Most key measurements for COVID-19 in New Brunswick continued a downward trend again last week, according to the most recent weekly report released by the province.
While the number of deaths reported between July 31 and Aug. 6 was the same as the week before, most other categories were down, including the number of confirmed PCR-confirmed tests, active cases, hospitalizations, and ICU patients.
The most significant drop is in the number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 — they dropped by almost half, with 20 reported last week compared to 39 the week before.
According to the report released Tuesday, 742 new cases were reported between July 31 and Aug. 6. That was down from 747 the previous week, and 938 the week before that.
Also down were the seven-day moving averages for hospitalizations and for PCR-confirmed cases.
The report notes that those who are unprotected by vaccine continue to have the highest rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 and ICU admissions.
For example, the rate per 100,000 for ICU patients since Dec. 5, 2021, is double for unprotected patients, compared with those who are considered protected.
That, however, is not the case for deaths. Historically, the rate of death in the unprotected population has been much higher than for those who are protected by vaccination. The gap between those numbers has been been narrowing in recent months until the week of July 24 to July 30, when the rate of deaths was higher in the protected population — 40 per 100,000, compared with 39 for the unprotected group.
The trend continued last week, with an even bigger spread between the two rates — 42 for protected and 39 for unprotected.
The highest portion of hospitalizations for COVID-19 has also been stable. It continues to be among individuals aged 70 to 89.
The report also includes a breakdown of the most recent random sample of Omicron subvariants:
0 per cent of samples are BA.1, no change from last week
11 per cent of samples are BA.2, up from 9 per cent last week
0 per cent of samples are BA.3, no change from last week
6 per cent of samples are BA.4, down from 12 per cent last week
83 per cent of samples are BA.5, up from 79 per cent lat week
Numbers from health authorities
The province's two health authorities also release weekly reports, but the categories — and often the criteria — differ from the province's weekly report. For example, the province only reports on patients who are admitted for COVID.
The Horizon and Vitalité reports include patients who were initially admitted for another reason and later tested positive for the virus.
In its most recently released weekly report, Vitalité Health Network reports 57 COVID-19 hospitalizations, while there were 50 the previous week. It also says 150 staff were off work because of COVID-19 — down from 153 the previous week. And, bed occupancy rates were at 99 per cent, up from 94 the week before.
On its dashboard, the Horizon Health Network reports 75 "active" admissions (down from 77 the previous week), one active ICU case (down from three), and 54 employees test positive, which was up from 40 the previous week.
Horizon says there are now COVID-19 outbreaks on 18 hospital units across the province. That's up one from the previous report.
Vitalité lists outbreaks in 10 units in five hospitals across the province, including five at Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton.