NB adds 10 deaths to COVID-19 toll, none from last week
COVID-19 has killed 10 more New Brunswickers, but none of the deaths occurred in the past week, according to figures released by the province on Tuesday.
Six people died in January, two in December, one in November and the other some time before August 28 – the start of the current respiratory season and up to the dates in the weekly COVIDWatch reports Go to Recent Format Changes.
“Deaths are subject to a delay in reporting,” the report said. On average, it takes two months from the date of death to the registration of the death.
Among the nine most recent deaths, all were people aged 70 or older, the report shows. No information is provided about the other person, but Department of Health spokesman Adam Bowie confirmed the person was an adult.
“If one of those deaths [confirmed as occurring prior to Aug. 28] ever affects a person under the age of 18, we would inform the public,” he said in an emailed statement.
A total of 822 New Brunswickers have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Active hospital admissions up 32%, RHAs say
According to the report, COVID-19 hospitalizations remained “stable” during this reporting period between February 5 and February 11.
Ten people were newly hospitalized for COVID, up from nine in the previous report. Three are in intensive care, none of them.
The province no longer reports the number of people currently hospitalized.
The two regional health authorities say they have 66 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Saturday — 32 percent more than the 50 active COVID patients the previous week. Six people need intensive care instead of five.
This includes people who have been hospitalized for COVID-19, as well as people who were originally admitted for another reason and later tested positive for the virus.
Horizon and Vitalité both recently halted routine COVID-19 testing on most hospitalized patients. With a few exceptions, only patients with symptoms of the virus are tested.
Among those newly hospitalized for COVID, provincial reports said one was under the age of 20 — the youngest age category reported as part of the reporting format changes.
One was between the ages of 20 and 59, three were in their 60s, and five were 70 or older.
527 new cases reported
The number of new laboratory-confirmed COVID cases and percentage positivity have remained “relatively stable” over the past week, the report said.
A total of 379 new COVID cases were confirmed by a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) laboratory test, up about 12 percent from the 339 PCR-confirmed cases a week ago.
It ran 2,245 PCR tests with a positivity rate of nearly 17 percent, compared to 2,154 tests the previous week, a positivity rate of nearly 16 percent.
According to the Ministry of Health, another 148 people said they had tested positive in a rapid test. That’s an increase from 133.
Of the 183 random samples sent out for genetic sequencing between January 23 and February 3, 26 percent were XBB, an offshoot of the subvariant Omicron BA.2.
The report doesn’t provide a more detailed breakdown of the sublines, but the department’s spokesman confirmed to CBC that there were 46 new cases of XBB.1.5, more than double the previous total in the province.
The World Health Organization has called XBB.1.5 “the most transferrable” sub-variant yet.
XBB.1.5 was first spotted in the province last month. As of February 7, 42 cases had been confirmed.
The omicron subvariant BA.5 accounted for 70 percent of the sequenced cases and BA.2 represented four percent.
Although the latest COVIDWatch report included only 109 samples sequenced over a one-week period, compared to 183 samples over a two-week period in this report, Bowie said the numbers were “within [the] normal range.”
When asked about the delay in reporting, he replied, “Sequencing has always taken some time.” He said New Brunswick leads the nation in turnaround time, with an average of less than 10 days between sample collection and sequencing.
“That’s about half the average national turnaround time,” Bowie said.
Decrease in vaccination uptake
COVID-19 vaccine uptake fell nearly 11 percent over the past week, with just 892 doses administered, compared with 1,002 the previous week, according to the health ministry.
Nonetheless, the shots administered were sufficient to increase vaccination rates for the first and second booster doses.
Overall, 54.7 percent of eligible New Brunswickers have now received their first refresher, versus 54.6 percent, and 30 percent have received their second refresher, versus 29.9 percent.
The first and second dose vaccination rates remain unchanged at 90.9 percent and 85.8 percent, respectively.
CBC, through the Department of Health, requested an interview with Dr. However, Jennifer Russell, the provincial chief health officer, received no response.
Hospitalizations, infected workers, outbreaks
Horizon Health Network’s active COVID-19 admissions rose to 47 on Saturday from 42 the previous week, but the number of patients requiring critical care remained stable at four, the COVID dashboard shows.
The Moncton area, zone 1, has 15 patients, the Saint John area, zone 2, 13, the Fredericton area, zone 3, 16, and the Miramichi area, zone 7, the other three.
The number of COVID-19 patients in the Vitalité Health Network hospital has risen nearly 138 percent from eight to 19 on Saturday, according to the COVID dashboard. Two people need intensive care instead of one.
The Campbellton, Zone 5 region has the majority of patients with 10, including nine at Campbellton Regional Hospital, one of whom is in intensive care, and one at the Restigouche Hospital Centre. Tracadie Hospital in Zone 6 has five of the patients that Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Center in Moncton, Zone 1 has two of the patients, including one in intensive care, and Edmundston Regional Hospital in Zone 4 has two patients.
There are seven COVID outbreaks in Horizon hospital units, up from eight in the previous report. These include four in the Moncton area, two in the Saint John area and one in the Fredericton area. No further details are given.
Vitalité has three COVID outbreaks including two new ones at Campbellton Regional Hospital on the medical ward and the medical-surgical ward. There is also an ongoing outbreak in the Community Transition Unit of Restigouche Hospital Center (B-2).
About 19 percent more healthcare workers are out of work after testing positive for COVID-19, compared to 95 versus 80 a week ago.
Horizon has 60 of the infected employees (out of 55), while Vitalité has 35 (out of 25).