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Six more COVID deaths as hospitalizations, new cases drop

By Brad Perry Apr 5, 2023 | 5:00 AM

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

The new deaths, announced in the province’s weekly COVID report on Tuesday, bring the total number to 868.

Public Health said none of the deaths happened during the most recent reporting period, which ran from March 26 to April 1. Four occurred earlier in March while the other two happened in January.

“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 people were aged 70 and older, according to figures provided by Public Health.

Test positivity rate falls slightly

There were 155 positive PCR tests between March 26 and April 1, down from 212 the previous week.

A total of 948 PCR tests were conducted over the same period for a positivity rate of 16.3 per cent, down from 16.6 per cent the previous week.

The positivity rate — which is considered an indicator of community transmission — hovered at or above 20 per cent from around mid-February to mid-March.

There were also 75 positive self-reported rapid tests for a weekly total of 230 cases, down from 353 total cases reported the week before.

The Moncton health region (Zone 1) recorded 33 per cent of the new cases, followed by the Saint John health region (Zone 2) with 26 per cent and the Fredericton health region (Zone 3) with 23 per cent.

Among the most recent random PCR samples sequenced, 69 per cent were the XBB variant (down from 72 per cent), 28 per cent were BA.5 (up from 24 per cent), and three per cent were BA.2 (up from four per cent).

New and current hospitalizations down

The virus sent nine more people to the hospital between March 26 and April 1, including two to an intensive care unit.

Of those admitted to the hospital, one person was under the age of 20, one was between the ages of 20 and 59, one was 60 to 69 years old, and six were aged 70 and older.

During the previous week, there were 15 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 30 people in the hospital as of April 1 (down from 49 a week earlier) and three in intensive care (unchanged from a week earlier).

  • Horizon Health: 21 active hospitalizations and two in intensive care, compared to 40 active admissions and two in intensive care one week earlier.
  • Vitalité Health: nine active hospitalizations and one in intensive care, compared to nine 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.

According to the two health authorities, 54 health care workers were off the job for COVID-related reasons as of April 1, compared to 35 health care workers a week earlier.


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