Dr. Robert Strang did not give a timeline for when daily case reporting will end in NS, but he’d like to shift away from it in coordination with other provinces.
Dr. Robert Strang did not give a timeline for when daily case reporting will end in NS, but he’d like to shift away from it in coordination with other provinces.

No new restrictions, 1020 new COVID-19 cases

Doctor Strang's national colleagues support his plan to end daily case reporting, he says.

The province “won’t hesitate” to implement new public health restrictions, premier Tim Houston said at Monday’s COVID briefing, but for the time being, nothing will change.

While case numbers remain high—1,020 new cases of COVID-19 reported January 3 and another 1,893 new cases reported over the New Year's weekend—chief medical officer of health Robert Strang said additional restrictions aren’t needed. There are currently 36 people in hospital with COVID, four of those in the ICU. The province said 31 people have so far been admitted to the hospital since omicron was first identified.

“I think we’re in a good place right now,” Doctor Strang said. “It’s not about stopping the spread of COVID so much as slowing down the spread. We’ve got to spread out the impacts over a period of time that’s within the capacity of our health care system.”

Strang said the province is currently doing a good job of that, but he’ll continue watching closely and “course-correct if necessary.” The premier, too, says he’s prepared to implement restrictions if necessary, but we’re not there yet.

Last week the province announced that students will stay home for an extended holiday break until Jan 10, a week later than planned. Nova Scotia is still planning for in-person learning in January, while New Brunswick and Ontario will shift to varying models of online learning. Strang said schools remain the best places for kids to be.

The chief medical officer acknowledges “there are strong opinions on either side” of the debate about in-person schooling right now, but he feels good about Nova Scotia’s plan. There are “very substantive harms that occur when we have kids who are out of school for long periods of time,” Strang said Monday.

Houston and Strang will hold another COVID briefing Wednesday.

click to enlarge Premier Tim Houston “won’t hesitate” to implement new public health restrictions,but for now nothing changes.
Premier Tim Houston “won’t hesitate” to implement new public health restrictions,but for now nothing changes.


Daily reporting

The chief medical officer discussed his plans to end reporting daily case counts during last Thursday’s national medical officer call. Strang said he got “lots of support” from his fellow Canadian CMOH peers, but didn't give a timeline for when this might happen, just that he’d like to make sure it's in coordination with other provinces.

Plans to move towards weekly case counts or hospitalization-focused reports will be an ongoing agenda item at the twice weekly national meetings, Strang said.


Vaccines

Monday marked the opening for booster dose appointments for Nova Scotians older than 30. With 92,000 appointments added last night, nearly all of them were booked up by Monday afternoon's virtual COVID briefing.

Human resources availability is still what’s limiting booster shot access, the premier says, but after he put out a call for volunteers who can administer shots during the Dec 30 COVID briefing, more than 1,600 Nova Scotians with medical experience volunteered.

About The Author

Lyndsay Armstrong

Lyndsay is a city reporter covering all things Halifax, health and COVID-19. She is a data journalist who has covered provincial politics for allNovaScotia.com and represented Nova Scotia in a national investigation into lead in drinking water with the Toronto Star and Global.

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