A Halifax infectious disease specialist said she's been told Nova Scotia is plateauing in COVID-19 cases but that people still need to be vigilant against the virus.
"I'm told that we are plateauing, and I think what people mean by that is the per cent positivity," Dalhousie University's Dr. Lisa Barrett said. "So, the number of cases that we find out of the number of tests that we report seems to be about stable around that 16 to 18 per cent mark, and it's not getting higher. That's true and fair.
"That number is important because that 18 per cent is the high-risk people getting tested plus some health care workers and others that are positive. So, that seems to not be going up."
While the number of positive COVID-19 cases discovered from tests remains low, the province is still only testing certain groups of people — and the exact number of positive rapid antigen tests remains uncertain.
Dr. Barrett said hospitalizations have been increasing and continue to rise, but she's also heard that the rate is slowing down.
"I don't see that in the hospital, so I'm not quite sure where that part comes from," she said. "Have we crested with new cases? I'm not sure."
Since more in-person gatherings — such as in-person classes in schools — have resumed, Dr. Barrett said she wants to hold off on completely saying Nova Scotia has plateaued in COVID-19 cases during the Omicron wave.
"We may have for a bit," she said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we continue to go up a bit in the next couple of weeks. Just to be clear, there's a lot of vulnerable folks in that list of people in hospital, so they need to know that this is not a mild disease."
On Sunday, Nova Scotia reported that there are currently 85 people in the hospital who were admitted due to COVID-19. Eighty-two of those people were admitted during the Omicron wave and 11 people are currently in the ICU.
Dr. Barrett said the vast majority of people who get a virus such as COVID or the flu will do "OK," especially if they're vaccinated.
"However, there are a — not insignificant — number of people who are at risk for very bad disease," she said. "Those are the people for whom we both, individually, they need to know they're at risk, they can take extra precaution and the people around them need to modify their behaviours in order to protect them."
Until Nova Scotians experience a couple more respiratory seasons, get booster doses and those under 12 get vaccinated, she said people need to be aware that many others are at risk and must be protected.