Nova Scotia reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the number of active cases to 182.
Of the new cases, 11 are in the central health zone, two are in the eastern zone and one is in the western zone.
Two of the central zone cases were announced Sunday evening and are connected to two schools in Dartmouth. The people in those cases are close contacts of previously reported cases.
The two schools, Graham Creighton Junior High in Dartmouth and the Dartmouth campus of the Bedford and Forsyth Education Centres, will be closed to students until June 10 in order to allow for testing of close contacts and thorough cleaning of the facilities.
"While some seem surprised by this news, I fully expected it given we still have COVID activity," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said at the COVID-19 briefing Monday.
"Like other school cases, people were exposed in the community, and there's no sign of transmission in the school."
He added the benefits of children learning in person at school, "far outweighs the very low risk of our current COVID activity."
Nine of the central zone cases are close contacts of previously reported cases and two are under investigation. Both eastern zone cases are close contacts and the western zone case is related to travel.
There are 22 people in hospital with COVID-19, including seven in intensive care.
Late Monday, Nova Scotia Health reported a positive case at a daycare in Dartmouth.
A letter was sent to parents who have children at Kids and Company, and said exposures may have happened on June 4 and 7.
Public Health said it is working to identify any close contacts and will contact families as soon as possible.
It also recommended that all children and staff get tested for COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms.
Positive case at Halifax West High
Later Monday, the province announced a COVID-19 case at Halifax West High. The school will be closed to students until Friday to allow for testing of close contacts and to do a deep cleaning.
Beginning Wednesday, students will learn from home.
Close contacts and families will be contacted as soon as possible.
It's recommended that children and staff get tested for COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms.
61% of Nova Scotians have at least 1 dose
Premier Iain Rankin said Nova Scotia's vaccine rollout is ahead of schedule with 61 per cent of the population having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Sunday, 637,911 doses had been administered. Of those, 44,567 Nova Scotians had received their second dose.
Nova Scotia is also now recommending people who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine as a first dose get an mRNA vaccine for their second dose.
"There is now a small study showing that a second dose of an mRNA vaccine, so Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, after a first dose of AstraZeneca, results in a better immune response than two doses of AstraZeneca," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said at the COVID-19 briefing Monday.
Strang said this recommendation is based on this emerging evidence and also the risk of rare blood clotting
He said people can still choose between getting a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine instead.
Email invitations to book second doses will be sent out to people who received a first dose of AstraZeneca in the coming days.
Regular testing encouraged
Strang reminded Nova Scotians to keep their social groups small and consistent as the weather improves this summer.
He said although case numbers remain low, there is still COVID-19 activity in the province, especially in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
He encouraged people to get tested for COVID-19, as testing numbers have started to decrease.
Labs in the province processed 2,057 tests on Sunday, compared to more than 4,000 in recent days.
"Testing is critical over the next number of weeks," he said. "The more you're out, the more contacts you have, the more often you need to get tested, even if you've had one dose of vaccine."
He reminded people that even with one dose, people can still carry and transmit the coronavirus to others.
Atlantic Canada case numbers
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