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Overview of today’s cases
Vaccination
Testing
Potential exposure advisories

Nova Scotia announced 1,020 new cases of COVID-19 today, Tuesday, Jan. 4. (Coincidentally, this is the exact same number of new cases as was announced yesterday.) The new cases are people who received a positive PCR test result from a Nova Scotia Health lab; it does not include people who tested positive using a take-home rapid (antigen) test.

By Nova Scotia Health zone, the new cases break down as:
• 544 Central
• 182 Eastern
• 141 Northern
• 153 Western

There are now 40 people in hospital with the disease, five of whom are in ICU. By age, those hospitalized are 26 to 98 years old, and the average age is 70.

According to Public Health, of those in hospital:
• about 10% have had a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine
• about 61% are fully vaccinated (2 doses)
• about 3% are partially vaccinated
• about 26% are unvaccinated

The new hospitalization data are helpful, but still don’t paint a full picture, as they don’t tell us the length of stay or severity of the hospitalizations, or make any correlation between age and vaccination status. All that said, I made a very rough stab at the rate of hospitalization by vaccination status, here.

Jail outbreak

There are now 74 prisoners at the Burnside jail testing positive for COVID, nearly a third of the population

Hospital outbreaks

There are new hospital outbreaks at:
• Cape Breton Regional Hospital
• Northside General Hospital
• the Victoria General (a new, additional ward)
Fewer than five patients at each site have tested positive.

There is additionally a new case at one of the two Halifax Infirmary wards with outbreaks, making a total of 12 patients testing positive in that ward.

There are ongoing outbreaks (but no new cases today) at:
• the Halifax Infirmary (a second ward)
• Dartmouth General
• Victoria General (a second ward)
• St. Martha’s Regional
• New Waterford Consolidated
There are fewer than 10 patients testing positive at each site.

Public Health estimates that there are 6,439 active cases in the province, but we all know that has no basis in anything resembling reality. Frankly, no one has a clue as to how many active cases there are.


Vaccination

From Dec. 31 through Jan. 3 (Sunday through Monday), there were 1,930 doses of vaccine administered:
• 179 first doses
• 98 second doses
• 1,653 third doses

In total, there have been 1,792,946 doses of vaccine administered, which break down as:
• 68,419 people with only the first dose
• 660,218 people with the second dose but not the third
• 134,697 people with three doses

By the end of the day yesterday, 88.9% of the entire population have received at least one dose of vaccine:
• 7.0% with one dose only
• 68.0% with two doses but not three
• 13.9% with three doses
• 11.1% unvaccinated

Appointments for boosters are now open to people 30 and over for whom 168 days have passed since their second shot.

Vaccination appointments for people 5 years of age and older can be booked here.

People in rural areas who need transportation to a vaccination appointment should contact Rural Rides, which will get you there and back home for just $5. You need to book the ride 24 hours ahead of time.


Testing

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 5,472 PCR tests yesterday, with a positivity rate of 18.6%. Given the change in testing protocols, I don’t know how to assess that positivity rate.

Now, if you test positive with a rapid (antigen) test, you no longer will follow that up with a PCR test. Instead, you are assumed to definitely have COVID, and you and your household are to self-isolate as required.

But take-home rapid testing kits are no longer widely available — a limited number are available at the pop-up testing sites, but otherwise symptomatic people can schedule an appointment at the PCR testing sites, where they will be given a rapid test kit to take home (only those in high-risk categories will be given a PCR test).

Pop-up testing has been scheduled for the following sites:

Wednesday, Jan. 4
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 11am-2pm
Bridgetown Volunteer Fire Department, 11am-3pm
Windsor Legion, 11am-3pm

Thursday, Jan. 5
Tatamagouche Legion, noon-4pm
Annapolis Royal Legion, 11am-3pm

Friday, Jan. 6
Chester Basin Fire Hall, 11am-3pm
Pictou Legion, 11am-3pm

You can volunteer to work at the pop-up testing sites here or here. No medical experience is necessary.


Potential exposure advisories

School-connected case notifications have ended. And while there has been no notification of a change in policy, despite the very high daily case counts, there have been no potential COVID exposure advisories issued over the last four days.

We’ve collected all the active advisories for potential COVID exposures on bus routes and flights here.

You can zoom in and click on the icons on the map below to get information about other sites.


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Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Is it possible that the central region has peaked and the other regions are still going up? Public Health would never say so but this why daily numbers are not totally meaningless. It gives hope to some (even if misplaced) and tells others to be more wary. It would be better if they broke it down further to community health district but it seems that is too much to ask now. All of this should be mostly automated anyway and there is no good reason why the reports are so late and other provinces don’t seem to have a problem updating their dashboard on a prompt daily basis.