REVISED / Hospitals prepare for increase in cases / more than 17,000 booster dose appointments booked for those 18 and older11 January 2022
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is forecasting 220 active hospitalizations by early February. The number of people isolating with the virus could impact the health-care system and other critical services and businesses.
New Brunswickers are being asked to reduce their contacts and follow public health guidance as the health system prepares for a steep increase in cases during the coming weeks.
“We can all help and bring our expected peak down if we all reduce our contacts by seeing fewer people, distance appropriately, and wear properly fitted masks when inside; then our peak may be reduced from what would happen without any changes in public behaviour,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.
Russell participated in a COVID-19 technical briefing today, along with Mathieu Chalifoux, chief epidemiologist of Public Health, Dr. John Dornan, interim president and CEO of Horizon Health Network, and Dr. France Desrosiers, president and CEO of Vitalité Health Network.
The CEOs of the regional health authorities said they are taking a provincial approach in responding to the situation. The Edmundston Regional Hospital and the Saint John Regional Hospital are closing units and reallocating staff to provide urgent and emergency services. If necessary, the CEOs said they would redeploy staff from nearby hospitals or others around the province.
“Vitalité successfully took this approach earlier in the pandemic to respond to high numbers of cases in both Edmundston and Campbellton,” said Desrosiers. “We thank the community in the northwest for their continued collaboration and want to reassure the population that their regional hospital is ready to face this challenge.”
“Horizon, Vitalité and Extra-Mural/Ambulance New Brunswick are working together to ensure critical life-saving services are available for New Brunswickers when needed,” said Dornan. “New Brunswickers can be assured that, if required, we will move swiftly to preserve our limited health-care resources and provide the necessary care.”
Dornan said the Saint John Regional Hospital is in a crisis, as that area of the province has experienced the highest number of cases during this wave. This has resulted in many health-care staff being off work, with other parts of the Horizon Health Network in Fredericton, Miramichi and Moncton also facing critical situations.
“Each day Horizon evaluates where we are in terms of staffing numbers, and what services we can safely deliver, and we prepare to make difficult decisions as required, which may result in Horizon focusing on life-saving care only,” said Dornan.
There are currently 377 health-care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating.
New Brunswickers are encouraged to prepare in advance by having a basic plan for isolation, keeping supplies like medication and food on hand, and monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
“By being prepared ahead of time, you will be much better positioned to look after yourself and members of your household if you become infected,” said Russell. “Keep yourself safe and look after those that you love so that we can all get through this difficult time together.”
Public Health reported there are 14 people in intensive care and another 74 in hospital for a total of 88 people hospitalized due to COVID-19. Of the total people hospitalized, 76 per cent are either unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or it has been more than six months since their second dose. Of those in hospital, 67 are over 60 and 11 people are on a ventilator. No one 19 and under is hospitalized. The seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations is available on the COVID-19 dashboard. Thirty-five of the 88 people hospitalized were admitted for reasons other than COVID-19 and tested positive once admitted.
The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated. Information about the rates of cases and hospitalizations based on vaccination status, the age and origin of new cases, and additional information, is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.
One person aged 90 or over in Zone 1 (Moncton region) has died as a result of COVID-19.
Booster dose appointments
Public Health reported that, since Monday, more than 17,500 appointments have been booked for booster doses of an mRNA vaccine; the booster dose is available to all New Brunswickers 18 and older, as long as five months have passed since their second dose.
Monday was the first opportunity for these newly eligible people to book an appointment online at vaccination clinics offered through Vitalité and Horizon health networks.
There were 842 new positive rapid (point-of-care) test results submitted. These totals are based on information received by the Department of Health from the public and are not intended to be taken as a true representation of the total number of cases in the province.
People with COVID-19 symptoms are required to register online for a PCR test or rapid test under the provincial government’s testing strategy. Those who receive a positive rapid-test result are reminded to submit their result online through the self-reporting web portal.
“While we are encouraging everyone to register their positive rapid-test result, we recognize that not everyone will do so,” said Russell. “We need to keep in mind that this data is self-reported and will only give us an idea of the actual number of positive cases.”
The COVID-19 dashboard has been updated to include rapid-test results. Further enhancements will be made to the dashboard during the coming weeks.
All of New Brunswick is in the Level 2 phase of the winter plan to manage COVID-19. More information on the COVID-19 alert system, including guidance on public health measures, restrictions and the mandatory order, is available online.
Other useful links:
- Information about COVID-19 vaccines (including booking first, second or booster doses)
- Information about COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations NB COVID-19 N.-B. (arcgis.com)
- Information on getting tested (PCR or rapid tests)
- Healthy and Safe Schools website (including information on cases in schools and daycares)
- Travel information (including the Travel Registration Program)