ambulances lined up
On Monday, Jan. 10, 16 ambulances were lined up outside the Queen Elizabeth 2 hospital. Photo: Tim Bousquet

Jump to sections in this article:
Overview
Vaccination
Testing
Potential exposure advisories

Three Nova Scotian men have died from COVID-19.

One of the deceased was in his 60s and lived in Nova Scotia Health’s Eastern Zone; the second was in his 70s and lived in the Northern Zone; the third was in his 80s and lived in the Central Zone.

Through the pandemic, 115 Nova Scotians have died from COVID-19.

There are now 59 people in hospital who were admitted because of COVID symptoms, two of whom are in ICU. (The hospitalized number does not include those who were admitted to hospital for other reasons but tested positive for COVID during the admissions screening, nor those who contracted COVID in the hospital outbreaks listed below.) The 59 hospitalized range in age from 31 to 100 years old, and the average age is 69.

The vaccination status of the hospitalized is:
• 7 (11.9%) have had a third dose
• 35 (59.3%) have had two doses but not three
• 2 (3.4%) have had one dose
• 15 (25.4%) are unvaccinated
Note that only about 10% of the population is unvaccinated.

Additionally, the province announced 816 new cases of COVID-19 today. The new cases are people who received a positive PCR test result from a Nova Scotia Health lab; this 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:
• 526 Central
• 110 Eastern
• 110 Western
• 70 Northern

Hospital outbreaks

There are new hospital outbreaks at:
• Northside General Hospital
• Aberdeen Hospital
• Abbie Lane
There are fewer than five patients testing positive at each site.

There are also new cases in five ongoing hospital outbreaks:
• Victoria General (one ward) — two new patients, for a total of fewer than 10
• Victoria General (another ward) — two new patients, for a total of fewer than 10
• New Waterford Consolidated — two new patients, for a total of 13
• Northside General — two new patients, for a total of fewer than 10
• Halifax Infirmary — one new patient, for a total of 17

There are evidently staffing problems at the hospitals, as today there were 16 ambulances waiting outside the QE2 and another five lined up outside Dartmouth General.


Vaccination

Over the last three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), 13,258 doses of vaccine were administered. For reasons I can’t explain, for the first time in six months the numbers of first, second, and third doses are not reported, albeit the percentages are.

According to the Department of Health, by end of day yesterday, 90.1% of the entire population have received at least one dose of vaccine:
• 7.2% with one dose only
• 63.0% with two doses but not three
• 19.9% with three doses

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 4,063 PCR tests, with a positivity rate of 20.1%.

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:

Monday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Sackville Lions Club, 11am-3pm
Hubbard’s Lions Club, 11am-3pm

Tuesday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 4-6pm
New Germany Legion, 11am-3pm
Brooklyn Civic Centre, 11am-3pm

Wednesday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Alderney Gate, 10am-2pm
Bridgetown Fire Hall, 11am-3pm
Windsor Legion, 11am-3pm

Thursday
Halifax Convention Centre, noon-7pm
Annapolis Royal Legion, 11am-3pm
Enfield Fire Hall, 11am-3pm

Friday
Chester Basin Fire Dept., 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

Public Health has stopped issuing potential COVID exposure advisories, so I will discontinue posting the map after today.


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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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