December 10, 2023

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of four more New Brunswickers and a child under 10 is among those newly admitted to hospital, but no one is in intensive care, and hospitalizations and new cases have both decreased, according to weekly figures released Tuesday. 

Two people in their 70s, one in their 80s and one 90 or older died between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12, the COVIDWatch report shows. 

The province’s pandemic death toll has now reached 603.

The number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 is described as “stable” at 22, compared to 23 in the previous report, while the number of active hospitalizations because of the virus dropped to 29 from 33, five of whom required intensive care, according to the province.

Meanwhile, the two regional health authorities say 131 people are hospitalized either for or with COVID, including two in intensive care, down from 146 and 10, respectively.

Unlike the province, which only reports people admitted to hospital because of COVID-19, Horizon and Vitalité include in their weekly reports people initially admitted for another reason who later test positive for the virus.

Dr. Yves Leger, the acting chief medical officer of health, is unavailable again this week for an interview, Department of Health spokesperson Adam Bowie said.

A total of 807 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the past week, including 518 confirmed through PCR lab tests and 289 self-reported rapid tests. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The highest portion of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is among people aged 70 to 89, according to the province.

“The number of PCR [polymerase chain reaction] confirmed cases has moderately decreased over the past four weeks,” the COVIDWatch report says.

There were 518 cases of COVID confirmed through a PCR test in the past week, down from 554.

That puts the total number of active cases, based on PCR cases alone, at 759, down from 821.

Another 289 people reported testing positive on a rapid test, down from 312.

Of the most recent random samples sent for sequencing, 94 per cent were the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.5, five per cent were the Omicron subvariant BA.4 and one per cent were the Omicron subvariant BA.2 

The Department of Health has refused to provide a further breakdown of any sublineages. Last month it confirmed that a single case of BA.2.75.2, which has mutations that allow it to better evade immunity from vaccination and prior infection, had been detected in New Brunswick in September.

A total of 25.5 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have now received their second booster, up from 24.9 per cent, after another 3,220 doses were administered in the past week, says the Department of Health.

The first-booster rate has also increased to 54.2 per cent, from 54.1 per cent.

The two-dose and one-dose rates remain unchanged at 85.6 per cent and 90.7 per cent, respectively.

New Brunswick has had 81,787 confirmed cases of COVID since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, 80,425 are now considered resolved.

Horizon and Vitalité hospitalizations

Horizon has 98 active COVID-19 patients in hospital, including one in intensive care, as of Saturday, according to its weekly COVID dashboard. That’s down from 117 and seven, respectively in last week’s report.

The majority, 42, are in the Saint John region, Zone 2, followed by 36 in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, 11 in the Moncton region, Zone 1, and nine in the Miramichi region, Zone 7.

Vitalité has 33 COVID patients in hospital, up from  29, including one in intensive care, down from three, its dashboard shows.

The breakdown includes: 17 at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, 11 at the Edmundston Regional Hospital, four at the Campbellton Regional Hospital, including one in intensive care, and one at Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst.

Sick hospital employees drops nearly 33%

The number of health-care workers off the job because of COVID has dropped nearly 33 per cent in the past week.

Forty-eight Horizon employees have tested positive, down from 65. Vitalité has 31 sick employees, from 52.

There are 18 COVID outbreak units in Horizon hospitals, up from 14 a week ago. These include five in the Moncton region, seven in the Saint John region, four in the Fredericton region and two in the Miramichi region. No other details are provided.

Vitalité has three outbreak units, down from five. They include the Veterans’ Health Centre, unit 300, in the Moncton region, Zone 1, the Edmundston Regional Hospital’s medicine unit, and the Chaleur Regional Hospital’s psychiatry unit.


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