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COVID-19 kills 4 more in N.B., flu sends 8 to hospital

COVID-19 activity in New Brunswick remains 'moderate,' according to Tuesday's Respiratory Watch report. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press - image credit)
COVID-19 activity in New Brunswick remains 'moderate,' according to Tuesday's Respiratory Watch report. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press - image credit)

COVID-19 has killed four more New Brunswickers, while flu activity has spiked again, sending eight people to hospital, three of whom required intensive care, including one aged 20 to 44.

The four people who died from COVID-19 were all aged 65 or older, according to Tuesday's Respiratory Watch report, which covers Nov. 19 to Nov. 25.

Only confirmed cases who die in hospital are counted as COVID-19 deaths in New Brunswick. The four latest deaths raise the pandemic death toll to at least 968.

Sixty-three people were hospitalized for or with COVID-19 during the reporting week, including three who required intensive care. That's down from 71 hospitalizations and five ICU admissions in the previous report.

Among those hospitalized, six were aged 20 to 44, 12 were aged 45 to 64, and 45 were aged 65 or older.

12 outbreaks, 153 new cases

Twelve lab-confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks were declared — two in nursing homes and 10 in facilities described only as "other," which could include adult residential homes, for example, or correctional centres. A week ago, 15 outbreaks were reported.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 confirmed through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) lab tests dipped to 153, from 161.

The positivity rate — the percentage of the total PCR lab tests performed that produced a positive result — is 15 per cent, down from 16 per cent.

Surgical oncologists Dr. Usmaan Hameed, right, and Dr. Peter Stotland, left, walk to the operating room at North York General Hospital on May 26, 2020. Doctors are adjusting to a new normal that includes reduced workloads as a result of safety protocols established during the COVID-19 pandemic
Surgical oncologists Dr. Usmaan Hameed, right, and Dr. Peter Stotland, left, walk to the operating room at North York General Hospital on May 26, 2020. Doctors are adjusting to a new normal that includes reduced workloads as a result of safety protocols established during the COVID-19 pandemic

A total of 765 New Brunswickers have now been hospitalized for or with COVID-19 since the start of the respiratory season on Aug. 27, and 42 of them required intensive care. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

"COVID-19 activity remains moderate; most indicators remained stable throughout the current reporting period," the report says.

CBC requested an interview with outgoing Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell, whose last day on the job is Friday, but has had no response.

A total of 108,562 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since Oct. 4, according to figures from the Department of Health.

Flu cases jump 96% week-over-week

Fifty-one lab-confirmed cases of influenza were reported Nov. 19-25 — a 96 per cent jump from the 26 cases confirmed in the previous report.

All of them were influenza A (unsubtyped).

The majority of the cases, 21, are in the Miramichi region, Zone 7, the report shows. The Bathurst region, Zone 6, has 11 cases, followed close behind by the Saint John region, Zone 2, with 10. The Moncton region, Zone 1, has seven cases, and the Campbellton region, Zone 5, has two.

These bring the total number of influenza cases to 99 since the respiratory season began on Aug. 27.

In addition to the eight new hospitalizations, there was one influenza-like illness outbreak reported at a school. No information about the school, the number of cases or whether it's students or staff affected has been released.

School outbreaks are based on 10 per cent absenteeism in a school due to influenza-like illness symptoms, the report says.

A total of 168,865 New Brunswickers have been vaccinated against the flu since Oct. 4, the Department of Health said.

46 Horizon health-care workers off sick

Horizon Health Network has 58 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of last Saturday, down from 69 the previous week.

Five of them require intensive care, unchanged, its weekly COVID-19 dashboard shows.

The number of Horizon health-care workers off the job after testing positive for COVID-19 also remains similar to last week, at 46, a decrease of two.

There are still COVID-19 outbreaks on several Horizon hospital units as of Tuesday. These include:

  • The Moncton Hospital — cardiology and geriatric rehabilitation.

  • Miramichi Regional Hospital — cardiac stepdown/stroke.

  • Saint John Regional Hospital — rehabilitation unit, internal medicine and general surgery.

  • Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital — psychiatry.

Vitalité Health Network is still updating its COVID-19 report only monthly, typically on the last Tuesday of each month.

It has, however, updated its COVID-19 outbreaks page, and reports two outbreaks, as of Tuesday, both at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, on the geriatric unit (3A), and the general surgical unit (4A).