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Four more COVID deaths, hospitalizations increase

By Brad Perry May 3, 2023 | 5:00 AM

Four more COVID-related deaths have been reported in New Brunswick as the province reports an increase in hospitalizations.

The new deaths, announced in the province’s latest COVID report on Tuesday, bring the total number to 883.

Public Health said none of the deaths happened during the most recent reporting period, which ran from April 23 to 29. Two occurred in April, one in March, and another in February.

One person was between the ages of 50 and 69 and three were aged 70 and older, according to figures provided by Public Health.

“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.

New hospitalizations increase

The virus sent 11 more people to the hospital between April 23 and 29, including one person between the ages of 60 and 69 and 10 people aged 70 and over. No one was admitted to an intensive care unit.

During the previous week, there were seven new admissions to the hospital and one to an ICU.

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 41 people in the hospital as of April 29 (down from 42 a week earlier) and zero in intensive care (down from five a week earlier).

  • Horizon Health: 24 active hospitalizations and zero in intensive care, compared to 30 active admissions and four in intensive care one week earlier.
  • Vitalité Health: 17 active hospitalizations and zero in intensive care, compared to 12 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.

COVID test positivity rate climbs

There were 78 positive PCR tests between April 23 and 29, down from 80 the previous week.

A total of 708 PCR tests were conducted for a positivity rate of 11 per cent compared to 9.8 per cent the previous week. The positivity rate is considered an indicator of community transmission.

Meanwhile, there were also 39 positive self-reported rapid tests for a weekly total of 117 cases, down from 130 total cases reported the week before.

The Saint John health region (Zone 3) recorded 28 per cent of the new cases, followed by the Moncton health region (Zone 1) with nearly 20 per cent and the Fredericton health region (Zone 2) with 17 per cent.

Among the most recent random PCR samples sequenced, 79 per cent were the XBB variant, 11 per cent were BA.5 and nine per cent were BA.2.

According to the two health authorities, 36 health care workers were off the job for COVID-related reasons as of April 29, compared to 32 health care workers a week earlier.

Move to monthly COVID reporting

Tuesday’s report marked the final weekly COVID-19 report until the fall.

Last week, the province announced it was moving to monthly reporting for the next several months.

Reports are scheduled to be released on May 30, June 27, July 25 and August 29.

“For the next respiratory illness season, which will begin in early September, we will release bi-weekly reports on September 12th and September 26th and then move to weekly reporting afterwards,” said the report.


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