COVID cases, hospitalizations and news for Nova Scotia the week Jan 24-30

The charts and information we can provide while NS struggles to keep up with the pandemic’s omicron wave.

Like the province, The Coast is admitting to omicron overwhelm. We are switching to bare-bones daily reports, while aiming to maintain the vital infographics that give the best picture of the current situation: NS COVID deaths    Omicron hospitalizations    New and active cases    Nova Scotia’s third and fourth waves    Canada’s fourth wave

Sunday, January 30

Weekend reports from the province always skimp on details—the term the province uses is "abbreviated"—and the Sunday COVID update stays true to form. There's no word on deaths (whether there are any or none) and COVID-unit hospitalizations aren't broken out by vax status (forcing the hospitalizations graph below to switch from a detailed breakdown to a basic number). We know there are 92 patients in designated COVID hospital units, and 425 new cases in the province. Want an estimate of the active caseload? Not this weekend, friend. Tune back in on Monday.

Saturday, January 29

The province has an abbreviated report this weekend day, so our abbreviated report is gonna be double-brief: There are 87 people in hospital COVID units, and 503 new cases were diagnosed. There is no estimate of the active caseload, and the report doesn't say if there are no deaths today, or the province just isn't announcing deaths today.

Friday, January 28

The province announces a single death today, the fifth day in a row with at least one COVID fatality. The deceased is a man in his 60s who lived in Western zone. There have now been 143 C19-related deaths in Nova Scotia during the entire pandemic.

There are 88 people in a COVID unit in hospitals in Nova Scotia, 15 of them in ICU. And with 620 new cases of COVID diagnosed, the province estimates there are 4,316 active cases right now in the province.

“It’s never easy to learn that another Nova Scotian lost their life because of this virus. I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends grieving,” says premier Tim Houston. “This has been a difficult week for our province. As we head into the weekend, please let this be a sad reminder to slow down your activities, minimize your contacts and follow the public health measures in place.”

Thursday, January 27

The Thursday COVID update from the province says there is one death, a low for the week so far. The Nova Scotian who died from COVID was a woman who lived in the Central zone; she was in her 70s.

“This is another difficult day for our province as another Nova Scotian is taken from us because of COVID,” says premier Tim Houston in the update. “I cannot stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated with the dose you need as soon as you are able. We must all do what we can to protect ourselves and others.”

The province says COVID-specific hospitalizations stand at 93 people, after there were 11 new admissions and seven people discharged. After 366 new COVID infections were diagnosed, the active caseload is estimated to be 4,276 active cases.

Wednesday, January 26

The deaths just continue, with Nova Scotia reporting another three today. They are:
• a woman in her 80s in Central Zone
• a man in his 80s in Central Zone
• a man in his 90s in Eastern Zone

COVID-specific hospitalizations somehow went down to 91 today from 92 yesterday, even though the province says there are 16 new admissions and only five discharges.

Active cases are estimated to number 4,353 today, with 346 new cases diagnosed.

Tuesday, January 25

Nova Scotia reports another five deaths:
• a woman in her 70s in Central Zone
• a man in his 80s in Central Zone
• a man in his 80s in Central Zone
• a man in his 80s in Central Zone
• a woman in her 80s in Eastern Zone

There are 11 new hospital admissions for a total of 92 COVID-specific hospitalizations. With 492 new cases diagnosed, it's estimated there are 4,250 active cases in Nova Scotia.

“This is another very sad day and I send my sympathies to the loved ones of the five Nova Scotians who died,” says Doctor Strang. “This has been a difficult two years for all Nova Scotians. I continue to ask for people’s patience, understanding and cooperation. Please respect the public health restrictions and get vaccinated to help slow the spread of this virus.”

Monday, January 24

The province is reporting five more COVID deaths:
• a woman in her 60s in Central Zone
• a man in his 70s in Central Zone
• a man in his 70s in Western Zone
• a man in his 90s in Central Zone
• a woman in her 90s in Western Zone.

There are also 15 new hospital admissions and 362 new infections for an estimated total of 4,470 active cases.

“This has been a tragic weekend. My heart is breaking for the loved ones, friends and families of the five Nova Scotians who have died,” says premier Tim Houston. “This is an awful reminder of how serious COVID-19 can be and we need to do better to protect everyone from this virus. Please get vaccinated and get your booster as soon as you can, slow down your activities and follow all of the public health measures in place.”

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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COVID deaths in Nova Scotia

The most awful chart. Early in 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic, Nova Scotia suffered dozens of COVID deaths quickly, particularly at Northwood nursing home. For nearly than a year after that, however, deaths became sporadic—we could go months without a simple person dying of the disease, even through the late-2020 second wave. But sadly that low death rate changed during the third wave, around May 2021, and then again with omicron's arrival in late 2021 during the fourth wave.

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Comparing active cases in the third and fourth waves

The following chart shows Nova Scotia's active cases, dating from the third wave in April 2021 through the omicron fourth wave, using case data from provincial pandemic reports. The chart will be updated when provincial reporting allows. Note: From Dec 10 through Dec 22, 2021, 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, and then by December omicron was here. 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: On 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. Then in late 2021 the omicron variant arrived. 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). 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 the previous COVID-19 news roundup, for the January 22-23 weekend.

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