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N.B. COVID positivity rate remains near 20%

By Brad Perry Mar 8, 2023 | 5:00 AM

New Brunswick’s COVID-19 test positivity rate remained near 20 per cent for the second straight week.

The latest weekly COVID report shows there were 360 positive PCR tests between Feb. 26 and March 4.

A total of 1,818 PCR tests were conducted over the same period for a positivity rate of 19.8 per cent, down slightly from 20.99 per cent the previous week.

The Fredericton health region (Zone 3) reported 28 per cent of the new cases, followed by the Moncton health region (Zone 1) with 21 per cent and the Saint John health region (Zone 2) with 19 per cent.

Amongst the most recent random samples sequenced, 58 per cent were the BA.5 variant (down from 68 per cent) and 40 per cent were XBB (up from 28 per cent).

COVID death toll climbs to 842

New Brunswick confirmed eight more COVID-related deaths in its latest weekly report, bringing the total to 842.

Public Health said none of the deaths happened during the most recent reporting period.

Three deaths occurred in January with the remaining five in February, according to a graph from the province.

“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.

The deaths included one person between 50 and 69 years old and seven people aged 70 and older, according to Public Health.

Hospitalizations and ICU admissions

The virus sent 11 more people to the hospital between Feb. 26 and March 4 but no one was admitted to an intensive care unit.

Of those admitted, four people were under the age of 20 and seven were aged 70 and older.

During the previous week, there were 11 new admissions to the hospital and two to an ICU.

“Since August 28, 2022, the rate of hospitalizations is highest among those aged 70 years and older,” said the weekly report.

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 45 people in the hospital as of March 4 (down from 55 a week earlier) and zero in intensive care (down from two).

  • Horizon Health: 38 active admissions and zero in intensive care, compared to 44 active admissions and one in intensive care one week earlier.
  • Vitalité Health: seven active admissions and zero in intensive care, compared to 11 active admissions and one 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.

Vaccine doses

In terms of vaccinations, the Department of Health says 416doses were given out over the past week, including 51 first doses, 36 second doses, 74 first booster doses, and 288 second booster doses.

A total of 85.8 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have received two doses, 54.7 per cent have received a booster shot, and 30.2 per cent have received their second booster.

According to the two health authorities, 78 health care workers were off the job for COVID-related reasons as of Saturday, compared to 92 health care workers a week earlier.


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