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Feb. 23 update: Nova Scotia reports three more cases related to the COVID-19 U.K. variant

Karl Conlan, from Townsville, Australia, streaking a plate to test a patient’s sample for COVID-19 in the microbiology laboratory at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. More than 45,000 tests have been conducted on Nova Scotians since around March 10. Contributed/Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Karl Conlan, from Townsville, Australia, streaking a plate to test a patient’s sample for COVID-19 in the microbiology laboratory at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 1,560 tests on Monday. Contributed/Nova Scotia Health Authority.

Nova Scotia is reporting three additional cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the U.K., formally known as B.1.1.7, on Tuesday.

The National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg confirmed the three cases today, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Wellness. The individuals were tested earlier this month and are self-isolating.

Two of the cases are in the central health zone and travelled together. The other case is in the western health zone and is not connected to the pair who travelled. The three cases are being re-investigated. This brings the total number of cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in Nova Scotia to six.

"With more variants identified in the province, I want to thank Nova Scotians for their continued efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health.

"The best way to protect one another is by following all public health measures - wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain physical distance, adhere to the gathering limits and stay home if you are feeling unwell."

Three new cases

The province is also reporting three new cases, unrelated to the B.1.1.7 variant.

One case is in the western zone and is currently under investigation.

Two cases are in the central zone, with one related to travel within Atlantic Canada and the person is self-isolating. The other case is a close contact of a previously reported travel case.

There are now 20 active COVID-19 cases in the province. One person is in the ICU. 

Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang are expected to hold a live COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 1,560 tests on Monday, Feb. 22. 

Rapid testing is available Wednesday, Feb. 24, and Thursday, Feb. 25, at Eastern Passage Cow Bays Lion Club. The clinics will be set up from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and from noon to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. 

Less than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Monday, bringing the total of doses given so far to 27,966. Of those, 11,532 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 194,414 tests. There have been 524 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths.

Testing encouraged

Provincial health authorities strongly encourage Nova Scotians to seek asymptomatic COVID-19 testing; particularly if they have had several social interactions, even within their own social circles. Appointments can be booked at covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca, by choosing the asymptomatic option.

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
  • headache
  • 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.

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