Focus shifting away from case counts to hospitalizations: Strang

By Stephen Wentzell

With record-breaking COVID-19 case numbers in Nova Scotia, the province is looking at hospitalization data rather than case counts to determine the severity of the latest wave. 

While the province has reported more than 5,000 cases of COVID-19 in this wave, hospitals have seen a significant drop in COVID-19 patients. At the height of Nova Scotia's third wave in May 2021, the province had more than 50 people in hospital, with at least 18 people in intensive care. 

Now, with higher immunization rates and the roll-out of booster shots, the provincial government says hospitals rates are much lower despite high case counts. The move to hospitalization numbers will help to avoid substantial operational impacts to Emergency Health Services, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. 

Currently, there are 36 people in Nova Scotia hospitals, including four in intensive care. Five of the 36 cases, or nearly 14 per cent of patients, have been in hospital before the Omicron variant began to spread. 

Ages of those in hospital range from 19 to 98, with an average age of 72. Nearly 80 per cent of patients have been vaccinated to some degree. 

While no new restrictions were announced at Monday's briefing, the premier assured he's “watching restrictions and won't hesitate to do what it takes to keep Nova Scotians safe.”

Houston noted 92,000 booster shot appointments opened up overnight for Nova Scotians ages 30 and older. Most, if not all, were filled by the 2 p.m. briefing. 

The premier also put out another call to people with experience in immunization to help administer booster shots, noting 1,646 Nova Scotians have already stepped forward. 

While Dr. Strang urged those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to isolate for ten days, there's evolving evidence regarding isolation times. An announcement on final recommendations will be released Tuesday. 

Another COVID-19 briefing is scheduled to take place Wednesday.

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