the task, but due to a travel time of two and half to three and a half hours to the nearest vaccine centers, I elected to phone and speak to a person who could understand this and not give her an early morning appointment, as an online system might do.
After several hours of call dropping before connecting, busy signals or the one time I got as far as a recording informing me the system was full, call back later, I began reaching out to others. (In the meantime I decided to give the online option a try, only to see a notification that the wait time was an hour and not to close the page - it closed itself.)
Those friends, well respected citizens, sayeth. In print ...
Since the letters with instructions were sent, there has been a change and only those over 80's with birthdays in the first four months can make appointments at this time.
One 92 year old got through only to be told all the appointments were booked.
A 'young' person received a call from her family doctor, offering to book for hers.
A friend, mid to later seventies, had her shot a week ago, has her appointment for her second shot. Her mom is in a nursing home and she is her mom's primary contact. Her brother also got his. If you are a caregiver you will receive your shot.
So two issues here -
1. The 'system' used to administer vaccines appears to be as broken as the rest of the NS healthcareless system. Would it not have been simpler to make the appointments and send that information out in the letter ? And imagine the number of people tying up the phone and internet as per their letters instructed, having no idea their had been a change ! Sub issue - Will the system ever recognize the need to take into consideration the travel time, when making appointments ?
2. How and why are some receiving shots outside the requirements ? Caregivers ?
Shaking my head,
Cindy L. Titus