N.B. reports 11 more COVID-19 deaths, slight increase in hospital admissions

New COVID-19 hospital admissions increased to 17, Jan. 15-21, compared to 14 the previous week, including four who require intensive care, up from two, according to the COVIDWatch report. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
New COVID-19 hospital admissions increased to 17, Jan. 15-21, compared to 14 the previous week, including four who require intensive care, up from two, according to the COVIDWatch report. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 11 more New Brunswickers, the province reported Tuesday, and the number of people admitted to the hospital because of the virus has increased "slightly" in the past week, while the number of confirmed cases has decreased.

All of the people who died were aged 70 or older, a comparison of the latest COVIDWatch report with last week's report shows.

None of them died during the reporting week in question, Jan. 15-21. "Deaths are subject to a lag in reporting," the report says. Two of the deaths occurred earlier in January and nine happened in December, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 773.

Seventeen people were newly admitted to hospital because of the virus, four of whom required intensive care, according to the province. That's up from 14 and two respectively in the previous report.

Among the new admissions, four people were aged 60 to 69 and the others were aged 70 or older.

The province no longer provides the number of people currently hospitalized because of COVID as part of reporting changes.

But the two regional health authorities say there are 94 New Brunswickers hospitalized, as of Saturday, down from 107 the previous week. Six people require intensive care, up from one.

That includes people admitted to hospital because of COVID-19, as well as those initially admitted for another reason who later test positive for the virus.

No one from Public Health was available for an interview Tuesday, said Department of Health spokespeson Adam Bowie.

15% fewer PCR tests conducted

A total of 482 positive cases of COVID were reported across the province over the past week, down from 555 the previous week.

There were 321 cases confirmed through a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) lab test (down from 433), and 161 people self-reported testing positive on a rapid test (up from 122).

Fewer PCR tests were conducted — 3,524, compared to 4,161.

The regional breakdown of the 321 new PCR-confirmed cases includes:

  • Moncton region, Zone 1 — 95.

  • Saint John region, Zone 2 — 75.

  • Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 61.

  • Edmundston region, Zone 4 — 17.

  • Campbellton region, Zone 5 — 13.

  • Bathurst region, Zone 6 — 33.

  • Miramichi region, Zone 7 — 27.

Of the 177 most recent random samples sent for genetic sequencing, 94 per cent were the Omicron subvariant BA.5, three per cent were XBB, two per cent were BA.2, and one per cent were BA.4.

The Department of Health says there were 658 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the past week. The breakdown of the doses and the updated vaccination rates are as follows:

  • First dose — 74 doses given, 90.9 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers (unchanged).

  • Second dose — 86 doses given, 85.8 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers (up from 85.7 per cent).

  • First booster — 178 doses given, 54.6 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers (up from 54.5 per cent).

  • Second booster — 320 doses given, 29.4 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers (up from 28.8 per cent)

Hospitalizations, infected employees, outbreaks

Horizon Health Network has 79 active COVID-19 patients as of Saturday, down from 95 a week ago, its COVID dashboard, updated Tuesday, shows. Four people require intensive care, up from one.

The Fredericton region, Zone 3, has the largest share of Horizon's COVID patients at 29, followed closely by the Saint John region, Zone 2, with 27. The Moncton region, Zone 1, has 19 patients, while the Miramichi region, Zone 7, has four.

Vitalité Health Network has 15 hospitalized COVID patients as of Saturday, up from 12, according to its weekly COVID update. Two require intensive care, up from none.

More than half of the patients, eight, are at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont hospital in Moncton, Zone 1, including the two in intensive care.

Of the remaining patients, two are at the Edmundston Regional Hospital in Zone 4, one is at the Campbellton Regional Hospital in Zone 5, and in Zone 6, three are at the Tracadie Hospital, while one is at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst.

The number of Horizon health-care workers off the job after testing positive for COVID-19 has decreased nearly 38 per cent in the past week to 61 from 98.

Horizon has 43 infected employees, down from 62, while Vitalité has 18 absent employees, down from 36.

COVID-19 outbreaks on hospital units have also decreased in the past week. There are now 10 Horizon outbreaks, down from 12. The distribution includes four in the Moncton region, four in the Saint John region and two in the Fredericton region. No other details are provided.

Vitalité has only one outbreak unit: the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre's coronary intensive care unit.