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Overview
Vaccination
Testing
Potential exposure advisories

A woman in her 80s who lived in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone has died from COVID. She is the 112th Nova Scotian to die from the disease.

It is not yet known for certain that she had the Omicron variant, but she was admitted to hospital after the Omicron outbreak started.

Assessing hospitalization figures

Nova Scotia Health has become much more forthcoming with hospitalization data.

There is a total of 144 people in hospital today in Nova Scotia with COVID. Of those:
• 48 were admitted because of COVID
• 32 were admitted to hospital for other reasons, but tested positive for COVID through the admissions process
• 64 contracted COVID in the eight hospital outbreaks

The province’s hospitals are strained, reports Jennifer Henderson, in part because ICUs and most hospital floors are operating at approximately 97% capacity, and in part because over 700 Nova Scotia Health employees are out sick or isolating because they are close contacts of someone with COVID.

The 48 people now hospitalized because of COVID have the following vaccination status:
• 6 (12.5%) have had three doses
• 25 (52.1%) have had two doses
• 2 (4.2%) have had one dose
• 15 (31.3%) are unvaccinated
Note: only 10.9% of the entire population is unvaccinated.

Nova Scotia announced 678 new cases of COVID-19 today, Friday, Jan. 7. 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:
• 394 Central
• 108 Eastern
• 97 Northern
• 79 Western

The graph above shows the weekly (Sat-Fri) number of new cases for the duration of the pandemic.

In isolation, that graph is alarming. But let’s look at the severity of those case numbers over time.

The graph above shows the number of weekly cases (green, left axis) and weekly deaths (red, right axis). The death-to-case ratio for Omicron is very much lower than for previous variants, likely because the variant itself is less lethal but also because high vaccination rates are protecting people. However, death is a lagging indicator, two to three weeks past the case number peaks, so Nova Scotia’s death numbers may increase in coming weeks, but we don’t know by how much.

The hospitalization-to-death ratio (above; weekly cases are green and the left axis, hospitalizations are orange and the right axis) looks similar, but not as pronounced. That is, Omicron lands a lower percentage in hospital compared to previous variants, but an even lower percentage die because of Omicron.

Jail outbreak

There are now 82 prisoners at the Burnside jail who have tested positive for COVID, reports Zane Woodford.

Hospital outbreaks

There are new cases at existing hospital outbreaks:
• Cape Breton Regional Hospital — 2 new patients, for a total of fewer than 5
• Northside General Hospital — 1 new patient, for a total of fewer than 10
• Victoria General — 1 new patient, for a total of fewer than 5

Long-term care outbreaks

There are 6 new outbreaks in long-term care facilities:
• Blomidon Court, Wolfville — 6 staff
• Orchard Court, Kentville — 5 staff
• Evergreen Home, Kentville — 2 staff, 1 resident
• Grand View Manor, Berwick — 10 staff, 1 resident
• Queens Manor, Liverpool — 6 staff, 3 residents
• The Meadows, Yarmouth — 5 staff

Additionally, there are new cases at three ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities:
• Parkstone, Halifax — 3 staff, 2 residents
• Melville Gardens, Halifax — 1 staff, 2 residents
• Sagewood, Halifax — 4 staff

The Department of Health estimates that there are 6,615 active cases of COVID in the province. Given that this does not include people who tested positive at home, this figure surely is a substantial undercount.


Vaccination

Yesterday, 14,296 doses of vaccine were administered:
• 736 first doses
• 296 second doses
• 13,264 third doses

In total, there have been 1,842,770 doses of vaccine administered, which break down as:
• 70,052 people with only the first dose
• 615,318 people with the second dose but not the third
• 180,694 people with three doses

By end of day yesterday, 89.1% of the entire population have received at least one dose of vaccine:
• 7.2% with one dose only
• 63.3% with two doses but not three
• 18.6% with three doses
• 10.9% are unvaccinated

As of yesterday, just 60% of 5- to 11-year-olds have received their first shot of vaccine.

The graph above shows the vaccination progress as captured on Fridays through the pandemic. The yellow line is people with at least one dose of vaccine The blue line is people with only one dose. The green line is people with two doses but not three. The grey line is people with three doses. The red line is 80% of the population.

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, starting next week, several for kids five years old and older.

Additionally, the province has scheduled several appointment-based vaccination clinics for booster shots, as follows:

New community clinics will offer vaccine by appointment starting:

  • Thursday, January 6, at the Halifax Forum
  • Monday, January 10, at the Acadia Festival Theatre in Wolfville
  • Monday, January 17, at Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth
  • Monday, January 24, at the Nova Scotia Community College campus in Truro.

Some existing COVID-19 testing centres will also offer vaccine by appointment. The following centres will start vaccinations on Monday, January 10:

  • Rath Eastlink Community Centre, Truro
  • Pictou County Assessment Centre, New Glasgow
  • Cumberland County Assessment Centre, Amherst
  • Antigonish Market Square, Antigonish
  • Grand Lake Road Fire Hall, Sydney
  • Berwick Fire Hall, Berwick
  • Mariners Centre, Yarmouth.

The Digby Station testing centre will offer vaccine by appointment starting Monday, January 24.


Testing

Yesterday, Nova Scotia Health labs completed 5,709 PCR tests, with a positivity rate of 11.9%.

The testing protocols have changed. 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.

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

Saturday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
New Waterford Knights of Columbus, noon-5pm

Sunday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-4pm

Monday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm

Tuesday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 4-6pm

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.

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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