COVID cases and news for Nova Scotia on Friday, Jan 14

All the information as we can provide while NS struggles to keep up with the pandemic’s omicron wave.


Omicron's arrival means Nova Scotia is overwhelmed by COVID and its data-dissemination abilities are severely compromised. For the time being, these are the only infographics we can share with any confidence of accuracy: Omicron hospitalizations    New and active cases    Nova Scotia’s third and fourth waves    Canada’s fourth wave

An otherwise slow end to the week

This week was a lot. We've had five COVID deaths; the province switched around its reporting to play up hospitalizations and downplay new infections; and Houstrang gave a briefing about how seriously the health system is struggling under the omicron wave. But Friday's provincial report doesn't have a whole lot of drama happening, so consider it a head start on a potentially quiet weekend of "abbreviated COVID-19 news releases" and a chilly snow day forecast for Saturday.

The total number of COVID-related hospitalizations is slightly up from 207 patients yesterday to 214 today, but in the key patient category—what the province calls people "receiving specialized care in a COVID-19 designated unit"—the number fell from 59 yesterday to 57 today. Then again 10 of those 57 patients are sick enough to be in intensive care, compared to seven people in ICU yesterday, so it's hard to say if things are better or worse today. Examine the numbers yourself with our interactive graph of hospitalizations below.

The estimated caseload is 6,648 active cases, just 24 more than yesterday, and Nova Scotia isn't reporting any new deaths. The vaccination effort stuck almost 20,000 jabs into arms yesterday, putting the province at 90.4 percent of the population with at least one dose (and 35.6 percent with three doses). There there are no new outbreaks in hospitals, although there are four outbreaks in long-term care facilities to balance any enthusiasm about the hospitals.

It's only the number of new infections that might raise…not alarm necessarily, but maybe eyebrows? There are 891 cases today, the most since there were 1,145 cases announced last Saturday. They're spread around Nova Scotia as 534 cases in Central zone, 198 in Eastern, 82 Western and 77 Northern.


Hospitalizations during omicron

Early in 2022, Nova Scotia subtly shifted attention from new COVID cases to people actually in hospital with the disease, and as part of that shift started reporting the vaccination status of patients "receiving specialized care in a COVID-19 designated unit." On Jan 12—the day the bars on the following chart jump way up—the province added two more categories of hospitalized COVID patient to its daily reports. One is "people who were identified as positive upon arrival to hospital but were admitted for another medical reason or people who were admitted for COVID-19 but no longer require specialized care." (These patients are categorized as "Non-severe COVID case" on the chart.) The other category is category is "people who contracted COVID-19 after being admitted to hospital," as the province puts it, termed "Caught COVID in hospital" on the chart. You can filter categories in and out by clicking the labels near the top of the chart, but whatever numbers you are considering, the province points out it's "important to note that less than 10 percent of Nova Scotians are unvaccinated."

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Comparing active cases in the third and fourth waves

In December, the town of Antigonish became ground zero for an inter-provincial COVID outbreak due to a weekend of superspreader events connected to the annual presentation of X-Rings at St. Francis Xavier University. But how bad is the outbreak, really? The following chart lets you compare Nova Scotia's active cases, dating from the third wave in April through the fourth wave and its infection Xplosion, using case data from provincial pandemic reports. The chart will be updated when provincial reporting allows. Note: From Dec 10 through Dec 22, Nova Scotia was too overwhelmed by new COVID cases to report recoveries or an official active case count; the active case numbers on this graph for those dates have been calculated by adding each day's new cases to the last official active count, and are therefore a maximum active caseload. Starting Dec 23, the province is issuing an "estimated" number of active cases.

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New and active cases visualized

Nova Scotia's third wave of COVID grew in April, 2021, peaked in May (227 new cases in one day was the maximum) and subsided in June. On July 17, the province reached five active cases—its lowest level in more than eight months—and an election was called. So when it came time to reset The Coast's chart comparing daily new cases with that day’s active caseload, in order to better reflect disease levels after the third wave, we started from July 17. Two months later, on September 14, the province formally announced the arrival of the fourth wave of COVID. The dark purple line tracks the rise and fall of daily new infections reported by the province; the green area is the province's caseload. In mid-November, The Coast added a golden line to show the 7-day moving average of daily new cases, effectively a smoothed-out version of the purple line that puts the ups and downs into bigger context. Click or hover over any point on the graph and the detail for that moment will pop up. To focus on just some information, click the legend at the top left of the graph to hide or reveal that data set. Note: As of July 23, 2021, the province stopped updating case numbers on weekends. And you can click here for the version of this graph that includes the third wave and its May 10 crest of 1,655 active cases. Also, from Dec 10 through Dec 22, Nova Scotia was too overwhelmed by new COVID cases to report recoveries or an official active case count; the active case numbers on this graph for those dates have been calculated by adding each day's new cases to the last official active count, and are therefore a maximum active caseload. Starting Dec 23, the province is issuing an "estimated" number of active cases.

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Canadian cases 2021-22

There was a point in July 2021, when the delta variant was causing an increase in COVID infections around the world, that Canada seemed safe from the fourth wave. By August, however, that point had passed, and case numbers around the country started to rise again. This graph charts the number of new infections every day in each province and territory, using the 7-day moving average to mitigate single-day anomalies (including a lack of weekend reporting in several jurisdictions including British Columbia and Nova Scotia). To focus on individual places, click the place names at the top of the chart to turn that data on or off.

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Click here for yesterday's COVID-19 news roundup, for January 13, 2022.

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