FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is reporting a record-smashing 140 new COVID-19 infections and four deaths in a single day as the Maritime province continues to grapple with the the pandemic's fourth wave.
Health officials say the deaths include a person aged 30 to 39 in the Fredericton region, a person aged 50 to 59 in the Edmundston region and two people aged 70 to 79 in the Fredericton and Moncton regions.
The four deaths bring the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the province to 64.
Officials say among the 140 new cases, 94 are people who are unvaccinated, 34 are fully vaccinated and 12 are partially vaccinated.
New Brunswick currently has 44 people hospitalized due to the virus, with 17 in intensive care.
The province says 35 of the patients in hospital — or nearly 80 per cent — are unvaccinated while nine are either partially or fully vaccinated.
"Healthy younger people are getting sick as well as older individuals," Premier Blaine Higgs said in a statement.
"Of the 140 cases announced, 88 are under 40. Those in that age bracket are less likely to end up in hospital but they still carry and can transmit the virus.”
In addition to the 140 new cases, the province reported 49 recoveries from COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the number of active cases to 764.
The province said public safety officers will be conducting spot checks at churches this weekend, many of which have been the sites of recent COVID-19 exposures.
Officials said while the vast majority of churches have been following the rules, concerns remain that not all are and fines will be issued to institutions and individuals who break the mandatory public health rules.
“Four more New Brunswickers lost to the virus is a grim reminder of the continuing toll COVID-19 is taking on our communities and on people at every stage of life,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.
While the number of hospitalizations remains manageable for now, the admissions place an extreme burden on the province's health-care system, she said.
“We expected cases to climb and they may continue to do so for the next little while until we see the impact of the additional measures brought in last week."
New Brunswick reimposed a state of emergency in late September to deal with the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases.
That followed a decision two months earlier to drop all of its COVID-19 restrictions — the first jurisdiction in Atlantic Canada to do so.
At the time, some infectious disease experts warned New Brunswick would face a surge in Delta-variant cases in the fall, mainly because of the decision to drop mask requirements in indoor public places.
The mask order has now been reinstated, along with a number of other health-protection measures. They include new rules to limit contacts, ensure physical distancing and require certain businesses and events to have vaccination or masking-and-testing policies.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2022.
The Canadian Press