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Dr. Yves Léger (GNB/Zoom)

Triple Virus Threat Growing In N.B.

By Allan Dearing Dec 13, 2022 | 2:36 PM

Like many other jurisdictions across North America, a triple threat of viruses – RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), influenza and COVID-19 – are affecting New Brunswickers too.

In a Zoom call with the media on Tuesday afternoon, the province’s acting chief medical officer of health said influenza season started early this year and flu cases are still rising with no signs of peaking yet.


Dr. Yves Léger said the province hit 836 positive cases, during the week of Nov. 27 to Dec.3, which is an all-time high since influenza reporting began in 2005-06.

Meantime, there were also 115 influenza-related hospitalizations that week, bringing the total number for this flu season to 350.

Léger said about half of the hospitalizations consist of patients 65 and older but 17 percent are children and youth 19 and younger.

The total number of positive influenza detections in New Brunswick this flu season is 1,811.

He added the province has been doing a lot more testing for the flu this year which could be partly behind the record number of cases and hospitalizations.

Flu vaccine

Léger said only 196,976 influenza vaccines had been administered in New Brunswick as of Dec. 12, down from 219,475 over the same period last year.

“We know the influenza vaccine is safe, and that it can help reduce the number of cases – and particularly the number of severe cases – of influenza we will see over the flu season,” said Léger.

“With the increased activity we are seeing now, it is important for all New Brunswickers aged six months or older to consider rolling up their sleeve for this protective shot, and to consider adopting the public health measures we know will reduce our risks of contracting respiratory illnesses.”

RSV and COVID-19

Léger noted RSV may have reached some level of stability, although stable does not mean low and the virus continues to circulate widely across the province.

In terms of COVID-19, he said activity has been increasing with a rise in case counts and hospitalizations over the last few weeks.

No mask mandate

Léger said while he is concerned about the triple threat and the upcoming holiday season, a mask mandate will not be implemented at this time.

He said the situation is continually discussed and reviewed but he added mandates are not taken lightly since these measures take away people’s liberties to make decisions on their own.

However, Léger does recommend the wearing of masks in indoor settings and he urges people to stay home if they are sick if that option is available to them.

He also said people should wash their hands after they cough and sneeze, especially before they touch common surfaces.

Léger said these measures will help people protect themselves and their loved ones, as well as reduce the strain these elevated levels of sickness are placing on the province’s hospital system.

More information about the latest influenza numbers is available online.


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