NS reports 13 COVID-19 deaths, 226 daily average of cases in weekly update

Nova Scotia reports 13 deaths from COVID-19 for the seven-day period ended May 23.

Nova Scotia Health Department labs confirmed 1,584 new cases of the virus this week, an average of 226 new cases per day, according to a provincial news release Thursday.

There were 40 new hospital admissions in that seven-day period as a result of the virus.

The number of new cases continues to decline, along with the number of hospital admissions, the press release said.

The province said hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are nearly 11 times higher and the risk of death is 114 times higher for people aged 70 and older compared to younger people.

A press release from the health agency Thursday said 287 people currently hospitalized have COVID-19.

  • 33 people are in hospital due to COVID-19, eight of them in intensive care.
  • 171 people are in hospital for something else but have COVID-19.
  • 83 people contracted COVID-19 after being hospitalized.

Hospitalization numbers for the IWK Health Center are not included in the Nova Scotia Health numbers. CBC News has requested the numbers from this facility and is awaiting a response.

Personnel numbers for the health department were not included due to a technical problem, according to a press release.

dr Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease expert, said the current wave of COVID-19 appears to be on the wane. However, she said fewer people appear to be wearing masks and gatherings have increased, so it will be a long time before the wave ends.

She said public health continues to recommend wearing masks indoors after the mask mandate was lifted in schools this week.

“Let’s hope most of these kids will still be wearing masks in these indoor spaces for the rest of the school year,” Barrett said.

No briefing

For the first time in many weeks, the province did not hold a conference call to discuss the latest figures and answer questions from members of the media.

After launching an affordable housing initiative in New Glasgow on Thursday, Premier Tim Houston indicated that the province plans to end COVID-19 briefings altogether.

“I truly believe Nova Scotians have the resources they need to protect themselves and their families,” Houston said. “The reality is that we are moving into a different phase of the pandemic and we are moving forward.”

Thursday’s press release also noted that the province’s online public COVID-19 dashboard will continue to be updated through the end of June.

Liberal leader Iain Rankin said there were “really no downsides” to public briefings.

“I don’t understand why they completely back off from this public accountability,” Rankin said.

“If it’s not the Premier, at least the Health Secretary or other officials could be made available and it doesn’t have to be weekly.”

The province encourages people to get vaccinated if they have not already done so. People who are 70 or older are advised to receive a second booster dose.

According to the province, 65.6 percent of Nova Scotians age 18 and older have received at least one booster shot, and 59,631 people have received a second booster shot.

The province said unvaccinated people are at the highest risk of serious illnesses.

Since the Omicron wave began in Nova Scotia on December 8, 2021:

  • The median age of PCR-confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 43 years.
  • The median age of hospital admissions is 71 years.
  • The median age of reported deaths is 81 years.

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