Nova Scotia reaches 800 deaths on quiet COVID anniversary | COVID-19 | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
New provincial COVID numbers are both good and grim.

Nova Scotia reaches 800 deaths on quiet COVID anniversary

3 years into the pandemic, the latest disease statistics show the lowest numbers in months.

Nova Scotia's very first cases of COVID-19 were announced Sunday, March 15, 2020. The province's newest weekly disease numbers were released at the data dashboard Thursday, March 9, 2023, making it the last pandemic report before the three-year COVID anniversary. So what is the pandemic news three years in? Pretty darn good, actually.

There were four COVID deaths reported March 9. While zero deaths remains the ideal, four people dying is a remarkably now number. Consider that just one month ago, in the Feb. 9 report, Nova Scotia reported its most COVID fatalities of the whole pandemic, with 27 deaths. The last time the province reported fewer than four deaths was months ago, when there were two deaths Dec. 22. (Here's the full series of Coast charts on the pandemic numbers.)

Deaths haven't been this low for a while, but when you consider hospitalizations, the numbers are even better. The new report says 15 people were admitted to hospital with COVID in the past week; that is the lowest hospitalization number ever. Let’s be clear "ever" in this case doesn't mean the whole three years of the pandemic, because the admissions statistic has only been reported since October 2022. Still, it's a clear sign disease activity is going in the right direction.

The same holds true in terms of the number of COVID infections. The 238 new cases announced Thursday would have been apocalyptic back in March 2020, when those first three cases set the province on the (very short) path to lockdown. Now, in the age of omicron and vaccination, 238 cases is low. Lower than the 264 cases reported last week, much lower than this year's high of 1,038 cases on Jan. 12 and practically nothing compared to Nova Scotia's record high of 7,508 cases in a week, reported on April 21, 2022. You have to go back a little more than a year—to March 1/22—to find a week with fewer cases than the province just reported.

So the big three COVID indicators are all at particularly low levels this week. There have never been fewer hospitalizations, it's been a year since we've had such a small number of infections and deaths are at their lowest point in months. There's nothing to complain about here. But this isn't the time to celebrate, either, because with those four deaths Nova Scotia has reached 800 total COVID deaths during the pandemic.

Three years and 800 deaths. It's a grim milestone to hit on the COVID anniversary, and a fitting reminder. Today's numbers show infection activity is low right now, but the disease will shape us forever.

Kyle Shaw

Kyle is the editor of The Coast. He was a founding member of the newspaper in 1993 and was the paper’s first publisher. Kyle occasionally teaches creative nonfiction writing (think magazine-style #longreads) and copy editing at the University of King’s College School of Journalism.
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