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Nova Scotia is reporting four new COVID deaths today (Friday, March 4). The deceased are:
• a man in his 50s, Northern Zone
• a man in his 70s, Eastern Zone
• a man in his 80s, Northern Zone
• a man in his 80s, Western Zone
This week, 20 COVID deaths were reported in Nova Scotia, the highest weekly COVID death count of the entire pandemic. The next highest weekly death count was 18, Feb. 12-18, 2022.
Phase 2 of the loosening of Public Health restrictions starts Monday. Phase 2 also means that the province’s COVID reporting will now be weekly, so this reporting won’t return until Thursday, March 10.
Additionally, the province is reporting a total of 320 people in hospital who either now have COVID or once did have COVID, as follows:
• 45 admitted because of COVID symptoms, 13 of whom are in ICU. Those 45 range in age from 5 to 91 years old, and their median age is 61;
• 117 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;
• 158 who contracted COVID in the hospital outbreaks
The 45 people now hospitalized because of COVID have the following vaccination status:
• 12 (26.7%) have had 3 doses
• 23 (51.1%) have had 2 doses but not 3
• 1 (2.2%) has had 1 dose only
• 9 (20.0%) are unvaccinated
Note that less than 8% of the population is unvaccinated.
My very rough calculation of the rate by vaccination status of those hospitalized (based on numbers of the population in each category two weeks ago) is as follows:
• (12) a rate of 2.4 per 100K with 3 doses
• (23) a rate of 6.9 per 100K with 2 doses (but not 3)
• (1) a rate of 1.8 per 100K with 1 dose only
• (9) a rate of 9.8 per 100K unvaccinated
Additionally, the province announced 294 new lab-confirmed cases today.
By Nova Scotia Health zone, the new cases break down as:
• 117 Central
• 64 Eastern
• 43 Northern
• 70 Western
The Dept. of Health estimates there are 2,650 active cases in the province.
The graph above shows the number of reported weekly cases (green, left axis) and reported weekly deaths (red, right axis).
The graph above shows the number of weekly cases (green, left axis) and the number hospitalized on Fridays (orange, right axis) for the duration of the pandemic.
Yesterday, 831 doses of vaccine were administered (which is low, probably because of the weather):
• 42 first doses
• 184 second doses
• 602 third doses
(three doses are missing)
In total, 2,217,196 doses have been administered:
• 882,930 first doses
• 831,009 second doses
• 503,257 third doses
At end of day yesterday, 92.2% of the entire population have received at least 1 dose of vaccine:
• 5.4 with 1 dose only
• 34.8% with 2 doses but not 3
• 52.0% with 3 doses
• 7.8% unvaccinated
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 18 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.
Nova Scotia Health labs completed 1,632 PCR tests yesterday, with a positivity rate of 18.0%.
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.
The pop-up testing schedule can be found here.
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I have never interpreted the data to imply that the sweet spot for vaccination status is one dose; only just that one needs to have the first dose before they get the second (which, up until omicron, was my interpretation of fully-vaccinated status).
Without knowing the details of the health status of any of the deceased, my guess is that we are starting to see the sad effects of a health-care system long neglected. It is no secret that the system in general was already under stress pre-Covid (think about all the waiting lists for hip and knee replacements, for example), and I think that people in frail and declining health, or people with chronic conditions, could just not withstand the final acute pressure brought about by Covid. If we want to get all conspiracy theory about anything, it is about the government’s realization that they fooled around and were found out, caught flat-footed by the crisis that they had hoped wouldn’t come on their watch.
It would be nice if NS Public Health published more detail, such as age-standardized risk information. For example, the March 4 epidemiological survey says: “Compared to cases fully vaccinated with an additional dose, unvaccinated cases were 12 times more likely to be hospitalized and 14 times more likely to die as a result of their illness, during this same 4-week period.” That’s age-standardized. (Table 3).
Without that detail, people trying to understand the publicly reported figures sometimes have to struggle with false anomalies. For example, contrary to what the feds say, the data presented here and on the NS Public Health site imply the “sweet spot’ for vaccination status is single dose. However, a careful reading of the the Epidemiological Survey shows otherwise: https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html#a9.
None of this is a problem if you don’t understand statistics — you simply accept what NS Public Health tells you. But for those of us who understand just enough to be confused it’s, um, confusing. In other words, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.