News release

394 New Cases of COVID-19

NOTE: Nova Scotia will be issuing an abbreviated COVID-19 news release on Saturday, December 18, and Sunday, December 19. The online dashboard will not be updated until Monday, December 20.

Today, December 17, Nova Scotia is reporting 394 new cases of COVID-19.

There are 295 cases in Central Zone, 54 cases in Eastern Zone, 27 cases in Northern Zone and 18 cases in Western Zone.

Due to delays with data entry into Panorama (public health’s case management system), the number of positive cases being released today are lab results, not Panorama results. This continues to better reflect the situation on the ground.

Because of a spike in testing and positive cases, public health is experiencing some delays in follow-up. Public health will try to contact anyone confirmed positive by the lab within 24 hours to provide information on required isolation and testing. All cases will be asked to contact their close contacts. This may be the only contact a positive case has with public health. Detailed follow-ups are being prioritized to support contact tracing in schools, long-term care, healthcare facilities, correctional facilities, shelters and other group settings.

All close contacts, including those who are fully vaccinated, now need to isolate for 72 hours after the exposure and then get a lab-based (PCR) test. Those who are fully vaccinated can stop isolating after receiving a negative lab test. Those not fully vaccinated must continue to isolate, following the instructions for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated, found at

It is important that anyone who tests positive with a rapid test self-isolates immediately and gets a PCR test, regardless of vaccination status. If the PCR test is negative, they can stop isolating if they have no symptoms and are fully vaccinated.

On December 16, 16 schools were notified of an exposure(s) at their school. As always, all staff, parents and guardians are notified of exposures if a positive case (student, teacher or staff) was at the school while infectious. A list of schools with exposures is available online:

There have been 256 cases of COVID-19 with an episode date between December 9 and December 16. Of those:

  • 172 (67.2 per cent) were fully vaccinated
  • 6 (2.3 per cent) were partially vaccinated
  • 78 (30.5 per cent) were unvaccinated

There have been 7,381 cases from March 15 to December 16. Of those:

  • 1,137 (15.4 per cent) were fully vaccinated
  • 427 (5.8 per cent) were partially vaccinated
  • 5,817 (78.8 per cent) were unvaccinated

There were 341 people hospitalized. Of those:

  • 23 (6.7 per cent) were fully vaccinated
  • 33 (9.7 per cent) were partially vaccinated
  • 285 (83.6 per cent) were unvaccinated

Forty-four people died. Of those:

  • 11 (25.0 per cent) were fully vaccinated
  • 3 (6.8 per cent) were partially vaccinated
  • 30 (68.2 per cent) were unvaccinated

There were 63,399 rapid tests administered between December 10 and 16. This includes 5,618 rapid tests at the pop-up sites in Halifax and surrounding communities and 57,781 through the workplace screening program. Another 66,992 home rapid tests were distributed at the pop-up sites, 400,000 were distributed at libraries, and 167,000 were distributed to children in public school in grades pre-primary to six. An additional 60,000 tests were distributed to community partners for children aged 3 to 11 who are not in public school.

On December 16, Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 7,585 tests.

Seven people are in hospital, including two in ICU.

As of December 17, 1,718,187 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 792,129 Nova Scotians have received their second dose, and 73,668 eligible Nova Scotians have received a third dose.

Testing advice:

Symptoms and self-assessment:

Regardless of vaccination status, anyone with symptoms should immediately self-isolate and visit to do a self-assessment. They should also book a COVID-19 test if, in the past 48 hours, they have had or are currently experiencing:

  • cough (new or worsening)

Or two or more of the following symptoms:

  • fever (chills, sweats)
  • headache
  • runny nose or nasal congestion
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

People should call 811 if they cannot access the online self-assessment or wish to speak with a nurse about their symptoms.

Testing advice for people without symptoms:

People who do not have symptoms but should get tested are listed at: . People who do not meet any of the criteria for asymptomatic testing can get a rapid test at a pop-up site or a mobile unit. Rapid test locations are listed at: .

People who were advised by public health that they were a close contact of a positive case or if they were at a site listed in a COVID-19 exposure notification should isolate immediately and monitor for symptoms, even if fully vaccinated. They should also book a PCR test for 72 hours after the exposure.

If the test result is negative, people can stop isolating if fully vaccinated. If it is positive, they should continue isolating and follow the public health direction that’s online.

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at:

Information on provincewide restrictions that took effect, today, December 17 and other public health measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is available at:

More information on COVID-19 case data, testing and vaccines is available at:

More information about public health text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts is available here:

Government of Canada: or 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)