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First, let’s cover the stats you really want to hear. The phrase “get tested” was said 6 times in Dr. Robert Strang’s seven minute statement. Next briefing I will also monitor how many time both Strang and Premier Rankin remind us to get vaccinated. Let me in know if there are any other important metrics I should be counting in this fight against COVID.

Rankin went over new case numbers, hospitalizations, and ICU’s. He stated that the increased cases in Sydney were concerning as they showed the variants were on the move – Sua sponte as it were. There are 17 cases in Sydney and testing uptake is low.

Rankin also tried to add some clarity to new travel protocols on rotational workers. They now need to provide documentation as proof of employment. They won’t be denied entry without it, but they still need to have it. But it’s totally cool if they don’t – just as long as they do. Crystal Clear.

It was also announced that vaccines should be open to all age groups by this weekend. Just a reminder, that means anyone 12 years-old and up who wants a vaccine will be able to get one.

There was an update on the hospital situation from Dr. Carr, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Health Services. Measures have been taken to re-direct staff and resources in anticipation of a spike in hospitalizations. He also addressed a recent outbreak of COVID in a Halifax hospital resulting in 12 patients and 4 staff testing positive.
Dr. Carr also made another interesting point. He said that all new patients are tested at least once upon admittance. But that may not detect infection in patients who are not yet symptomatic. I thought asymptomatic people should also be getting tested?

As usual Dr. Strang’s portion of the update had little to no information, but a lot of propaganda. He acknowledged the decline in cases, but said it wasn’t good enough. He lamented that the asymptomatic testing numbers had been lower than before, and reminded everyone that they had re-opened this branch of testing. So when it comes to testing the guidelines are as follows: Get tested often, even if you have no symptoms. If you go out to work, or are the one doing the grocery shopping you need to be tested. If you have any symptoms you definitely need to get tested. Even if it’s only one symptom, do not go to work, do not go out and about, go directly to jail get tested and isolate until your results come back. In terms of removing restrictions, they gave no plans for that. However, if we follow the rules and enough first doses of vaccine are given out we can have a summer with fewer restrictions.

When it came to the question period there were a couple notable questions that I think should be addressed. One reporter asked if the measures are working, and while the question itself was unremarkable, the answer gave me pause. Strang went on a lengthy rant about protocols and mandates, but sandwiched in there was a comment about one of their biggest challenges. That people still have to work. He said this posed problems because not all businesses adhered to the measures enough and people tend to socialize while on break.

A question was raised on the pro-palestine rally over the weekend. If it was covid-safe why were arrests made and fines given out? Well that is because of the injunction. Strang pointed out that it prohibits all illegal gatherings. This means only your household bubble plus one or two more if social distance is kept.

The final question I want to address is the one to which the answer shook Nova Scotians to the core. Will 12 and 13-year-olds need their parents permission to get the vaccine? The answer is no. Public Health does not require parents permission for any of the seventh grade vaccines and the covid vaccine won’t be any different. Even though most of us remember filling out the consent form within the last couple years, I did so myself just two years ago. Turns out, they didn’t need it! Children in Nova Scotia can consent to any medical treatment that the Doctor thinks they’re mature enough to decide on. You can find this information here by scrolling down to Table 1. You can also find it here and here.

It’s hard to give my opinion on all of this without sounding like I’m mocking them. This briefing was 45 minutes of word twister mixed with division and fear. Be afraid of covid, it’s even getting the young people now; well that’s because none of them have been vaccinated yet, now isn’t it Mr. age-cohort Dr. Strang. The boomers 45-65 year-olds got a gold star for obeying the call to get vaxed, but the millennials 30-45 year-olds and younger are typically more resistant; So if you don’t get a summer it’s their fault. The sorry excuses for reporters we have here in NS asked loaded and emotionally charged questions which resulted in angry answers. Such as Rankin believing that churches which stay open or people who protest should have tougher enforcement – beyond just fines.

Currently, Faith Based gatherings are completely banned in Nova Scotia. :ast week Weston stayed open with 26 adults and their kids. This Sunday they stayed open with just 7 adults. Both weeks resulted in $11,000+ fines to the church and $2000+ fines to each adult in attendance.

When it comes to the protest, the other side of the hill had more people with less adherence to gathering limits. So it should come as no surprise that the protestors who were following protocols were arrested and fined. Well, HRP says they arrested people. But they also here.

I guess the moral of the story is that case counts are a more important stat than co-morbidities and age as related to mortality. Protesting is a deadly spreader of covid, even public health protocols can’t help you. But as long as you’re not protesting, adherence to Premier Dr. Strang will protect you.