COVID-19 death toll reaches 825, about 1 per 1,000 New Brunswickers

The newly confirmed deaths occurred in December and involve people aged 70 or older. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
The newly confirmed deaths occurred in December and involve people aged 70 or older. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

COVID-19 has killed about one in every 1,000 New Brunswickers, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Health.

New Brunswick reported three more deaths from COVID-19 Wednesday, raising the pandemic death toll to 825.

The province's current population is roughly 824,500, according to Statistics Canada.

The three new deaths occurred in December, according to the COVIDWatch report. Deaths are subject to an average two-month lag from date of death to registration of death, the report says.

All three people were aged 70 or over.

Hospital admissions double

Hospital admissions because of the virus doubled to 20 between Feb. 12-18.

The number of people admitted to intensive care decreased to one from three.

The province no longer provides the number of people currently hospitalized, but the two regional health authorities say they have 76 people in hospital either for or with COVID as of Saturday, 10 of whom require intensive care.

That's up from 66 and six respectively a week ago.

Horizon and Vitalité health networks both recently dropped routine COVID-19 testing of most hospital patients. Only patients with symptoms of the virus are now being tested, with some exceptions.

Among the new admissions reported by the province, one person is under 20 — the youngest age category now provided under report format changes introduced in December.

Four people are aged 20-59, two are 60-69, and 13 are aged 70 or older.

New cases, positivity 'relatively stable'

The number of new lab-confirmed confirmed cases of COVID and percent positivity remained "relatively stable" over the past week, according to the COVIDWatch report.

A total of 350 new cases have been confirmed through a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) lab test, down from 379 in the previous report.

There were 2,213 tests conducted, for a positivity rate of 15.8 per cent, down from nearly 17 per cent.

An additional 175 people self-reported testing positive on a rapid test, according to the Department of Health. That's up from 148.

Of the 92 random samples sent for genetic sequencing between Jan. 30 and Feb. 7, 24 per cent were XBB, an offshoot of the Omicron BA.2 subvariant. The report does not provide a more detailed breakdown of sublineages, such as XBB.1.5, described by the World Health Organization as "the most transmissible" subvariant yet.

As of last week, 88 cases of XBB.1.5 have been confirmed since it was first detected in the province in January.

Horizon, Vitalité hospitalizations

Horizon Health Network has 55 active COVID-19 hospital patients, including nine in intensive care, its COVID dashboard shows. That's up from 47 and four respectively a week earlier.

The Fredericton region, Zone 3, now has the majority of cases, at 25, followed by the Saint John region, Zone 2, with 16, the Moncton region, Zone 1, with nine, and the Miramichi region, Zone 7, with five.

Vitalité Health Network has 21 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, up from 19, including one in intensive care, down from two, according to its COVID dashboard.

Fourteen of the patients are at the Campbellton Regional Hospital, in the Campbellton region, Zone 5. Six patients are in the Bathurst region, Zone 6, including five at Tracadie Hospital and one at Chaleur Regional Hospital. The Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, Zone 1, has the one patient in intensive care.

Infected health-care workers drops 41%

Health-care worker absences because of COVID-19 have dropped to 56 in the past week, from 95.

Horizon has 27 employees off the job after testing positive for the virus (down from 60), while Vitalité has 29 (down from 35).

There are COVID-19 outbreaks on four Horizon hospital units, half the number reported a week ago. No specifics are provided, but two of them are in the Fredericton region, while the Moncton and Saint John regions each have one, the dashboard shows.

Vitalite has two outbreaks, down from three. They are both ongoing outbreaks at the Campbellton Regional Hospital — on the medical unit and the medical-surgical unit.