N.S. reports 13 new COVID-19 related deaths, drop in new cases, hospitalizations

Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting a decrease in new deaths, cases and hospitalizations in the province's weekly COVID-19 update.

The province announced 13 deaths due to COVID-19 Thursday -- 11 fewer than the 24 deaths reported last week.

The data released Thursday covers a seven-day period ending May 23.

Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health says, although the pandemic isn't over, he's optimistic about what the summer may hold.

"I know we're all looking forward to reconnecting with friends, family and loved ones. There are ways to do that safely and in a way that protects those at high risk: gather outside when you can, stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and, if you're sick, stay home," said Strang in a news release Thursday.  

AGE CONTINUES TO BE A FACTOR

The province says age continues to be the factor most closely related to severe outcomes from COVID-19.

Since the start of the Omicron wave, which began Dec. 8, 2021, the median age of lab-confirmed cases is 43, while the median age of hospitalizations and deaths is nearly double, at 71 and 81 respectively.

The province says the risk of hospitalization is also 10 times higher for those aged 70 and older, compared to people under 50, and the risk of death is more than 110 times higher for individuals over the age of 70.

Of the 13 deaths announced this week, 11 people -- or 85 per cent -- were 70 or older, and seven people – or 54 per cent – lived in long-term care facilities.

Since the start of the Omicron wave, Nova Scotia has reported 279 deaths related to COVID-19, with a median age of 81.

Since the start of the pandemic, the province has reported 391 COVID-19-related deaths.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

Health officials say 40 more people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 -- a drop of 19 from the 59 new hospitalizations reported last week.

Of those currently in hospital:

  • eight are in ICU
  • 29 per cent are unvaccinated
  • the median age is 72

NEW CASES

Nova Scotia is reporting 1,584 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 -- 929 fewer cases than the 2,513 new cases reported last week.

Since the start of the fifth wave, the median age of PCR-confirmed cases is 43.

VACCINES AND BOOSTERS

As of Thursday, 65.5 per cent of Nova Scotians aged 18 and older have received a booster dose and 59,631 people have received a fourth dose of vaccine.

Second booster doses are available to residents of long-term and residential care facilities, adults 70 and over living in the community, and members of First Nations communities who are 55 and older.

According to the province, evidence shows immunity gained from vaccines wanes more quickly among those aged 70 and older, which is why a second booster dose is recommended for that age group.

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