New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 82 new cases, province stops reporting vaccination status of hospitalized

New Brunswick recorded 82 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the highest single-day jump in more than a month, and the provincial government has stopped reporting the vaccination status of new cases, people hospitalized and in intensive care with COVID-19.

Only rates per 100,000 for new cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions now provided on the COVID-19 dashboard

The province says the risk of getting COVID-19 and being hospitalized is 'far higher' among those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated compared to those who are fully vaccinated. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

New Brunswick recorded 82 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest single-day jump in more than a month, and the provincial government has stopped reporting the vaccination status of new cases, people hospitalized and in intensive care with COVID-19.

Instead, it provides only the rates of cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions per 100,000 New Brunswickers based on their vaccination status on the COVID-19 dashboard.

The Department of Health says this gives "a more accurate picture."

"The risk of getting COVID-19 and being hospitalized remains far higher among those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated compared to those who are fully vaccinated," spokesperson Gail Harding said in an emailed statement.

"The current statistical presentation portrays a more accurate picture versus the [former] breakdown of percentages as it gave the appearance that more people who are vaccinated are getting COVID-19 than not, which is not the case," she said.

"The rate remains far higher among the unvaccinated and we want to ensure that people are getting an accurate picture of what the situation is."

Of the new cases, 14 are in the Moncton region, Zone 1, and 22 are in the Miramichi region, Zone 7, parts of which remain under circuit breakers to try to limit the spread of the virus and reduce hospitalizations.

The number of new cases in Zone 1 is "headed in the right direction, thanks to people in the Moncton region taking the steps necessary to keep themselves and their loved ones safe," Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.

"While we are seeing an increase in numbers in some areas, including Zone 2, the Saint John region, many of the cases are connected and already isolating," she said.

The last time the province saw this many cases in a single day was Oct. 15, when 87 new cases were reported.

There are now 565 active cases across the province.

Thirty people are in hospital because of the virus, an increase of eight, including 16 in intensive care, an increase of two.

No one under the age of 19 is in hospital.

A total of 87 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 12 or older are fully vaccinated, up from 86.8, and 93.2 per cent have received their first dose, unchanged.

The COVID-19 dashboard shows the vaccination status of hospitalized and ICU COVID-19 patients only as a rate per 100,000. (Government of New Brunswick)

Until Monday, the government included in its daily news releases how many of those in hospital and in ICU are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or fully vaccinated.

It also included the number and percentage of the new cases of COVID-19 who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or fully vaccinated.

But this stopped without warning or even mention on Monday.

On Tuesday, the news release said: "Information about the rates of cases and hospitalizations per 100,000 New Brunswickers based on their vaccination status is available on the COVID-19 dashboard."

The dashboard was only updated to include vaccination rates earlier this month, which saw the province start regularly reporting for the first time the vaccination status among those who die from COVID-19.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the dashboard shows the rate of active hospitalizations is 15.3 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated, 5.1 per 100,000 for the partially vaccinated and 1.2 per 100,000 for the fully vaccinated.

Among those in ICU, the rates are 10.2 per 100,000 unvaccinated, zero partially and 0.3 fully.

The dashboard used to show the vaccination status of new cases as a percentage, so the number of people vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated could still be figured out using the total number of cases and some basic math. But it too has been changed to rate per 100,000.

Of the new cases, 38.6 per 100,000 are unvaccinated, 2.6 are partially vaccinated and 4.6 are fully vaccinated.

The dashboard also shows 24.8 per 100,000 of the people who have died of COVID-19 since Aug. 1, 2021, were unvaccinated, 17.9 were partially vaccinated and 5.8 were fully vaccinated.

Asked why New Brunswick did not follow the lead of other provinces like Nova Scotia and report vaccination status as percentages, the department spokesperson said: "In this situation, rates are more appropriate to communicate the risks associated with the vaccination status.

"Clearly, the vaccine shows itself protective when accounting for the population."

Asked why the dashboard only dates back to Aug. 1 for death vaccination rates, Harding said most New Brunswickers had the opportunity to receive their second dose by this date.

The total number of people who have died since Aug. 1 is not indicated on the dashboard, but it's 76.

Breakdown of new cases

Here is the regional breakdown of the 82 new COVID-19 cases confirmed Wednesday:

Moncton region, Zone 1, 14 cases:

  • A person 19 or under
  • A person 20 to 29
  • Two people 30 to 39
  • Six people 40 to 49
  • Two people 50 to 59
  • Two people 60 to 60

Ten of these cases are under investigation and four are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Saint John region, Zone 2, 23 cases:

  • 13 people 19 or under
  • Four people 30 to 39
  • Two people 40 to 49
  • A person 50 to 59
  • Three people 70 to 79

Fifteen of these cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases and eight cases are under investigation.

Fredericton region, Zone 3, 18 cases:

  • Four people 19 or under
  • A person 20 to 29
  • Three people 30 to 39
  • Five people 40 to 49
  • Five people 50 to 59

Ten of these cases are under investigation and eight are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Edmundston region, Zone 4, one case:

  • A person 19 or under

This case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.

Bathurst region, Zone 6, four cases:

  • Two people 19 or under
  • Two people 30 to 39

All four of these cases are contacts of a previously confirmed case.

Miramichi region, Zone 7, 22 cases:

  • Six people 19 or under
  • A person 20 to29
  • Two people 30 to 39
  • Five people 40 to 49
  • A person 50 to 59
  • Five people 60 to 69
  • Two people 70 to 79

Thirteen of these cases are under investigation and nine are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

The Moncton region, Zone 1, still has most of the province's active cases of COVID-19. The municipalities of Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe remain under a circuit breaker. (CBC News)

A total of 540,915 COVID-19 tests have been done to date, including 1,137 on Tuesday.

New Brunswick has had 7,350 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, including 6,662 recoveries so far and 122 COVID-related deaths.

New Moncton testing centre location opens

Horizon's COVID-19 assessment centre in Moncton opened at its new location in the Caledonia Industrial Park on Wednesday.

The assessment centre is now located at 380 MacNaughton Ave.

The former site, in the Moncton Coliseum, closed Tuesday. Vaccinations remain available at the Coliseum, however.

The new assessment centre location remains a drive-thru testing site and is by appointment only.

People with appointments are encouraged to enter MacNaughton Avenue from Harrisville Boulevard because of construction at Elmwood Drive, and to follow signs for directions, Horizon said.

Horizon's rapid screening test kit pickup hub location has also moved. It's now at 548 Mountain Rd. to allow the assessment centre to use the entire space at 380 MacNaughton Ave.

Case at child-care facility

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Origins Natural Learning Childcare Ltd. in the Saint John region, Zone 2.

People who have been in close contact with a confirmed case will be notified directly by Public Health or the daycare for contact tracing, Public Health said.

Since Sept. 7, 79 early learning and child-care facilities have had confirmed cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases has not been released.

No new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in any schools, and no schools are currently impacted, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.

A total of 453 cases have been confirmed at 122 schools since the beginning of the school year.

Atlantic COVID roundup

Nova Scotia announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the active caseload to 236. Seventeen people are in hospital with the virus, including seven in intensive care.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases on Wednesday and has 22 active cases.

Prince Edward Island confirmed seven new cases on Wednesday and has nine active cases.

Public exposure notices

Public Health issued a number of new public exposure notices on Wednesday, including a food bank and grocery store in the Moncton region, Zone 1, and a church in the Miramichi region, Zone 7.

For the full list of new and previous public exposure notices, please visit the provincial government's website.

People who have not been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure and who have symptoms should get a COVID lab test. They can book an appointment online or call Tele-Care 811 and must isolate while waiting for their test result.

People who are not fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms are now being instructed to pick up an At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Point of Care Test (Rapid POCT) screening kit. They do not need to isolate if they have not been directed by Public Health to do so.

All positive point-of-care test results must be confirmed with a laboratory polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test.

It can take up to 14 days to test positive after being exposed to COVID-19, so even if results come back negative, people should continue to self-monitor for any symptoms and get tested immediately if any develop.

They should also avoid visiting settings with vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes, correctional facilities and shelters during that 14-day period.

For people who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure, Public Health recommends they monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the possible exposure and get a COVID lab test if symptoms develop.

They do not need to isolate while they wait for their test results.

If they do not have symptoms, they can pick up a rapid test kit and do not need to isolate.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms of the illness have included a fever above 38 C, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, a new onset of fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should stay at home, call 811 or their doctor and follow instructions.

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