New Brunswick reports two deaths related to COVID-19 Friday, 125 in hospital
New Brunswick reported two additional deaths related to COVID-19 Friday, involving a person in their 80s in Zone 2 (Saint John region) and a person in their 80s in Zone 5 (Campbellton region).
According to public health, there are 125 people in hospital, 14 of whom are in intensive care.
Of those in hospital:
- 73 were admitted for reasons other than COVID-19
- 102 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are 60 and over
- nine people are on a ventilator
- two people 19 or under are hospitalized
The seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.
Public health says there are currently 450 health-care workers who have tested positive for the virus and are isolating.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, began a live news conference Friday reminding New Brunswickers of the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It is urgent that people who are 18 and older with two doses get a booster shot as soon as they are eligible, especially those who are more at risk for hospitalization,” she said.
Russel says there are plenty of vaccines on hand and many available appointments.
“Please do not wait any longer. This is particularly important for New Brunswickers over the age of 50, who tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. Currently, just 59.8 per cent of people over 50 and just 71.1 per cent of those over the age of 60 have received a booster shot,” said Russell.
According to Russell, two thirds of the province’s ICU patients are either unvaccinated or have received only one dose, or have not received the booster dose for which they are eligible.
Eight weeks ago, the province began vaccinating children aged five to 11 against COVID-19.
“The next step is providing them with additional protection by giving them a second vaccine dose,” said Russell.
Russell says only half of the eligible children, or 53.2 per cent, have received their first dose.
“It is crucial that we get vaccines into as many arms as possible over the next 10 days. We need to have more children vaccinated and we need to make sure that those children who have received the first dose get a second dose as soon as possible,” said Russell.
“By getting vaccinated, kids will be better positioned to stay healthy when in-class learning resumes. It will make it safer for children to play together on our playgrounds, sports fields and hockey rinks. By getting your kids vaccinated you will be helping them get back to being kids.”
Once a child has hit the eight-week mark following their first vaccination, Russell says they require a second shot. Appointments are now available for children who are at, or near, this mark.
Appointments can be booked online at vaccination clinics offered through the Vitalité and Horizon health networks.
Many pharmacies across the province are also offering vaccine clinics. Appointments can be made by contacting a participating pharmacy directly.
Last Saturday, New Brunswick moved to Level 3 of its Winter Plan for a 16-day period, following projections from public health on impacts the Omicron variant would have on the province.
“We have nine days left until Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m.,” said Premier Blaine Higgs.
“I want to stress that we likely have still not seen the peak of our cases and hospitalizations, but our ability to manage the situation is improving.”
While the province is still not out of the woods, Higgs says the strict measures have been paying off.
“Our ability to manage the situation is improving thanks to the dedication of multiple teams and volunteers. This is good news, and I hope this trend will continue,” said Higgs.
“I understand the impact Level 3 restrictions have had on businesses and on individuals, and I know these circumstances are not ideal. These measures are in place now to reduce the strain on our health-care system and health-care workers.”
Public health is reporting the number of hospitalizations are growing at a slower rate than expected.
“Early indications are showing there has been a 30 per cent reduction in people’s contacts, which is exactly why we are in this situation with the Level 3. But, it’s good news and I’m hopeful that the trend will continue,” said Higgs.
“Until then, these restrictions are allowing us to lesson the impact as much as possible, by giving us the time to improve our booster dose level, particularly for those who are at higher risk.”
When the two-week lockdown was announced, Higgs says the goal was to ease the building pressure on the health-care system and get our vulnerable citizens boosted.
“I am thankful to all of our frontline workers, and the civil servants, because in my morning meetings with public health today, I was told we are currently on target to go back to Level 2 as anticipated,” said Higgs.
“Now that could change, but right now, I’m just happy and excited to report that we are on track and it’s because everyone has been part of the solution.”
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
On Tuesday, New Brunswick issued an urgent call for volunteers to help the province in its pandemic response efforts.
“I am so pleased to see so many New Brunswickers answer that call to volunteer and support clinical and non-clinical health operations, with more than 3,000 individuals submitting applications to assist. Thank you to all New Brunswickers,” said Higgs.
“I encourage anyone who is able to offer their assistance to please do so.”
LONG-TERM CARE BEDS
To alleviate the pressure on the health-care system, Higgs says the province has been working with long-term care home operators to create a pool of emergency long-term care beds throughout the province.
“Under this initiative, 160 beds have been identified,” said Higgs.
Higgs says they are working together to find innovative ways to face challenges in the health system.
UPDATES TO COVID-19 DASHBOARD
The province announced Friday that changes have been made to the COVID-19 dashboard, in order to provide new information and to make it more user friendly.
The dashboard has a new landing page that includes:
- Hospitalization and ICU information, including an indicator of how the data has changed since the last report so users can easily see if the number of people in hospital has increased or decreased.
- A clear breakdown of people who were admitted because of COVID-19 compared with those who were admitted for other reasons but tested positive for the virus.
- The percentage of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, people on a ventilator and people who have died based on vaccination status. This will be further broken down into two categories: cases that have received their second dose within six months and/or have received their booster dose; and cases that are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or received their second dose more than six months ago and have not received their booster dose.
- Vaccination rates, positive PCR and rapid-test results.
- Information on the status of the health-care system, including the number of employees who have tested positive and are isolating, as well as hospital and ICU occupancy levels.
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