N.B. COVID-19 roundup: New Brunswick tops record for hospitalizations
1 new death reported in Saturday update
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in New Brunswick have set a new record for two days in a row.
Public Health is reporting 80 people in hospital as of Saturday, up by 11 from Friday.
Seventeen people are in intensive care and 11 are on ventilators.
One new death has been reported.
There are 421 new COVID-19 cases based on PCR lab tests, which are reserved for vulnerable populations. With over 2,300 tests conducted, the positivity rate is 17.9 per cent.
Starting Saturday, new PCR-confirmed cases and "other data updates" will be available only on the province's COVID-19 dashboard and will not be included in future news releases, Public Health announced earlier this week.
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.
While the province opted against moving to the more-restrictive Level 3 of the winter plan, Russell said it can't be ruled out.
Shephard said the province won't hesitate to go to Level 3 if it feels it's "necessary" and if Public Health supports the move.
Under Level 3, social gatherings would be limited to single-household bubbles, no public gatherings would be permitted, restaurants would be takeout only; non-essential retail would be reduced to no-contact pickup or delivery only; gyms, salons and entertainment centres would be closed, and faith services would only be allowed outdoors or virtually.
Outbreak at Edmundston hospital
Thirty employees, including four doctors, have tested positive at the Edmunston Regional Hospital and are isolating, according to Dr. John Tobin, who heads the family medicine department.
"The teams are very stretched," Tobin said in an interview with Radio-Canada on Saturday.
However, he said the situation is stable. "We are still able to function with what we currently have," he said.
According to Tobin, 16 people are in the COVID-19 unit at the hospital, three on ventilators.
Admissions to the hospital will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the Vitalité Health Network said Friday.
Patients with appointments can attend the hospital at their scheduled day and time, according to the news release. Vitalité will contact patients whose appointments must be rescheduled.
The emergency room remains open, but people are asked to limit their visits to urgent cases.