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. That brings the total of Nova Scotians who have died since the Omicron surge began on Dec. 8, 2021, to 202. 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."
Nova Scotia: Weekly COVID-19 deaths
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.
Nova Scotia: COVID-19 hospitalizations
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.
Nova Scotia's health minister said even though the provincial government removed its indoor mask mandate on March 21, the province still recommends masking and physical distancing.
"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."
Nova Scotia: Daily new COVID-19 cases
Thompson said releasing COVID numbers weekly 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.
N.S. Health staff off work due to COVID-19
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