Weekly COVID-19 deaths jump to 15, hospitalizations decrease

·6 min read
The 15 new COVID-19 deaths reported Tuesday raised the province's pandemic death toll to 399. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The 15 new COVID-19 deaths reported Tuesday raised the province's pandemic death toll to 399. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press - image credit)

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 15 more New Brunswickers in the past week and the province reports hospitalizations because of the virus dropped by six, to 81, including 10 people in intensive care.

According to the two health authorities, there are 123 people with COVID-19 being treated in hospital, 13 of whom require intensive care. That's down from 168 and 19 respectively last Tuesday.

The province's weekly COVIDWatch report includes only people hospitalized for COVID, whereas Horizon and Vitalité also include people who were initially admitted to hospital for another reason and later tested positive for the virus.

The new deaths represent a significant jump from last week, when six deaths were reported.

The latest deaths include one person in their 60s, four in their 70s, four in their 80s, and six in their 90s, a comparison of this week's report to last week's reveals.

Four of them lived in the Moncton region, Zone 1, three in the Saint John region, Zone 2, three in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, four in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, and one in the Bathurst region, Zone 6.

Their deaths raise the pandemic death toll to 399. More than 20 per cent of those — 82 — have occurred in the seven weeks since the province lifted all COVID-19 restrictions.

"Individuals that are unprotected by vaccine continue to have the highest rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 and death," the province's website states.

The highest portion of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is among individuals aged 60 to 79, it says.

Government of New Brunswick
Government of New Brunswick

A child under 10 and another aged 10 to 19 are among those admitted to hospital for COVID-19 during the reporting period of April 24 to April 30, the website shows.

New hospital admissions for COVID, including ICU admissions, decreased this week to 64, compared to 74 last week.

The others include two people in their 20s, two in their 30s, two in their 40s, four in their 50s, six in their 60s, 21 in their 70s, 14 in their 80s, and 11 in their 90s.

Among the seven people admitted to intensive care, two are in their 40s, one in their 60s, three in their 70s, and one in their 80s.

Of the 127 COVID-related hospitalizations reported by the regional health authorities, Horizon has 86 of them, as of Saturday, down from 106 in last week's report, its dashboard shows. Nine of those patients are in intensive care, down from 15.

The regional breakdown of Horizon's active hospitalizations, as of Saturday include:

  • Moncton region, Zone 1 — 28

  • Saint John region, Zone 2 — 31

  • Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 20

  • Miramichi region, Zone 7 — Seven

Vitalité has 37 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, four of them in intensive care.

19 active outbreaks

There are active COVID-19 outbreaks on 19 hospital units across the province, down from 28 last week, according to the regional health authorities.

Horizon has 11 outbreak units. Six are in the Moncton region, Zone 1, four are in the Saint John region, Zone 2, and one is in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, according to a graph on the dashboard, but the hospitals and units are not identified.

Vitalité has the other eight. They include:

  • Moncton region, Zone 1 — Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, on the geriatric unit (3E) and Veterans' Health Centre, Unit 300

  • Campbellton region, Zone 5 — Campbellton Regional Hospital, on the geriatric unit, transitional care unit and the veterans' unit

  • Bathurst region, Zone 6 — Enfant-Jésus RHSJ Hospital, on the medical unit, and Tracadie Hospital, on the medical unit and 2nd north unit

No Horizon hospitals are listed as being overcapacity, but five Vitalité hospitals have bed occupancy rates of over 100 per cent. Only two of these have COVID-19 patients.

The Tracadie Hospital is at 105 per cent capacity with three COVID patients, while the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre is at 104 per cent capacity with 11 COVID patients.

At least 252 health-care workers are off the job, isolating because of COVID, down from 367 reported last Tuesday.

Horizon has 106 staff who have tested positive, as of Saturday, down from 142.

Vitalité has 105 infected health-care workers off, plus another 41 who have been "removed from work" because of a contact with a positive case, putting its total number of absent staff at 146, down from 225.

Horizon does not report how many staff are isolating as a precaution after coming into contact with a positive case.

Drop in new cases — and PCR tests

The number of new cases of COVID-19 dropped to 2,534 in Tuesday's report, compared to 3,964 last week and 5,645 the previous week.

But that's based in part on PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, and about 2,000 fewer tests were performed April 24-30, compared to April 17-23, the COVIDWatch report shows.

There were 1,392 cases confirmed through PCR tests, putting the total number of PCR-confirmed active cases across the province at 2,281, down from 3,134.

The number of PCR tests performed provincewide dropped to 6,612 from 8,660. The Moncton region, Zone 1, saw the biggest dip, to 3,168 from 4,668.

Another 1,142 people also self-reported testing positive on rapid tests.

Jenny Evans/Getty Images
Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Of the 1,392 new PCR cases, 74.5 per cent were "protected," which Public Health defines as boosted or fully vaccinated less than six months.

The other 25.5 per cent were "unprotected," which Public Health defines as fully vaccinated more than six months, partially vaccinated, or unvaccinated.

The vaccination status of the new deaths and hospitalizations is not provided, but of the 251 deaths reported since Dec. 5, 53.4 per cent were protected.

Of the hospitalizations reported during the same period, 48.2 per cent were protected, and among ICU admissions alone, 35.1 per cent were protected.

A total of 52 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are now boosted after 885 more people received their COVID-19 booster shot, up from 51.9 per cent a week ago, 87.9 per cent have received two doses, up from 87.8 per cent (233 more people), and 93.1 per cent have received their first dose, unchanged again (146 more people).

New Brunswick has had 62,148 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic with 59,468 recoveries so far, now described as "resolved" cases.

Atlantic COVID roundup

P.E.I. reported one new COVID-related death in its weekly report Tuesday, a person aged 40 to 59.

Six people on the Island are in hospital due to COVID-19, while seven others were admitted for other reasons and were COVID-positive on or after admission.

P.E.I. has confirmed 1,163 new cases of COVID since the last update April 26.

On Monday, Newfoundland and Labrador reported another death due to COVID-19, a person in their 80s.

Hospitalizations jumped to 24 from 16 on Friday. Three people are in critical care.

The Health Department also reported 197 new cases since Friday, but is no longer releasing data on how many people are being tested and is restricting PCR testing.

Nova Scotia, in its last weekly update April 26, reported 24 COVID-related deaths.

There were 55 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 10 in intensive care.

A total of 5,436 new cases were confirmed through PCR tests.

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