New Brunswick

Several key COVID-19 measurements down in N.B.'s latest report

Several key measurements for COVID-19 were down in New Brunswick last week, according to the most recent weekly report released by the province. 

4 deaths, and ICU patients increased to 5 from 3 the previous week

Seven-day moving average of hospitalizations for COVID-19 since Dec. 5, 2021. (Government of New Brunswick)

Several key measurements for COVID-19 were down in New Brunswick last week, according to the most recent weekly report released by the province. 

New COVID cases, weekly deaths, active cases, and hospitalizations were all down last week compared to the previous week.

The number of people in ICU, however, increased to five from three the previous week. 

Although the numbers have stabilized in terms of hospital admissions, deaths and ICU admissions, Chief Medical Officer of Health Jennifer Russell said the message remains the same — get vaccinated. 

"We've now opened it up for the under-five age group. … So we really want all those children who are eligible to get vaccinated and certainly coming into the school season in September, it would be ideal to have that protection as soon as possible." 

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said some categories have stabilized, but the importance of vaccinations continues. (Government of New Brunswick)

Russell said it's too early in the campaign to gauge the response to the government's message, but she expects a clearer picture later this week.

Russell isn't sure what can be said to get the final adult holdouts to change their minds.

"All I can say is that those people who are vaccinated have a much higher level of protection from being hospitalized, from having very severe outcomes, and from being admitted to ICU and succumbing to COVID."

According to the province's most recent weekly COVID-19 report, which was released Wednesday afternoon, those who are unprotected by vaccine continue to have the highest rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 and ICU admissions.

For example, the rate per 100,000 for ICU patients since Dec. 5, 2021, is double for unprotected patients, compared with those who are considered protected. 

Vaccination status, proportion, and rate per 100,000 for hospitalized and deceased cases reported since Dec. 5, 2021. (Government of New Brunswick)

The report also said 747 new cases were reported between July 24 and July 30. That was down from 938 the previous week.

Four people died last week, bringing the total number of deaths to 447. Five people died the week before. 

The number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 last week was down one — 39 compared to 40 the week before — and the highest portion of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is among individuals between the ages of 70 and 89. 

The report also includes a breakdown of the most recent random sample of Omicron subvariants: 

  • 0 per cent of samples are BA.1
  • 9 per cent of samples are BA.2
  • 0 per cent of samples are BA.3
  • 12 per cent of samples are BA.4
  • 79 per cent of samples are BA.5

Russell isn't surprised about the breakdown of the Omicron subvariants — each one more transmissible than the one that came before. 

She said it makes sense that BA.5 has quickly outpaced all its predecessors. 

Numbers from health authorities

In its most recently released weekly report, Vitalité Health Network reports 50 COVID-19 hospitalizations last week. It also says 153 staff were off work because of COVID-19, and bed occupancy rates were at 94 per cent. 

On its dashboard, the Horizon Health Network reports 77 "active" admissions, three active ICU cases, and 40 employees test positive. Horizon says there are now COVID-19 outbreaks on 17 hospital units across the province.

Vitalité lists outbreaks in nine units in five hospitals across the province, including four at Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton. 

The Horizon and Vitalité reports include patients who were initially admitted for another reason and later tested positive for the virus. The province only reports on patients who are admitted for COVID. 

Renous prison cases

The Correctional Service of Canada confirmed Wednesday that 17 inmates at Atlantic Institution in Renous have tested positive for COVID-19. 

A news release said officials are "closely monitoring the situation, and measures are in place to minimize spread of the virus within the institution.

"COVID-19 testing is being offered to inmates and staff."

The report for last week indicates the age and vaccine status for cases. (Government of New Brunswick)

According to the release, the positive cases are based on either rapid tests or PCR tests and that the number of cases "may change as more testing is conducted and laboratory-confirmed results are available."

"This is an evolving situation and we continue to apply and reinforce infection prevention and control measures to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19." 

The correctional service said staff are provided medical masks, respirators, and face shields, and inmates are provided medical masks "and are encouraged to wear them at all times when not in their cells."

Since January 2021, all offenders, including new admissions, have been offered a vaccine, and boosters are also  provided. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mia Urquhart is a journalist with CBC New Brunswick, based in Saint John. She can be reached at mia.urquhart@cbc.ca.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now