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COVID-19: N.S. reports no deaths, small dip in hospital admissions in weekly update

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Nova Scotia reported no COVID-19 deaths and 1,683 positive PCR tests in the seven-day period ending Aug. 1.

During that time, there were 54 new hospital admissions, compared to 60 admissions the previous week.

The previous update, which covered the week ending July 25, reported five deaths and 1,910 positive PCR tests.

Of note, the province changed its PCR testing strategy in early July. Only those with symptoms and in a high-risk category have access to lab-based PCR testing.

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Meanwhile, Nova Scotia Health said this week that it had noticed an “increased demand” for rapid tests. Some locations, including libraries, had reported running out of the tests.

In July, 233,620 rapid tests were distributed — 34,000 more than in June.

Nova Scotia Health said it was working to “meet the need” by increasing the number of tests distributed to community partners.

Read more: Nova Scotians with any COVID-19 symptoms asked to do treatment assessment form

On Wednesday, the province announced it was making it easier for eligible Nova Scotians to receive COVID-19 treatment, including Paxlovid — an oral pill that inhibits the way the virus makes copies of itself.

The treatments, the province said, are for those who are at a higher risk of serious illness.

Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) advised anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, “even one mild symptom,” to get tested and complete an online assessment form.

“Those considered high-risk may be eligible for COVID-19 medications and treatments to help reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalization,” read a release.

According to NSHA, 1,450 courses of Paxlovid have been prescribed for Nova Scotians, who met the eligibility criteria, since March 1.

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Other treatments may include the following: budesonide, commonly sold under the name Pulmicort; remdesivir sold under the name Veklury;  sotrovimab sold under Xevudy.

Vaccines for kids under 5

Vaccinations began this week for children between the ages of six months and four years.

The Moderna pediatric vaccine, which is the only one approved for that age group by Health Canada currently, is available at pharmacies in the province.

Children will need two doses of the vaccine, at least eight weeks apart. Moderately to severely immunocompromised children will need three doses.

There are about 34,000 children in the province in that age group.

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— With files from Karla Renic and Alex Cooke 

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