Five more New Brunswickers have died from COVID-19, raising the pandemic death toll to 485, the province reported Tuesday.
The latest deaths include one person in their 60s, two in their 70s, one in their 80s, and one 90 or older, according to the COVIDWatch report for Sept. 18 to Sept. 24.
The number of New Brunswickers hospitalized for or with COVID-19 in the past week has remained stable at 95, compared to 96 a week ago, according to the province's two regional health authorities.
But the Vitalité Health Network saw a 48 per cent jump in its number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized, while the Horizon Health Network saw an 18 per cent decrease, their weekly COVD dashboards show.
Vitalité has 37 patients hospitalized as of Saturday, up from 25 the previous week, with three in intensive care, unchanged, according to its dashboard.
Horizon has 58 active COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from 71, including four people in intensive care, down from five.
Public Health reports the number of hospitalizations because of COVID-19 has decreased to 19 as of Saturday, compared to 21 the previous week. Unlike the regional health authorities, it reports only people hospitalized because of the virus, not those initially admitted for another reason who later tested positive.
Two people require intensive care, unchanged, according to the province.
The number of people newly admitted to hospital for COVID-19 has also decreased this week to 18, compared to 21 a week ago, Public Health reports.
Among the new admissions is a child under 10 and a youth aged 10 to 19, the COVIDWatch report shows.
The others include a person in their 30s, a person in their 50s, three people in their 60s, three in their 70s, six in their 80s and two 90 or older.
The highest portion of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is among people aged 70 to 89, the report states.
"Individuals that are unprotected by vaccine continue to have the highest rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 and ICU admissions."
Moncton zone has most new cases
Fewer new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the past week, at 930, compared to 1,091. That includes those confirmed with a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) lab test and people who self-reported testing positive on a rapid test.
The number of PCR-confirmed cases has remained "stable," at 558, compared to 586.
The Moncton region, Zone 1, continues to have the largest share of the new cases, at 199. The distribution of the other cases includes:
Saint John region, Zone 2, 85
Fredericton region, Zone 3, 151
Edmundston region, Zone 4, 39
Campbellton region, Zone 5, 13
Bathurst region, Zone 6, 35
Miramichi region, Zone 7, 36
Although the province has made it easier for people to obtain rapid tests, only 372 new cases were self-reported through positive rapid test results, down from 505 the previous week.
People no longer need to have COVID symptoms to qualify for a rapid test kit, and the kits are available for pickup at more locations, particularly in rural areas, including libraries or municipal offices, the province announced last week.
The distribution of the positive rapid test cases includes:
Moncton region, Zone 1, 127
Saint John region, Zone 2, 57
Fredericton region, Zone 3, 150
Edmundston region, Zone 4, 15
Campbellton region, Zone 5, five
Bathurst region, Zone 6, seven
Miramichi region, Zone 7, 11
There are now 769 active cases of COVID across the province, based on PCR-confirmed cases alone, down from 843 a week ago.
Of the most recent random samples sent for sequencing, 91 per cent were the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.5, seven per cent were the Omicron subvariant BA.4, and the other two per cent were Omicron subvariant BA.2.
New Brunswick has had 77,460 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, with 76,206of those now considered resolved.
RHA hospitalizations, outbreaks, infected staff
Of the 37 Vitalité patients, 30 are at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, including two of the patients in ICU. The hospital is listed at 101 per cent capacity.
Five patients are at the Edmundston Regional Hospital, which has a 94 per cent bed occupancy, and the remaining two patients, one of whom requires intensive care, are at Bathurst's Chaleur Regional Hospital, which is overcapacity at 103 per cent.
The distribution of the Horizon patients includes:
Moncton region, Zone 1 — 16
Saint John region, Zone 2 — 14
Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 14
Miramichi region, Zone 7 — 14
Vitalité has two new COVID-19 outbreaks at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton on the general surgical unit (4A) and the psychiatry unit (4B), along with ongoing outbreaks on the geriatric unit (3A), rehabilitation unit (3F), and the nephrology unit (4F). There is also an ongoing outbreak on the care unit at the Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent.
Horizon has 12 COVID-19 hospital outbreak units, including four in the Moncton region, Zone 1, three in the Saint John region, Zone 2, three in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, and two in the Miramichi region, Zone 7. No other details are provided.
The number of COVID-positive health-care workers off the job at Vitalité has been cut in half to 26, while Horizon has seen a 39 per cent jump, with 64 staff absences, up from 46 in the previous report.