NS Covid numbers unpacked

The real number of Covid-related patients in Nova Scotia hospitals is 207, not 59

DescriptionNumberNeeding “specialized care”
Admitted “due to COVID-19” and receiving “specialized” care 5959
Identified + on arrival but admitted for a different reason, OR admitted for covid but not now needing special care 46Not stated, so
0 to 46
Caught the virus at the hospital 102Not stated, so between
0 and 102
Total of Covid-related patients 207Not stated, so
between 59 and 207

Decoding Nova Scotia’s release from January 13, 2022

When you went to bed Thursday night you might have thought just 59 people were in hospital with Covid-19; or you may have heard the number was closer to 200, but didn’t know if that was true.

The correct number, in my opinion, is in the table above and it is 207, not 59.

To arrive at that conclusion, you have to decode the following paragraphs from Wednesday’s release.

Paragraph two: “There are 59 people in hospital who were admitted due to COVID-19 and are receiving specialized care in a COVID-19 designated unit.”

That’s straightforward enough, and 59 is the number most of us watch.

But there’s trouble in Paragraph six: “There are ALSO two other groups of people in hospital with COVID-19 (emphasis added):

  • 46 people who were identified as positive upon arrival to hospital but were admitted for another medical reason OR people who were admitted for COVID-19 but no longer require specialized care (emphasis added)
  • 102 people who contracted COVID-19 after being admitted to hospital.”

Q: Are any of the 46 patients above needing special care? The release doesn’t say directly.

Q: Are any of the 102 above needing special care? The release doesn’t say directly.

Q: Are hospital outbreaks under control or will they explode?

A CBC reporter tried to address this at Wednesday’s Covid newser, but the premier pivoted to a question he wasn’t asked and CBC’s coverage shows no sign of a follow-up.

In 2021, the number of Covid patients in hospital peaked on May 18 at 103, which is half of 207. That many Covid patients, no matter their status, have to be an enormous strain on health workers.

On Twitter, some people suspect deception is at the root of this but, given Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang’s excellent record of transparency so far, I think it’s just fatigue. Everybody must be tired, including the people who write news releases and prepare messaging. However, Nova Scotia’s relative success against Covid-19 owes something to the government’s consistent truth-telling. This is a bad time to undermine our confidence in that.


2 thoughts on “NS Covid numbers unpacked

  1. I can see tired ness in Dr Strang, the Premier and also Dr Barrett.
    It has been a long journey for each of them.


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