N.S. reports 1 new case, young adults urged to get COVID-19 vaccine

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Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health. (Communications Nova Scotia - image credit)
Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health. (Communications Nova Scotia - image credit)

Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as the province prepared to reopen to the rest of Canada.

The active case total was 51, and there have been seven recoveries. Two people are currently in hospital with the virus.

"It's good to see the single digits for the last few days," Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, said during a briefing Tuesday afternoon alongside Premier Iain Rankin.

Phase 3 of the reopening plan begins Wednesday morning.

This phase allows people from outside the Atlantic provinces to enter Nova Scotia under isolation restrictions tied to their level of vaccine coverage.

Rankin said while this move might seem scary for some, the province has all the right safety measures in place. He said 73 per cent of the entire population has had at least one dose of the vaccine and second doses are ahead of schedule.

Strang said about 20 per cent of residents have had both doses.

"For now, let's not worry about, 'What if.' Let's think about how good it will feel to see your family members or friends who you haven't seen in awhile," Rankin said.

During Phase 3, people can gather with their household plus 10 others inside without distancing, while the outdoor limit of 25 stays the same.

Other changes include retail going up to 75 per cent capacity and multiple performers being allowed in restaurants and bars.

Clusters in central zone, Cape Breton

The province hit a milestone Tuesday, as more than 900,000 doses have been delivered into arms. It's a big jump from last week, when Nova Scotia had distributed around 800,000 doses.

Tuesday's single case is in the eastern zone, and is a close contact of a previously reported case. The case is connected to Glace Bay Elementary, according to a release sent Tuesday afternoon.

The school will close to students on Wednesday and undergo a deep cleaning. Since the school year ends Wednesday, staff, students and families will receive an update about how to retrieve their belongings.

Out of an abundance of caution, the province is asking that all students and staff be tested for COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms. No self-isolation is required while they wait for results, unless they have been identified as a close contact or have symptoms.

Young adults urged to get vaccine

Strang said there are currently two clusters of the virus that the province is keeping an eye on, but there is no broader community spread. One is in the central zone involving multiple close connections, and the other is in Cape Breton with cases connected through a workplace.

Strang said "under-immunization" is a factor in both clusters, which could involve either kids too young to get the vaccine as well as eligible adults.

Although Strang said the province is still on track to hit the goal of 75 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated by the end of August, those in the 20 to 30 age group need to step up.

Those in their twenties are below other age groups in terms of vaccine uptake, with only about 60 to 65 per cent having at least one dose of the vaccine, Strang said.

"In that age group, many people think they're invincible. They're young. They're not going to get seriously ill. Well, even if you're not worried about yourself, we're asking you to … do it for other people around you," Strang said.

He added that if young people want restaurants and bars to stay open, and have the chance to travel, "The way they get to do that is by making sure they're contributing to the highest possible vaccine coverage rate."

First day for walk-in vaccine clinic

The walk-in vaccine clinic at the Halifax Convention Centre in downtown Halifax is now open, which Strang said is one of the ways they are trying to make it easier for younger people to get immunized.

The clinic will be open on Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. AT for those getting their first dose. The clinic runs until July 16.

Renette Amirault-Laing, the clinic site lead, said during the briefing Tuesday that so far, about 50 people had walked in to get a vaccine. They have the capacity to handle 200 people a day.

Strang also said the province is sending out lots of social media messaging on the vaccine, and more walk-in clinics will be opening up around Nova Scotia soon.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 2,399 tests on Monday.

As of Monday, 898,247 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 193,200 were second doses.

Atlantic Canada case numbers

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