COVID-19: N.S. reports 3 deaths from Omicron wave, 29 new hospitalizations

Click to play video: 'N.S. retired nurse returns to COVID-19 frontlines'
N.S. retired nurse returns to COVID-19 frontlines
Since the start of the pandemic, retired health-care workers have returned to the frontlines to help in the fight against COVID-19. With increased staffing pressures due to the Omicron variant wave, it’s work that’s especially appreciated. Callum Smith spoke to one nurse who was quick to step up. – Jan 9, 2022

Nova Scotia is reporting three COVID-19 related deaths and 29 new hospital admissions over the weekend.

There were also 19 hospital discharges since the last update on Friday, bringing the current hospital count to 59. Those in hospital range in age from 31 to 100 years old. Two people are in ICU.

The deaths involved a man in his 60s in Eastern Zone, a man in his 70s in Northern Zone and a man in his 80s in Central Zone. All three men contracted the virus during this Omicron wave.

“There’s no doubt this wave is very different, but there’s also no doubt that the virus can have very severe impacts on some people,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, in a news release.

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“We all have a responsibility to protect the people around us who need it and our healthcare system. Follow restrictions and get your vaccine – whether it’s your first, second or booster dose.”

Of the 59 people in hospital, 55 were admitted during the Omicron wave.

The vaccination status of those in hospital, according to the province, is:

  • 7 (11.9 per cent) people have had a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine
  • 35 (59.3 per cent) are fully vaccinated (two doses)
  • 2 (3.4 per cent) are partially vaccinated
  • 15 (25.4 per cent) are unvaccinated

Currently, 90.1 per cent of Nova Scotians have received a first dose of a vaccine, 82.9 per cent have received their second dose and 19.9 per cent have received a booster.

Anyone aged 30 and older is eligible to book a booster shot.

New cases

On Monday, Nova Scotia Health Authority confirmed 816 new cases of COVID-19 based on PCR testing. The previous day, 4,063 tests were completed.

There are 526 cases in Central Zone, 110 cases in Eastern Zone, 70 cases in Northern Zone and 110 cases in Western Zone.

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The province pointed out that over the weekend, 69 of 1,982 positive lab results were repeat positives. In other words, the results may be linked to someone who had been tested more than once.

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Hospital outbreaks

Hospital outbreaks of COVID-19 continue to grow in the province.

New outbreaks were reported at Northside General Hospital, Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow, and the Abbie J. Lane Memorial Building of the QEII Health Sciences Centre. In each of those hospitals, fewer than five patients tested positive.

Meanwhile, additional cases have been reported at ongoing outbreaks in five hospitals:

  • two additional patients in a ward at the Victoria General site of the QEII Health Sciences Centre; fewer than ten people have tested positive
  • two additional patients in a separate ward at the Victoria General site of the QEII Health Sciences Centre; fewer than ten people have tested positive
  • two additional patients in a ward at New Waterford Consolidated Hospital; a total of 13 patients have now tested positive
  • two additional patients in a separate ward at Northside General Hospital; fewer than 10 people have tested positive
  • one additional patient in a ward at the Halifax Infirmary; a total of 17 patients have now tested positive

Remote learning begins, HEPA filters arrive for schools

Monday marked the beginning of remote learning for most public school students.

The province delayed the start of the new term for several days, and opted to switch to virtual learning for one week, as COVID-19 cases surged after the holidays.

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During the announcement about remote learning last week, Premier Tim Houston said there were 71 schools “that can do with” improvements to ventilation systems and the province was addressing it.

“This issue has been sitting on desks for years. We’re going to pick it up, we’re going to deal with it right now,” he said last Wednesday.

In an interview with Global News Morning today, Education Minister Becky Druhan said “most” of the HEPA filters ordered for schools arrived over the weekend and the remainder was coming later in the day. She pointed out the province will spend the next week while students are out of the classroom to install those filters.

As well, she said schools are “refreshing” supplies of three-ply cotton masks, which will be “available and accessible to students so when they return.” Teachers, she added, will also have access to cotton masks, as well as surgical masks.

She said while the pandemic has shown that nothing is certain, the province is striving to indeed return to in-person learning next Monday as currently scheduled.

“I wouldn’t in the middle of it want to say with a 100 per cent certainty that we’re going back on the 17th but we’re very committed to working towards that,” Druhan said.

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“And all indicators are that that is the day that we’ll go back to in-person learning and we’re working very hard to make sure that happens.”

Click to play video: 'NS Education Minister talks virtual learning'
NS Education Minister talks virtual learning

Support for small business

Meanwhile, businesses that are affected by the latest public health restrictions can now apply for financial support though the province’s Sector Impact Support Program.

It provides a one-time grant to help small business owners.

Businesses such as restaurants, bars, gyms, live performance centres and recreation facilities would qualify.

Eligible businesses will receive a grant of $2,500, $5,000 or $7,500 based on gross payroll cost or gross revenue in November 2021. Businesses must have had a minimum gross monthly payroll of $1,000 or a minimum of $2,500 of gross monthly revenue. They must also have an active Canada Revenue Agency and a gross revenue of $5 million or less in the most recently filed tax year.

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Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Nova Scotia introduces ‘sector impact support program’ for businesses impacted by restrictions'
COVID-19: Nova Scotia introduces ‘sector impact support program’ for businesses impacted by restrictions

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