N.S. reports 3 new deaths Wednesday, 83 people in COVID-19 hospital units
Premier says hospitals finding more people with COVID-19 after they're admitted for other reasons
Nova Scotia reported three new deaths due to the coronavirus on Wednesday and said 83 people were in COVID-19 hospital units, with 12 in intensive care.
The three deaths were all in the central zone, and include a man in his 60s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 80s.
During a press briefing, Premier Tim Houston said hospitals are finding more positive cases among people who are being admitted to hospital for other reasons.
"So this could be a heart attack patient who was found on admission to have COVID," Houston said.
There are currently 256 people in hospital with COVID-19, including the 83 hospitalized due to the virus. Sixty-six people were identified as positive upon arrival, but were admitted for another medical reason, or were admitted for COVID-19 but no longer require specialized care. The remainder, 107 people, contracted COVID-19 in hospital.
Houston said he understands the pressures felt by those in the health-care sector.
"This is a lot for anyone and you're on the front line. We see you, we hear you," Houston said,
On Wednesday Nova Scotia reported 11 new hospital admissions and five discharges.
Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said hospitals are at 100 per cent capacity and facing "an extremely delicate balance." Hospitals are having to reduce or cancel many services to keep on top of COVID-19 and maintain emergency services.
With vaccinations, Strang said 83 per cent of Nova Scotians 18 and over have had two doses of the vaccine, but that there are still about 70,000 Nova Scotians who have not been vaccinated.
"It's never too late to start your vaccination series to not only protect yourself but to help your family, friends and Nova Scotians," Strang said.
He said it's important for those eligible to get their booster dose when possible.
The vaccination status of those in hospital is:
- Twelve (14.5 per cent) people have had a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
- Fifty-one (61.4 per cent) are fully vaccinated (two doses).
- Three (3.6 per cent) are partially vaccinated.
- Seventeen (20.5 per cent) are unvaccinated.
Less than 10 per cent of Nova Scotians are unvaccinated, according to provincial statistics. More than 83 per cent of Nova Scotians have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 90.7 per cent have received at least one dose, as of Wednesday.
Currently, unvaccinated Nova Scotians are about four times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than someone with two doses of vaccine. That is based on average hospitalizations since the province started releasing the daily hospitalization numbers by vaccine status on Jan. 4.
Nova Scotia reported 527 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 267 cases in the central zone, 144 cases in the eastern zone, 49 cases in the northern zone and 67 cases in the western zone.
As of Wednesday, there are an estimated 5,374 active cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.
Hospital staff off due to COVID-19 precautions
On Wednesday, the Nova Scotia Health Authority said 534 employees were off work either because they tested positive for COVID-19 or because a member of their household tested positive. The breakdown by health zone is as follows:
- 92 staff off in the western zone
- 242 staff off in the central zone
- 64 staff off in the northern zone
- 136 staff off in the eastern zone
There are about 21,750 full-time and part-time employees working for the health authority, not including casuals.
Rapid test kits at schools
Students returned to in-class learning this week. In a news release Wednesday, Elwin LeRoux, executive director of the Halifax Regional Centre for Education, said schools have a supply of COVID-19 rapid test kits available for students and staff.
More kits are expected to be available starting next week. The kits are available for staff and students who develop symptoms.
Parents are also asked to complete a daily COVID-19 checklist before sending kids to school.
Atlantic Canada case numbers
- Newfoundland and Labrador reported 511 new confirmed cases of the virus Wednesday. The were 18 people in hospital, with four in ICU.
- Prince Edward Island reported its third death from COVID-19 on Wednesday. It reported 10 people in hospital, with three in ICU. There were 304 new cases reported Wednesday, with 2,514 active cases.
- New Brunswick reported three deaths and 113 hospitalizations Tuesday, including 15 people in ICU. The province reported 330 new cases on Tuesday for a total of 4,568 active cases.