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COVID test positivity rate remains near 20% in N.B.

By Brad Perry Mar 14, 2023 | 3:36 PM

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

The latest weekly COVID report shows there were 388 positive PCR tests between March 5 and 11, up from 360 the previous week.

A total of 1,812 PCR tests were conducted over the same period for a positivity rate of 21.4 per cent, up from 19.8 per cent the previous week.

There were also 153 positive self-reported rapid tests for a weekly total of 541 cases.

The Moncton health region (Zone 1) recorded 27 per cent of the new cases, followed by the Fredericton health region (Zone 3) with 25 per cent and the Saint John health region (Zone 2) with 21 per cent.

Among the most recent random samples sequenced, 59 per cent were the XBB variant (up from 40 per cent), 38 per cent were BA.5 (down from 58 per cent), two per cent were BA.2 and one per cent were other.

COVID death toll climbs to 848

New Brunswick confirmed six more COVID-related deaths in its latest weekly report, bringing the total to 848.

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

Five deaths occurred between late January and late February, according to a graph from the province, with the sixth death in late September.

“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.

All six deaths involved people aged 70 and older, according to Public Health.

Hospitalizations and ICU admissions

The virus sent 15 more people to the hospital between March 5 and 11, including three to an intensive care unit.

Of those admitted, one person was under the age of 20, two were between 20 and 59 years old, and 12 were aged 70 and older.

During the previous week, there were 11 new admissions to the hospital and none 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 50 people in the hospital as of March 11 (up from 45 a week earlier) and eight in intensive care (up from zero).

  • Horizon Health: 42 active admissions and six in intensive care, compared to 38 active admissions and zero in intensive care one week earlier.
  • Vitalité Health: eight active admissions and two in intensive care, compared to seven active admissions and zero 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.

According to the two health authorities, 57 health care workers were off the job for COVID-related reasons as of Saturday, compared to 78 health care workers a week earlier.


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