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N.B. Reports 13 COVID Deaths, Drop In Hospitalizations

By Brad Perry Jan 17, 2023 | 1:28 PM

New Brunswick has confirmed 13 more COVID-related deaths in its latest weekly report, bringing the total to 762.

But Public Health said most of the deaths actually happened weeks ago, and have only just been confirmed due to a “lag in reporting.”

One of the deaths occurred in late September, two in October, two in November, and six in December. The remaining two deaths happened before Aug. 28, 2022 — the start of the current respiratory virus season.

“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.

Public Health only released more detailed information about the 11 new deaths that occurred during the current RSV season. All but one involved people aged 70 and over.

Hospitalizations and ICU admissions

The virus sent 14 more people to the hospital between Jan. 8 and 14, including two to an intensive care unit.

Of those admitted, one was under the age of 20, two were between the ages of 20 and 59, two were between 60 and 69 years old, and nine were aged 70 or older

During the previous week, there were 22 new admissions to the hospital, including one to an ICU.

“COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased while deaths increased,” 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.

However, the two regional health authorities reported 107 people in the hospital as of Jan. 14 (down from 119 a week earlier) and one in intensive care (down from eight).

  • Horizon Health: 95 active admissions and one in intensive care, compared to 99 active admissions and six in intensive care one week earlier.
  • Vitalité Health: 12 active admissions and no one in intensive care, compared to 20 active admissions and two in intensive care one week earlier.

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.

Moncton region now the hotspot for new cases

A total of 555 positive cases were reported over the past week, including 433 positive PCR tests and 122 rapid tests.  That was down from 728 reported positive cases the previous week.

The Moncton Health region, Zone 1, is the new hotspot with 221 cases, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the total case count.

The Saint John health region (Zone 2) recorded 22 per cent of the new cases, followed by the Fredericton health region (Zone 3) with 18 per cent.

Amongst the most recent random samples sequenced, 93 per cent were the BA.5 variant, three per cent were XBB, two per cent were BA.2, one per cent was BA.4, and one per cent was classified as “other”.

Vaccine doses

In terms of vaccinations, the Department of Health says 2,209 doses were given out over the past week, including 123 first doses, 106 second doses, 261 first booster doses, and 1,719 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 29.4 per cent have received their second booster.

According to the two health authorities, 98 health care workers were off the job for COVID-related reasons as of Saturday, compared to 131 health care workers a week earlier.


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