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COVID test positivity rate continues to climb in N.B.

By Brad Perry Mar 21, 2023 | 7:00 PM

New Brunswick’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has climbed for the second straight week, according to Public Health.

The latest weekly COVID report shows there were 313 positive PCR tests between March 12 and 18, down from 388 the previous week.

A total of 1,442 PCR tests were conducted over the same period for a positivity rate of 21.7 per cent, up from 21.4 per cent the previous week.

There were also 123 positive self-reported rapid tests for a weekly total of 436 cases. That is down from the 541 total cases reported the week before.

The Moncton health region (Zone 1) recorded 29 per cent of the new cases, followed by the Saint John health region (Zone 2) with 23 per cent and the Fredericton health region (Zone 3) with 22 per cent.

Among the most recent random samples sequenced, 55 per cent were the XBB variant (down from 59 per cent), 39 per cent were BA.5 (up from 38 per cent), five per cent were BA.2 (up from two per cent) and one per cent were other.

COVID death toll climbs to 856

New Brunswick confirmed eight more COVID-related deaths in its latest weekly report, bringing the total to 856.

Public Health said none of the deaths happened during the most recent reporting period. They all occurred between early January and early March.

“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.

One person was between 50 and 69 years old while seven were aged 70 and older, according to Public Health.

Hospitalizations and ICU admissions

The virus sent 17 more people to the hospital between March 12 and 18, including two to an intensive care unit.

Of those admitted, one person was under the age of 20, five were between 20 and 59 years old, three were between 60 and 69, and eight were aged 70 and older.

During the previous week, there were 15 new admissions to the hospital and three 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 62 people in the hospital as of March 18 (up from 50 a week earlier) and seven in intensive care (down from eight).

  • Horizon Health: 50 active admissions and three in intensive care, compared to 42 active admissions and six in intensive care one week earlier.
  • Vitalité Health: 12 active admissions and four in intensive care, compared to eight 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.

According to the two health authorities, 83 health care workers were off the job for COVID-related reasons as of Saturday, compared to 57 health care workers a week earlier.


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