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COVID-19: Nova Scotia reports four more deaths in weekly report

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The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is recommending that high risk individuals be offered a fall COVID-19 booster shot. Infectious disease expert Dr. Brian Conway discusses the new guidance, and the potential for a fall wave of infections. – Jun 30, 2022

Nova Scotia reported four deaths linked to COVID-19 in its latest weekly report Thursday, a decrease from the seven deaths reported last week.

During the seven-day period ending June 27, the province also reported 1,491 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 28 hospitalizations.

In last week’s report, there were 1,420 new lab-confirmed cases and 37 hospital admissions.

Read more: Omicron BA.5 will account for nearly 70% of cases by Canada Day, experts predict

“The number of new PCR-positive tests has increased slightly compared to the previous reporting period; however, long-term care outbreaks, hospital admissions and deaths have decreased,” the province said in a release.

Three of the four new deaths involved people aged 70 and older, the release said. Since the beginning of the Omicron waves on Dec. 8, the median age of hospitalizations has been 71 and the median age for deaths has been 81.

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The province said age continues to be the biggest factor for severe disease. The risk of hospitalization is 11.5 times higher for people aged 70 and older and the risk of death is about 117 times higher when compared to those under 50.

Unvaccinated less protected

The province said for every age group where the vaccine is available, unvaccinated people are at a higher risk of severe illness than those who are vaccinated.

“Our epidemiology shows that unvaccinated people have a substantially higher risk of hospitalization and death compared to people who have three or more doses,” said Dr. Shelley Deeks, Nova Scotia’s deputy chief medical officer of health, in the release.

“And when we compare across ages among those with three or more doses of vaccine, people 70 years and older are at a higher risk of severe outcomes than those aged 50 to 69.”

To date, 65.9 per cent of Nova Scotians 18 and older have received at least one booster dose and more than 77,000 have received a second.

Read more: Nova Scotians aged 50 and older can soon get a second COVID 19 booster dose

Currently, everyone aged 12 and up is eligible to receive a first booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while only those aged 70 and up, residents of long-term care facilities, members of First Nations who are 55 or older, or immunocompromised people, can have a second.

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Beginning next week, second booster doses will open to those aged 50 and up, though the province recommends that those under the age of 70 wait until the fall to get it.

“Vaccine-related immunity wanes more quickly in people 70 and older, which is why a second booster dose was recommended this spring,” the release said. “Most adults under 70 are still well protected against severe illness by their primary series plus one booster.”

The province is encouraging those who are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines to get vaccinated.

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