New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 1 death reported as hospitalizations remain high

Public Health is reporting one new death as the province continues to grapple with its highest hospitalization numbers since the pandemic began. 

79 New Brunswickers are in hospital due to COVID-19

All adults who received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least five months ago will be able to receive their third dose on Monday. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool photo/The Associated Press)

Public Health is reporting one new death as the province continues to grapple with its highest hospitalization numbers since the pandemic began. 

New Brunswick has recorded 172 deaths due to COVID-19.

Seventy-nine people are in hospital, down by one from Saturday when the province hit an all-time high for hospitalizations. Sixteen people are in the ICU and 10 are on ventilators. 

Out of the 1,054 PCR tests conducted, 201 were confirmed as positive. The positivity rate is 19.1 per cent. 

There were 201 positive cases reported from 1,054 PCR tests conducted. (CBC News)

The breakdown of the 201 new PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases includes:

  • Moncton region, Zone 1 — 72.
  • Saint John region, Zone 2 — 56.
  • Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 18.
  • Edmundston region, Zone 4 — 16.
  • Campbellton region, Zone 5 — 1.
  • Bathurst region, Zone 6 — 25.
  • Miramichi region, Zone 7 — 13.

As of Saturday, 25.4 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers had received a booster dose, 83.1 per cent had received two doses and 90.8 per cent had received one dose. 

Liberal MLA calls on province to report positive rapid tests

Public Health is currently only reporting cases confirmed through PCR testing on the COVID-19 dashboard. Since the eligibility of PCR testing changed and became only accessible to vulnerable populations, the number of reported cases has declined. 

The province has asked the public to register their positive rapid test results through an online form. 

Jean-Claude D'Amours, an MLA and Liberal health critic, wants the province to start reporting positive results obtained from rapid tests on the COVID-19 dashboard. 

"If you change from PCR to rapid tests, the government should report the number of positive rapid tests in the province," he said. 

D'Amours said the recent changes made by Public Health in regards to testing, providing exposure notices, conducting contact tracing and providing daily news releases mean less transparency about the state of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. 

Jean-Claude D'Amours, the Liberal health critic, is calling on the province to report COVID-19 cases confirmed through rapid tests on the COVID-19 dashboard. (CBC)

"It's less information coming from the government with no rationale, no logic," said D'Amours. 

As New Brunswick struggles with staffing shortages in the health-care system, D'Amours said the province should be asking the federal government for help if it's unable to keep up. Last week, 200 members of the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to help with vaccination efforts in Quebec as that province struggles with rising hospitalizations. 

"We see the government trying to do everything by themselves, not asking for help," he said. "At the same time, we're seeing other provinces in the country asking for help."

In an email to CBC News, Public Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane confirmed that positive rapid test results will become available on the COVID-19 dashboard later this week.

However, no response was provided as to whether the province intends to ask the federal government for help with the COVID-19 crisis in hospitals. 

Booster doses available to all adults starting Monday

New Brunswickers who received their second dose at least five months ago and are 18 years of age or older will be able to receive their booster dose as of Monday. 

The announcement was made yesterday in a news conference attended by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard and Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.

Pregnant women were also made eligible for their boosters immediately. 

As hospitalizations climb and cases remain high in the province, Russell urged the public to get vaccinated.

"In the coming weeks, it is likely the health-care system will be tested like never before," Shephard told the briefing.