Nova Scotia

N.S. reports 9 COVID-19 deaths, 17% increase in positive PCR tests in weekly update

There were 250 average daily lab-confirmed cases and an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital according to the latest weekly data from the province.

Average of 250 daily lab-confirmed cases between June 28 and July 4

The weekly total of positive PCR cases released by the Nova Scotia government does not include rapid test results, pictured here. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia is reporting nine COVID-19 deaths in the past week and a daily average of 250 lab-confirmed cases in its latest update to the provincial dashboard.

The figures are from a seven-day period from June 28 to July 4.

There were a total of 1,749 positive PCR tests, up from 1,491 from last week. That number does not include positive rapid test results.

Since March 2020, there have been 451 COVID-19 deaths in Nova Scotia. About three-quarters of those deaths happened during the Omicron wave, which began Dec. 8, 2021. 

Nova Scotia Health says as of today, 26 people are in hospital due to COVID-19, with seven in intensive care. That is an increase from last week, when there were 21 people in hospital with three in ICU. 

Another 119 people currently have COVID-19 but are in hospital for another reason, according to the health authority. A further 58 people contracted COVID-19 after being admitted to hospital.

The province is no longer releasing weekly COVID-19 reports with details such as age ranges of those who have died or COVID-19 cases in long-term or residential care. Starting this week, those reports will be issued on a monthly basis. 

The province continues to issue weekly respiratory disease reports, as it has for many years. Those reports detail the levels of flu and other respiratory diseases, but do not include details on COVID-19 activity. 

Jump in health care workers off due to COVID-19

There was an increase among Nova Scotia Health staff off sick or isolating due to COVID-19 this week, up 67 per cent to 237 employees.

Every part of the province saw an uptick, but the Central Zone, which includes Halifax, saw the highest jump, with 138 off work compared to 90 last week. 

COVID-19 restrictions removed

On Wednesday, the province removed all remaining community COVID-19 restrictions. As of July 6, a five-day isolation is  "strongly recommended" but not mandatory for people who test positive for COVID-19. 

Most restrictions in high-risk settings will remain.

Long-term care homes, correctional facilities, shelters and transition houses will maintain a seven-day isolation period for residents who test positive for COVID-19.

Health-care workers will still need to stay away from work for seven days if they test positive for the virus.

People who are sick are still asked to avoid high-risk spaces and also other people who are more vulnerable. If people who are sick must go out, they are asked to wear a well-fitted mask. Masks continue to be recommended for everyone in crowded indoor spaces, including public transit.

Second booster bookings for people 50-69

Starting Friday July 8, Nova Scotians aged 50 to 69 will be able to book a second COVID-19 booster online or by phone during the day at 1-833-797-7772. People don't need appointments for drop-in clinics offering the booster.

However, Nova Scotia Public Health says people should wait until the fall, when there could be a new vaccine that works better against the Omicron variant. 

"Our advice is to wait because the first booster still offers strong protection against severe disease for most people in this age group. COVID-19 activity is currently relatively stable, but we expect that we will have a resurgence later this fall or winter when we typically see surges in respiratory viruses," Dr. Shelley Deeks, the deputy chief medical officer of health, said in a news release. 

The province also announced Thursday that more immunocompromised Nova Scotians will be eligible for an additional dose of vaccine starting July 8.

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