Nova Scotia reports 24 more COVID-19 deaths as lab-confirmed cases drop

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HALIFAX — Nova Scotia appears to have passed its peak number of cases for the sixth wave of COVID-19 despite a rise in the number of deaths in the past week, the province’s deputy chief medical officer of health said Thursday.

Dr. Shelley Deeks told reporters she’s confident the peak of the wave is “behind us” because access to testing in the province has remained constant.

“We still are testing a lot in the province of Nova Scotia,” said Deeks, who noted the number of new positive PCR lab-confirmed tests dropped to 5,436 during the past week, down from 7,508 in the previous report.

However, the number of deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus nearly doubled over the last week from 13 to 24. There were also 91 new hospitalizations due to the disease for the seven-day period ending Monday.

As of Thursday, a total of 339 patients were in hospital with the disease, with 10 in intensive care, according to the province’s health authority, while 359 health workers were off the job because of a positive test or exposure to the virus through a member of their household.

Provincial data indicates more than half of hospitalizations and 80 per cent of the reported deaths since the fifth wave of the pandemic began in December occurred in adults 70 years of age and older.

Deeks said the data is typical of how waves of the virus occur — where younger people who are not as susceptible to severe disease tend to get it early on because they are more social, and older people who are more vulnerable tend to contract it later.

Deeks said it’s not known at this point when the number of deaths will decrease.

“Typically we see both hospitalizations and deaths lag about two to three weeks behind the number of cases,” she said. “What I expect will happen in the next couple of weeks is we will start to see a downward trend for hospitalizations.”

According to the data, about 64.7 per cent of Nova Scotians 18 and older have received at least one booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently a second booster dose is available to those 70 and older, and Deeks said about 14,000 of those shots have been administered so far.

Meanwhile, the province broke down the time periods for the latest waves of the disease, which have been driven by the Omicron variant and its subvariant BA.2. It said the fifth wave includes data from Dec. 8, 2021, to Feb. 28, while the sixth wave began on March 1.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2022.

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

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