Sixth wave of pandemic in N.S. fueled by BA.2 variant: Upward trend in positive PCR tests, hospitalizations and deaths

·2 min read

GUYSBOROUGH – “We’re still very much in an upward trend on our PCR positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths. This frankly is not a surprise ... this current surge is driven in part by the BA variant,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia in a press briefing on April 14.

Strang noted that the province is now in what Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, is calling the sixth wave of the pandemic, fueled by BA variants of COVID-19. The most recent results from national lab testing of COVID variants submitted by the province from mid-March indicate a third of the samples are the BA.2 COVID variant.

“It’s critically important that people still follow the COVID safety protocols,” said Strang, adding that it was also important for adults to get their third dose of vaccine, which has been proven to reduce the risk of death from COVID-19 by 91 per cent.

During the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, when Strang was asked at what point public health policy would adjust in reaction to the pressure put on the healthcare system, through number of staff off work due to COVID, he answered, “That really is an ongoing discussion with colleagues in the healthcare system ... it’s really up to colleagues in the healthcare system, for them to be clear to government and to the Department of Health and Wellness that they need additional measures to help them deal with the situation they are in right now.”

Two years into the pandemic, the information provided about COVID-19 continues to focus on the daily or weekly impact – positive PCR test, hospitalization numbers and deaths. The Journal asked Strang what data was available on long-COVID in the province.

Strang responded, “There’s a lot of research going on across the country around what exactly is what’s called long-COVID over different time periods. There are some estimates of the percentage of people who have persistent symptoms but there’s not yet a clear diagnosis of what actually constitutes prolonged symptoms from COVID. It really is in a research realm right now to understand this issue better….until we get better research, with clearer definitions, we don’t have a true understanding of this. It’s like any new disease, our knowledge of that disease, especially longer-term impacts, will evolve over time.”

Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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