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3 more COVID deaths in New Brunswick, 4 youth among flu hospitalizations

Since the beginning of the respiratory season on Aug. 27, 86 New Brunswickers have died from COVID, there have been 1,396 hospitalizations and 91 intensive care admissions. (CBC - image credit)
Since the beginning of the respiratory season on Aug. 27, 86 New Brunswickers have died from COVID, there have been 1,396 hospitalizations and 91 intensive care admissions. (CBC - image credit)

Three more New Brunswickers have died from COVID-19, while no new influenza deaths have been reported, and hospitalizations for both viruses have decreased, updated data from the province Tuesday shows.

A child under four, and three youth aged five to 19 are among those hospitalized by the flu between March 10 and March 16, according to the Respiratory Watch report.

"COVID-19 activity remains moderate; some indicators (number of cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations) decreased slightly during the current reporting period," it says.

Influenza activity "slightly decreased" during the reporting week.

Of the three people who died, one was aged 45 to 64 and the other two were aged 65 or older.

Their deaths raise the province's pandemic death toll to at least 1,022. The actual total is unclear because the Department of Health counts only people who die in hospital as COVID deaths.

Fifteen people were hospitalized because of COVID or for something else and later tested positive, down from 21 in the previous report.

One person required intensive care, unchanged.

Of those hospitalized, three are aged 45 to 64, and 12 are aged 65 or older, including the one in ICU.

6 outbreaks, 40 new cases

Six lab-confirmed COVID outbreaks have been declared, the same number as the previous week. Four are in nursing homes and two are in facilities described only as "other."

Forty new cases of COVID have been confirmed through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) lab tests, down from 60.

The positivity rate — or the percentage of lab tests performed that produced a positive result — is three per cent, down from five.

428 more vaccines administered

About 400 New Brunswickers rolled up their sleeves to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the past week, after the Department of Health urged anyone who has not received a vaccine or had a COVID infection within the last six months to get a shot soon to ensure they are protected and to ensure they meet the recommended six-month interval to get a fall vaccine.

A total of 147,677 XBB.1.5 vaccines have been administered since Oct. 4, figures from the department show.

Spring COVID-19 vaccine boosters will be available April 2 through June 15 for New Brunswickers considered most at risk of severe illness, the department announced last week. This includes people aged 65 or older, residents of nursing homes and adult residential facilities and immunocompromised people aged six months or older.

Comirnaty, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (booster). September, 2023.
Comirnaty, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (booster). September, 2023.

Although spring boosters won't be administered until April 2, bookings for appointments opened up on Monday. (Joe Burbank/The Associated Press)

Eligible New Brunswickers can book appointments now, either online, by calling 1-833-437-1424 or by contacting a participating pharmacy.

People who do not meet the eligibility guidelines but received a fall or winter dose as part of the current vaccination campaign, which began Oct. 16, "are considered fully up to date, and do not require another vaccine this spring," department spokesperson Sean Hatchard said.

Flu sends 13 to hospital, 2 to ICU

The flu sent 13 people to hospital between March 10 and March 15, down from 23 in the previous report.

Two of them required intensive care, up from none.

In addition to the four youth hospitalized, there were also two people aged 20 to 44, and seven people aged 65 or older, including the two in ICU, the report shows.

A hospital room with a vacant bed.
A hospital room with a vacant bed.

The flu has hospitalized 506 people since the respiratory season began on Aug. 27, 47 of whom required intensive care, according to the Respiratory Watch report. (CBC)

Ninety-nine new cases of the flu were confirmed through lab tests, down from 145, and the positivity rate is nine per cent, down from 12.

The breakdown of new cases includes 64 influenza B and 35 influenza A.

There have now been 2,998 cases reported since the respiratory season began on Aug. 27

Three lab-confirmed influenza outbreaks have been declared — one in a nursing home and two in "other facilities." A week ago, none were reported.

There was also one "influenza-like illness" outbreak reported at a school, up from none. No other details are provided, but school outbreaks are based on 10 per cent absenteeism because of influenza-like illness symptoms, according to the report.

As of Tuesday, a total of 222,394 New Brunswickers have been vaccinated against the flu this season, up from 221,808 a week ago, the Department of Health said.

Vitalité releases monthly COVID update

Vitalité Health Network posted its monthly COVID-19 update Tuesday. It shows 15 COVID-positive health-care workers are off sick, as of Saturday, down from 33 in the February report.

There are six hospitalized COVID patients, up from five. None require intensive care, unchanged.

The number of Vitalité health-care workers off the job because of COVID has dropped nearly 55 per cent to 15 in the past month, data released Tuesday shows.
The number of Vitalité health-care workers off the job because of COVID has dropped nearly 55 per cent to 15 in the past month, data released Tuesday shows.

The number of Vitalité health-care workers off the job because of COVID has dropped nearly 55 per cent to 15 in the past month, data released Tuesday shows. (CBC)

Vitalité's COVID outbreaks page hasn't been updated since March 21. At that time, there was one outbreak on Unit 200 at the Veterans' Health Centre in the Moncton region.

A month ago, three hospitals each had one unit with an outbreak.

Horizon Health Network has not yet updated its COVID dashboard.