Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


‘Kraken’ Subvariant Of COVID Confirmed In N.B.

By Brad Perry Jan 10, 2023 | 1:59 PM

A new COVID-19 subvariant believed to be the most transmissible yet has been found in New Brunswick.

Public Health said Tuesday that two cases of the Omicron subvariant dubbed “Kraken” have been confirmed in recent days.

The province’s acting chief medical health officer said there is no evidence yet that XBB.1.5 is more severe than other subvariants.

“However, we wanted to note its presence as it’s been identified as a commonly spreading strain in many other jurisdictions,” Dr. Yves Léger said in a statement.

The World Health Organization recently said that XBB.1.5 is “the most transmissible subvariant that has been detected yet.”

XBB.1.5 is a subvariant of XBB, which is part of the Omicron BA.2 strain of COVID-19.

Amongst the most recent random samples sequenced, five per cent were the XBB variant, 92 per cent were BA.5 and two per cent were BA.2.

Nine more deaths confirmed in N.B.

In its latest weekly report, Public Health confirmed nine more COVID-related deaths between Jan. 1 and 7, but none of the deaths took place during that time.

“Deaths are subject to a lag in reporting,” said the report, noting it takes an average of two months from the date of death and receiving the registration of death form.

According to the report, five of the deaths occurred in December, one in November, two in October, and one in September. All nine deaths involved people aged 70 and over.

Hospitalizations and ICU admissions

The virus sent 22 more people to the hospital over the past week, including one to an intensive care unit.

Of those admitted, three were between the ages of 20 and 59, three were between 60 and 69 years old, and 16 were aged 70 or older.

“COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased while deaths remained stable,” said the weekly report.

As part of recent reporting changes, Public Health no longer includes information on how many people are currently in the hospital because of COVID-19.

The province’s two regional health authorities usually provide information on the number of active hospitalizations, but their next weekly report will not be released until Jan. 10.

However, the two regional health authorities reported 119 people in the hospital as of Jan. 7, including eight in intensive care. This was the first update from the health authorities in three weeks.

  • Horizon Health: 99 active admissions and six in intensive care, compared to 91 active admissions and three in intensive care three weeks ago.
  • Vitalité Health: 20 active admissions and two in intensive care, compared to 49 active admissions and three in intensive care three weeks ago.

Unlike the provincial data, which only accounts for those who are admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, the regional health authorities also include the number of patients who are initially admitted for another reason and later test positive for the virus.

Saint John region remains hotspot for new cases

A total of 728 positive cases were reported over the past two weeks, including 521 positive PCR tests and 208 rapid tests.

The Saint John health region, Zone 2, remains the hotspot with 218 new cases, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the total case count.

The Moncton health region (Zone 1) recorded 28 per cent of the new cases, followed by the Fredericton health region (Zone 3) with 20 per cent.

Vaccine doses

In terms of vaccinations, the Department of Health says 674 doses were given out over the past week, including 143 first doses, 100 second doses, 275 first booster doses, and 156 second booster doses.

A total of 85.7 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have received two doses, 54.5 per cent have received a booster shot, and 28.8 per cent have received their second booster.

According to the two health authorities, 131 health care workers were off the job for COVID-related reasons as of Saturday.


Leave a Reply