Rising COVID-19 cases prompt New Brunswick hospitals to move to Red Alert level

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FREDERICTON — Hospitals in New Brunswick are moving to the Red Alert level and postponing some non-urgent procedures because of a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across the province.

There are more than 1,000 active reported cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, and as of Monday, 56 people were hospitalized with the disease, including 20 in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported 75 COVID-19-related deaths.

Hospitals in the Vitalité Health Network moved to the Red Alert level Tuesday, although the Campbellton Regional Hospital imposed emergency measures last week to address an in-hospital outbreak. Under a Red Alert designation, hospitals are able to reduce or temporarily suspend services such as elective surgeries and non-urgent X-rays and scans.

"We must go to Red Alert internally so we can temporarily reduce or suspend non-essential services and thereby redeploy staff to maintain our emergency services and intensive care units and the care of patients with COVID-19 who are hospitalized," Vitalité CEO Dr. France Desrosiers said in a statement last week.

Hospitals in the Horizon Health Network will do the same Wednesday, and the measures will be in place for at least two weeks. Horizon CEO Dr. John Dornan says the protocols allow for the redeployment of staff to maintain emergency and intensive care services.

"While we are prepared to deal with surges and outbreaks, the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to have a major effect on our already stressed health-care system," Dornan said in a statement last week.

Visits are temporarily suspended across all hospitals in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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