Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia reports 24 COVID-19 deaths in past week, an all-time high

The province’s COVID-19 weekly data report indicates that the daily case average stands at 777 new cases, down from 1,073 a week ago.

Daily case average stands at 777 new cases, down from 1,073 a week ago

A total of 202 Nova Scotians have died since the Omicron surge began in the province on Dec. 8, 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Nova Scotia is reporting a record number of COVID-19 deaths in its latest weekly report. 

Twenty-four people died between April 19 and 25. Since Dec. 8, the beginning of the Omicron surge, 202 Nova Scotians have died from COVID-19. Their ages range from between 10 and 100 years old, with a median age of 80. 

"The number of deaths isn't surprising. It's very extremely unfortunate but it's not surprising," said Dr. Shelley Deeks in a teleconference Thursday.

"As the numbers go up, we do know that a certain proportion will be severe, will be hospitalized and unfortunately will die."

There are 55 people currently in hospital due to COVID-19, including 10 in ICU. 

However, the number of cases overall is decreasing. The daily case average stands at 777 new cases, down from 1,073 a week ago.

Deeks said the province is now in its sixth COVID wave. The fifth wave includes cases between Dec. 8, 2021 and Feb. 28, 2022, and the sixth wave began March 1, 2022. Deeks said the data on PCR-confirmed infections suggests the peak of the sixth wave is now behind us.

She said about 14,000 Nova Scotians have so far received a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine since appointments opened up for people over 70 last week.

According to the province, those who received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine had an 85 per cent lower risk of hospitalization and a 93 per cent lower risk of death than those who were unvaccinated or had only one dose.

Since Dec. 8, 2,057 residents of long-term care homes have tested positive for COVID-19. Fifty-two residents have died, a fatality rate of 2.5 per cent.

That number stands in sharp contrast to the first wave of the pandemic, before vaccines were available. In the spring of 2020, 57 of the 263 long-term care residents who tested positive died — a fatality rate of nearly 22 per cent. 

Masks still important: health minister

Nova Scotia's health minister said the province still recommends masking and physical distancing, even though the provincial government dropped most mask requirements on March 21 as the sixth wave picked up steam.

"Those public health measures are just as important today as they were prior," Michelle Thompson told CBC Radio's Mainstreet this week.

"But we need to learn to live alongside COVID and we need to move through this transition phase together."

Thompson said releasing COVID numbers weekly rather than daily makes sense given "we are past the acute phase of the pandemic."

"Prior to COVID, this is the way that public health would do surveillance for other types of communicable diseases, and so we're really focusing now on those folks who are at risk of severe disease, and we're monitoring those hospitalizations," she said. 

With files from CBC Radio's Mainstreet Halifax

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