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Six more COVID deaths reported, hospitalizations down

By Brad Perry Mar 29, 2023 | 5:00 AM

Six more COVID-related deaths have been reported in New Brunswick as the province reports a week-over-week drop in hospitalizations.

The new deaths, announced in the province’s weekly COVID report on Tuesday, bring the total number to 862.

Public Health said none of the deaths happened during the most recent reporting period. Four occurred between late January and early March while two date back to mid-November.

“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 five were aged 70 and older, according to Public Health.

Test positivity rate back below 20%

There were 212 positive PCR tests between March 19 and 25, down from 313 the previous week.

A total of 1,278 PCR tests were conducted over the same period for a positivity rate of 16.6 per cent, down from 21.7 per cent the previous week.

The positivity rate — which is considered an indicator of community transmission — hovered at or above 20 per cent over the past few weeks.

There were also 141 positive self-reported rapid tests for a weekly total of 353 cases. That is down from the 436 total cases reported the week before.

The Moncton health region (Zone 1) recorded 38 per cent of the new cases, followed by the Saint John health region (Zone 2) with 25 per cent and the Fredericton health region (Zone 3) with 19 per cent.

Among the most recent random PCR samples sequenced, 72 per cent were the XBB variant (up from 55 per cent), 24 per cent were BA.5 (down from 39 per cent), four per cent were BA.2 (down from five per cent) and one per cent were other.

New and current hospitalizations down

The virus sent 15 more people to the hospital between March 19 and 25, but none were admitted to an intensive care unit.

Of those admitted to the hospital, four people were between the ages of 60 and 69 and 11 were aged 70 and older.

During the previous week, there were 17 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 49 people in the hospital as of March 25 (down from 62 a week earlier) and three in intensive care (down from seven).

  • Horizon Health: 40 active hospitalizations and two in intensive care, compared to 50 active admissions and three in intensive care one week earlier.
  • Vitalité Health: nine active hospitalizations and one in intensive care, compared to 12 active admissions and four 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, 35 health care workers were off the job for COVID-related reasons as of March 25, compared to 83 health care workers a week earlier.


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