N.S. premier reports three deaths, 256 Nova Scotians in hospital with COVID-19 Wednesday
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston says there are a total of 256 Nova Scotians in hospital with COVID-19 as of Wednesday.
Houston says 83 people who are in hospital were admitted due to COVID-19 and are receiving specialized care in a COVID-19 designated unit, including 12 in intensive care.
Of the 83 in hospital:
- the age range is 29 – 100 years old
- the average age is 69
- the average length of stay of those admitted to hospital in Nova Scotia due to COVID-19 is 6.5 days
- 77 were admitted during the Omicron wave
The vaccination status of the 83 individuals in hospital is as follows:
- 12 (14.5 per cent) people have had a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine
- 51 (61.4 per cent) are fully vaccinated (two doses)
- three (3.6 per cent) are partially vaccinated
- 17 (20.5 per cent) are unvaccinated
Houston says there are also an additional 66 people who were admitted for other reasons but have since tested positive for COVID-19.
"This could be a heart attack patient who, on admission, was discovered to have had COVID," Houston says.
According to Houston, an additional 107 patients were admitted to hospital for other reasons and contracted COVID-19 in hospital.
"With 256 total Nova Scotians in the hospital, you can see where the pressure is mounting on our health-care system," Houston says.
Since Tuesday, there have been 11 new hospital admissions in Nova Scotia and five discharges.
"Our health-care system continues to be under tremendous pressure," says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "Our hospitals are full; in fact, they are beyond the 100 per cent capacity."
Strang says managing hospitals is an "extremely delicate balance."
"Most non-COVID programs and services have had to be reduced so that COVID care can be provided, and also to maintain emergency and urgent care for other health issues," said Strang. "Staff in the health-care system are under great strain and they deserve everyone's support and deep gratitude and thanks."
THREE NEW DEATHS
Nova Scotia health officials reported three new deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Public health says the deaths involve:
- a man in his 60s in Central zone
- a man in his 80s in Central zone
- a woman in her 80s in Central zone
According to the province's COVID-19 online dashboard, there have been 124 deaths related to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
LEARNING WILL REMAIN IN-PERSON
Strang says in-person learning will continue for students in Nova Scotia, adding it is critically important for all students.
"I do understand that there is some anxiety about in-person learning," says Strang. "We've considered the risks and benefits, sought input from experts and made the decision that the benefits of students and learners being in classrooms with their peers far outweighs any risks."
As far as safety in schools, Strang says "we can't equate safety with being COVID-free."
"COVID is everywhere, so of course it will be in our schools," Strang says.
Strang says people should consider the safety measures in place at schools, including:
- mandatory masking
- increased supports for ventilation
- increased access to testing
"Here's what we do know. There is a lot of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia and it will be in our schools because it is in our communities," says Strang. "Omicron presents in children as mostly mild illness."
Strang adds that rapid tests will be provided to all students and staff in the public school system next week.
"These tests can be used if a student or staff member has symptoms and, because of the potential for ongoing exposures in schools, families and staff will have the option to use these tests up to twice a week, even if they have no symptoms," Strang says.
As of Jan. 18, 1,979,992 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
Of those, 90.7 per cent of Nova Scotians have received their first dose, and 83.2 per cent have received their second dose.
As well, 38.6 per cent of Nova Scotians aged 18 and older have received a booster dose and 11.4 per cent have booked a booster dose appointment.
CASES AND TESTING
On Jan. 18, Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) labs completed 4,232 tests. An additional 527 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 are being reported.
There are an estimated 5,374 active cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, the numbers by zone are as follows:
- 267 cases in Central zone
- 144 cases in Eastern zone
- 49 cases in Northern zone
- 67 cases in Western zone
The NSHA is reporting a new outbreak in a ward at Cape Breton Regional Hospital, where fewer then five patients at each facility have tested positive.
Public health says all patients are being closely monitored and other infection prevention and control measures are being put in place.
The Province is also reporting seven outbreaks in long-term care facilities, which include:
- three staff at North Queens Nursing Home in Caledonia
- six staff and three residents at Shoreham Village in Chester
- four staff and 10 residents at Oakwood Terrace in Dartmouth
- 14 staff and six residents at Saint Vincent's Nursing Home in Halifax
- four staff at Wynn Park Villa in Truro
- two staff and one resident at Cedarstone Enhanced Care in Truro --three staff at Harbourstone in Sydney
"Public health is working with the facilities to prevent further spread. Increased public health measures and restrictions are in place," wrote public health in a release.
COVID ALERT APP
Canada’s COVID Alert app is available in Nova Scotia.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
LIST OF SYMPTOMS
Anyone who experiences a new or worsening cough, or who has two or more of the following symptoms, needs to self-isolate and take an online COVID-19 self-assessment test, or call 811, to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:
- fever (chills, sweats)
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- runny nose/nasal congestion
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