Skip to main content

Nova Scotia’s premier highlighted the severity of the COVID-19 situation in the province on Wednesday, after health officials reported three more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Eight people have died of COVID-19 in the last three days. The deaths reported Wednesday, all in the Halifax area, involved a man in his 60s as well as a man and a woman in their 80s. A total of 15 people have died since the onset of the Omicron variant-fuelled COVID-19 wave in Nova Scotia on Dec. 8.

Tim Houston told reporters that 83 people have been admitted to hospital as a result of being no longer able to manage their COVID-19 symptoms at home. Twelve patients are in intensive care.

“To me this number is an indicator of the direct impact this virus is having on people’s lives,” Houston said.

Officials reported 11 new hospital admissions Wednesday, bringing the total number of people in hospital with the disease to 256. That number includes people who contracted the virus in hospital or who were admitted for non-COVID-19 reasons and tested positive through routine screening.

“With 256 total Nova Scotians in the hospital you can see where the pressure is mounting on our health-care system,” the premier said.

Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said the province’s health system continues to be under “tremendous pressure.”

Hospitals are beyond 100 per cent capacity in many cases, he added. “It is an extremely delicate balance,” Strang said. “Most non-COVID programs and services have had to be reduced so that COVID care can be provided and also to maintain emergency and urgent care for other health issues.”

Strang said the best way the public can help alleviate the pressure is to observe COVID-19 protocols and “slow down” their lives.

He also stressed the importance of getting vaccinated, noting that 83 per cent of eligible residents have had two doses of vaccine. Fifty per cent of people eligible for a booster have received one, he said. About 70,000 eligible Nova Scotians have not been vaccinated, he added.

“Vaccination is protecting all of us from severe illness and it’s limiting the impact on our health-care system,” he said.

Officials reported an additional 527 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and estimated there were 5,511 active infections.

Nova Scotia became the first province in Atlantic Canada to return to in-person classes at its public schools on Monday. Houston noted that three days after reopening schools, attendance has ranged from 80 to 88 per cent, when it normally ranges from 88 to 90 per cent.

“There are about eight per cent of families who kept their children home for one reason or another,” Houston said. “The emotions of the situation are not lost on any of us but I want to stress though that our schools are safe.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe