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Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang appears remotely at the COVID briefing, Jan. 26, 2022. Photo: Communications Nova Scotia

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Overview
Vaccination
Testing

Nova Scotia is reporting that three more people have died from COVID-19. The deceased are:
• a woman in her 80s in the Central Zone
• a man in his 80s in the Central Zone
• a man in his 90s in the Eastern Zone
In total, 141 Nova Scotians have died from COVID; 31 people have died from COVID since Dec. 3.

There are now now 91 people in hospital who were admitted because of COVID symptoms and who are still in COVID units, 15 of whom are in ICU. Those 91 range in age from 6 to 100 years old, and the average age is 67.

Additionally, there are:
• 100 people admitted to hospital for other reasons but who tested positive for COVID during the admissions screening or who were admitted for COVID but no longer require specialized care
• 121 people in hospital who contracted COVID in the hospital outbreaks

The 91 people now hospitalized because of COVID have the following vaccination status:
• 18 (19.8%) have had 3 doses
• 53 (58.2%) have had 2 doses but not 3
• 3 (3.3%) have had 1 dose
• 17 (18.7%) are unvaccinated
Note that only 9.0% of the population is unvaccinated

At a COVID briefing today, Premier Tim Houston said that two of those in hospital with COVID are children, but that both were admitted for other reasons.

Houston also said that of those in ICU, 26.7% were unvaccinated. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said that 30% of those who have died since Dec. 8 were unvaccinated.

Additionally, the province announced 346 new cases of COVID-19 today. 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:
• 164 Central
• 56 Eastern
• 35 Northern
• 91 Western

Based on PCR testing, Public Health estimates that there are 4,353 active cases in the province; the actual number is undoubtedly much higher.

Strang today said that in terms of case numbers, Nova Scotia is past the peak of the Omicron wave, and that in terms of hospitalizations the province is at the peak. Given the continued stresses on the hospital system, the public health restrictions currently in place, which were scheduled to expire on Jan. 31, have been extended to Feb. 14, although Strang said that at least some of the restrictions could be lifted before then.

I had this question:

Bousquet: Dr. Strang, we’re a week and a half into school being in person and you’ve always said, and I think the numbers bear out, that the children themselves aren’t at great risk, although we’re hearing of lots of cases among children. But are you concerned that there may be a sort of echo in terms of hospitalizations as those children go home and interact with their more-at-risk housemates, elderly parents or grandparents, that sort of thing?

Strang: Certainly that is a potential. I don’t believe it’s a huge risk and that’s why we’ve said all along — and it’s not just schools — right now if kids are out and about or anybody’s out and about, whether it’s at school or work or other, you know, shopping, whatever, you’re out about in the public, you’re at a risk of being exposed. And so that’s why it’s important that everybody follow the public health measures. And if there are people in your life who are at increased risk because of age or underlying chronic conditions, then it’s not just because you’ve been in school — people who are around them need to be very careful, starting with making sure that they themselves are vaccinated to build that extra layer of protection around the individual, following careful requirements around masking, all those kind of things. So each of us is sure to have an awareness of who in our lives that we’re in contact with may be at an increased risk and therefore be especially careful around following the public health measures around those individuals. It’s not just specific to school.


Vaccination

Yesterday, 15,171 doses of vaccine were administered:
• 386 first doses
• 323 second doses
• 14,462 third doses

In total, 2,064,132 doses have been administered:
• 874,009 first doses
• 799,801 second doses
• 390,322 third doses

As of end of day yesterday, 91.0% of the entire population have received at least one dose:
• 7.6% with 1 dose only
• 43.1% with 2 doses but not 3
• 40.3% with 3 doses
• 9.0% 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.

There are many drop-in Pfizer vaccine clinics scheduled, several for kids five years old and older.


Testing

Yesterday, Nova Scotia Health labs completed 3,602 PCR tests, with a positivity rate of 9.6%.

If you test positive with a rapid (antigen) test, 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.

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

Wednesday
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
Windsor Legion, 11am-3pm
Bridgetown Fire Hall, 11am-3pm
Cape North Fire Department (Drive-thru pick-up only, no swabbing), 1-3pm

Thursday
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Enfield Fire Hall, 11am-3pm
Annapolis Royal Legion, 11am-3pm
Port Hood Fire Hall, 11am-3pm

Friday
Halifax Central Library, 11am-6pm
St. Peters Lions Club, 11am-3pm
Chester Basin Fire Dept, 11am-3pm

Saturday
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
Glace Bay Legion, 11am-3pm

Sunday
Halifax Central Library, noon-7pm
Louisbourg Volunteer Fire Department, 11am-3pm

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


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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. Tim .. it was very very briefly mentioned but our Premier said there were two children in hospital .. & the topic never again came up & yes these briefings are the same old same old