N.S. reports two new cases during 100th COVID-19 briefing since start of pandemic

·2 min read

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 today during the 100th pandemic briefing by Premier Stephen McNeil and chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang.

One new case was identified in the eastern part of the province and is related to travel outside the Atlantic region, while the second is in the health zone that includes Halifax and involves a close contact of a previously reported case.

"Since our last update on Tuesday, we have seen case numbers slightly creep up, including cases with unknown sources in both Beaver Bank and New Minas," Strang said. Health officials have reported 10 new infections since Tuesday's briefing.

Officials are ramping up testing in both Beaver Bank, N.S., and New Minas, N.S., and will be offering community-based testing in both areas over the weekend, he added.

The first community clinic to vaccinate Nova Scotians 80 years old and older will start at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax on Monday, Strang said. Health officials are considering that clinic a "prototype," which will test the province's capacity to expand its vaccination campaign, he added.

If it's successful, officials in March will open 10 more clinics in the province for people 80 years old and older, Strang said, adding that starting next week, about 48,000 people will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment.

Friday's COVID-19 briefing was the last for McNeil as premier, who will be replaced when new Liberal leader Iain Rankin is sworn in on Tuesday.

"It's our 100th and over that period of time, there's been lots of emotions," McNeil said. "Some sad days and we've had a few fun days." He talked about the first time he used his now-famous catchphrase "Stay the blazes home."

To honour McNeil, Strang wore an Annapolis Valley tartan tie, representing the premier's hometown.

"It's been a privilege to work beside you for the past year," Strang said. "You've made my job easier, you've treated me with respect and kindness and most importantly, you have always put the health of Nova Scotians first."

The province will be renewing its state of emergency until March 7.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press