December 2, 2023

New Brunswick has recorded six more COVID-related deaths and the number of people currently hospitalized because of the virus has increased to 87, including 13 in intensive care, according to Tuesday’s update from the government.

That’s up from 79 people in hospital and six in ICU from last week’s COVIDWatch report.

But the province’s hospitals are actually treating 168 patients with COVID-19, 19 of whom require intensive care, figures released by the Horizon and Vitalité health networks show. That’s down from 192 and 21 respectively last week.

Unlike the province’s website, which includes only people hospitalized for COVID, not people who were initially admitted to hospital for another reason and later tested positive for the virus, Horizon and Vitalité include both on their new COVID dashboards.

Patients hospitalized with COVID instead of for COVID still require extra precautions, such as isolation and personal protective equipment, for example.

The province no longer provides information about new COVID-related deaths, such as their age groups, or which health zones they lived in.

But a comparison of this week’s report to last week’s reveals the people who died between April 17 and April 23 include two people in their 70s, three people in their 80s, and one in their 90s.

Three of the people lived in the Moncton region, Zone 1, and three lived in the Campbellton region, Zone 5.

COVID-19 was “a primary or contributing factor to cause of death as per the attending physician,” the website states.

Breakdown of hospitalizations

Horizon has 106 COVID-related hospitalizations, as of Saturday, down from 121 last week’s report, its dashboard shows. Fifteen of those patients are in intensive care, down from 17.

Vitalité has 62 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Saturday, down from 71 last week’s report, according to its dashboard. Four of them are in ICU (unchanged).

Both Horizon and Vitalité remain at the red alert level, which allows them to redeploy staff to maintain emergency services and ICUs, and could result in some non-urgent medical procedures and elective surgeries being postponed.

Although the number of active hospitalizations across New Brunswick increased, the province reports the number of people newly admitted to hospital between April 17 and April 23 decreased to 74 from 102 the previous week.

As a result, the seven-day moving average of hospitalizations for COVID-19, including ICU admissions, now stands at 86, down from 88.

The highest portion of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is among people aged 60 to 79, the COVIDWatch highlights say.

“Individuals that are unprotected by vaccine continue to have the highest rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 and death.”

The seven-day moving average of total hospitalizations for COVID-19 since Dec. 5 is illustrated in blue, while ICU admissions alone is illustrated in orange. This does not include patients with COVID who were originally admitted for another reason. (Government of New Brunswick)

Two children under age 10 are among those admitted to hospital, as well as one child aged 10 to 19, the website shows.

There is also one person in their 20s, two in their 30s, two in their 40s, eight in their 50s, 19 in their 60s, 16 in their 70s, 14 in their 80s, and nine in their 90s.

Among the 13 people admitted to intensive care during this reporting period, one is in their 40s, two in their 50s, three in their 60s, four in their 70s, and three in their 80s.

The number of patients on ventilators is no longer provided by Public Health.

The number of new COVID-19 cases dropped to 3,964 from 5,645 the previous week. That includes 1,988 people who tested positive through PCR lab tests and 1,976 people who self-reported testing positive on rapid tests.

Based on PCR tests alone, there are now 3,134 active cases across the province.

76.4% of new PCR-confirmed cases were ‘protected’

People in their 50s account for the largest number of positive PCR tests, at 417, followed by those 60 to 69. at 325. The age breakdown of the other PCR-confirmed COVID cases includes:

  • Under 10 — 45
  • 10 to 19 — 20
  • 20 to 29 — 195
  • 30 to 39  — 216
  • 40 to 49  — 238
  • 70 to 79  — 264
  • 80 to 89  —183
  • 90 or older  — 85

Of these cases, more than three quarters — 76.4 per cent  — were “protected,” which the province defines as boosted or fully vaccinated less than six months.

The rest were “unprotected,” which the province defines as fully vaccinated more than six months, partially vaccinated, or unvaccinated.

The vaccination status of the new hospitalizations and deaths is not provided, but of the 908 people hospitalized since Dec. 5, 46.8 per cent were protected and 53.2 per cent were unprotected.

Among the ICU cases alone, 34.8 per cent were protected and 65.2 per cent were unprotected.

Of the 236 deaths recorded during that same period, 52.1 per cent were protected and 47.9 per cent were unprotected.

The number of new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in New Brunswick decreased by 1,681 since last week’s report, but numbers are not considered accurate because rapid test counts are self-reported. (Government of New Brunswick)

Protected New Brunswickers have been hospitalized at a rate of 93.1 per 100,000 since Dec. 5, compared to 164.1 per 100,000 among unprotected people.

The rate of ICU admissions among the protected has been 14 per 100,000, while the rate among unprotected people has been 40.8 per 100,000.

The death rate among the protected during the same period has been 27 per 100,000, and 38.4 per 100,000 among the unprotected.

A total of 51.9 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have now received their COVID-19 booster dose, up from 51.8 per cent a week ago, 87.8 per cent have received two doses, unchanged, and 93.1 per cent have received their first dose, also unchanged.

The regional breakdown of the new and active cases includes:

  • Moncton region, Zone 1 — 605 new PCR-confirmed cases, 666 new rapid test cases and 1,046 active cases
  • Saint John region, Zone 2 — 322 new PCR-confirmed cases, 384 new rapid test cases and 524 active cases
  • Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 447 new PCR-confirmed cases, 505 new rapid test cases and 640 active cases
  • Edmundston region, Zone 4 — 158 new PCR-confirmed cases, 92 new rapid test cases and 255 active cases
  • Campbellton region, Zone 5 — 99 new PCR-confirmed cases, 47 new rapid test cases and 135 active cases
  • Bathurst region, Zone 6 — 204 new PCR-confirmed cases, 196 new rapid test cases and 316 active cases
  • Miramichi region, Zone 7 — 153 new PCR-confirmed cases, 86 new rapid test cases and 218 active cases

New Brunswick has had 60,756 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic with 57,238 recoveries, now described as “resolved” cases, so far and 384 COVID-related deaths.

Hospital outbreaks decrease, bed occupancy rises

There are active COVID-19 outbreaks on 28 hospital units across the province, down from 32 last week.

Eighteen of them are at Horizon hospitals. Seven are in the Moncton region, Zone 1, seven are in the Saint John region, Zone 2, two are in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, and two are in the Miramichi region, Zone 7, according to a graph. No other details are provided.

There are 10 outbreaks at Vitalité hospitals, including two new ones — at the Enfant-Jésus RHSJ Hospital in Caraquet, on the medical unit, and at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, on the geriatric unit (3E).

The eight other outbreaks are on units at four other hospitals:

  • Veterans’ Health Centre in the Moncton region, Zone 1
  • Edmundston Regional Hospital in the Edmundston region, Zone 4
  • Campbellton Regional Hospital in the Campbellton region, Zone 5
  • Tracadie Hospital in the Bathurst region, Zone 6

Designated support persons are temporarily barred from the outbreak units.

“Some exceptions may be possible and will be granted on a case-by-case basis,” according to the update.

Seven of the province’s hospitals are over capacity.

Two of them are Horizon’s. The Moncton Hospital and the Upper River Valley Hospital both have a bed occupancy rate of 102 per cent.

Vitalité lists five of its hospitals as being over capacity, but only two have patients with COVID-19.

The Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, Zone 1, is at 103 per cent capacity (up from 100 er cent) with nine patients (down from 15), and the Tracadie Hospital in the Bathurst region, Zone 6, is at 120 per cent (up from 103 per cent) with three patients (down from five).

Enfant-Jésus RHSJ Hospital in the Bathurst region has the highest bed occupancy rate at 150 per cent, while the region’s Lamèque Hospital and Community Health Centre has also exceeded its capacity at 117 per cent. Vitalité’s other overcapacity hospital is Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in the Moncton region, listed at 135 per cent.

At least 367 health-care workers off

At least 367 health-care workers are off the job because of COVID, down from 424 last week.

Horizon has 142 health-care workers off after testing positive for COVID, compared to 180 last Tuesday. The number of workers off isolating because of a close contact with a positive case is not provided.

Vitalité has 177 sick health-care workers off, plus another 48 who have been “removed from work” because of a contact with a positive case. Last week, it had 172 and 72 off, respectively.


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