COVID-19: N.B. reports 116 new cases, hospitals to restrict visitors

Click to play video: 'Visits to New.Brunswick hospitals suspended; Vitalite hospitals moving to red alert' Visits to New.Brunswick hospitals suspended; Vitalite hospitals moving to red alert
WATCH: Horizon and Vitalite Health Networks announced Thursday they are suspending hospital visits temporarily due to rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations. Vitalite says all of its hospitals are moving to “red alert” as of Oct. 12 – Oct 7, 2021

New Brunswick is reporting 116 new COVID-19 cases Thursday — more than 30 per cent of which involve people who were fully vaccinated.

Public Health says of the new cases, 71 (61.2 per cent) were unvaccinated, 10 (8.6 per cent) were partially vaccinated and 35 (30.2 per cent) were fully vaccinated.

“While we continue to see cases pop up in the vaccinated population, we know you are 16 times more likely to contract COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated. If you are vaccinated you are also much less likely to get seriously ill or end up in hospital,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, in a release.

Read more: Unvaccinated New Brunswicker says he’s running out of options with career on the line

With 66 recoveries reported, there are now 825 active cases in the province. There are 55 people hospitalized, including 31 in an intensive care unit.

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Of those in hospital, Public Health says 41 are unvaccinated, three are partially vaccinated and 11 are fully vaccinated.

No one under the age of 19 is currently hospitalized.

The province said it has reached a milestone Thursday, with 90.1 per cent of the eligible population having received at least their first dose of a vaccine.

Meanwhile, 81.1 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated.

Confirmed cases at schools, child-care facilities

A rapid-testing program for schools will be rolled out beginning Oct. 12.

As well, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has made updates to its outbreak management process. A new dashboard will be made available on school data “in the coming days.”

Read more: Some N.B. parents call for a return to distance learning amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Since the beginning of the school year, 81 schools and 44 early learning and child-care facilities have had confirmed cases.

New positive cases have been confirmed  in schools and child-care facilities in Zone 1 (Moncton region), Zone 2 (Saint John region), Zone 3 (Fredericton region) and Zone 6 (Bathurst region).

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They are:

Zone 1 (Moncton region)

  • Northrop Frye School in Moncton (previously impacted)
  • Maplehurst School in Moncton (previously impacted)
  • East Coast Kids Child Care & Learning Center in Hillsborough (previously impacted)

Zone 2 (Saint John region)

  • Campobello Island Consolidated School

Zone 3 (Fredericton region)

  • Stanley Consolidated School
  • Hartland Community School (previously impacted)

Zone 6 (Bathurst region)

  • Superior Middle School in Bathurst

Vitalité Health Network hospitals and facilities in red alert

Vitalité Health Network announced Thursday that all its hospitals and facilities — which includes Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, Edmundston Regional Hospital and Chaleur Regional Hospital — will be placed on red alert as of Oct. 12.

For the Campbellton Regional Hospital, the measure is effective immediately due to an in-hospital outbreak of COVID-19.

Red alert means that all non-essential health care and services will be “greatly reduced or temporarily suspended.”

This includes ambulatory care, professional services such as physiotherapy, non-urgent X-rays and scans, and elective surgeries.

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In a release, the network’s president and CEO, Dr. France Desrosiers, said the current situation with COVID-19 left them with no other option.

“We must go to red alert internally so that we can temporarily reduce or suspend non-essential services and thereby redeploy staff to maintain our emergency services and intensive care units and the care of patients with COVID-19 who are hospitalized,” she said.

“We must also keep in mind that this is being done in the context of a severe staffing shortage, which adds to the seriousness and complexity of the situation.”

The health network said the most recent epidemiological projections indicate an increase in the number of hospitalizations over the next few weeks and that they “must be prepared to deal with this.”

Patients will be contacted to have appointments rescheduled.

Hospitals restricting visitors

Meanwhile both Horizon and Vitalité health networks are restricting visitors to hospitals and health care facilities as of Friday.

Horizon said its “enhanced visitor restrictions” means there will be no visitors allowed — with some exceptions patients eligible for a designated support person (DPS).

Those eligible for a DPS are patients in:

  • End of Life – Palliative Care
  • Obstetrics (Labour and Delivery, Postpartum)
  • Neonatal
  • Intensive Care/Critical Care Units
  • Pediatrics
  • Patients who have been in hospital for 14 days or longer
  • Patients with intellectual / communication impairments (cognitive impairment leading to agitation and inability to console; communication impairment which affects care)

Patients entering the ER and outpatient clinics who need assistance may also bring one support person.

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However, support people must monitor for COVID-19 symptoms before the visit, take part in a screening before entering, wear a mask, wash hands and only go into the room of the person they are accompanying.

Click to play video: 'Experts say things will get worse before they get better as COVID-19 cases in N.B. skyrocket' Experts say things will get worse before they get better as COVID-19 cases in N.B. skyrocket
Experts say things will get worse before they get better as COVID-19 cases in N.B. skyrocket – Oct 3, 2021

Similarly, Vitalité said it is temporarily cancelling all hospital visits as of 2 p.m. Friday.

Visits had already been cancelled in the three hospitals of the Northwest Zone as of Oct. 1 and at the Restigouche Hospital Centre as of Oct. 4.

“With the number of COVID-19 cases continually increasing, the Network deems it more prudent to temporarily cancel visits in all our hospitals until further notice,” said Desrosiers.

“This will reduce the traffic in our facilities and better the manage the risk of the virus spreading.”

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Once again, exceptions will be made for those eligible for a DSP.

Circuit-breaker measures, Thanksgiving restrictions

Circuit-breaker measures will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday for at least 14 days in COVID-19 hot spots.

The areas that will be impacted are Zone 1 (Moncton region) as far north as and including Sainte-Anne-de-Kent and including Havelock in Zone 2; the northern portion of Zone 3 from and including Deerville and Florenceville-Bristol; and all of Zone 4 (Edmundston region), including Menneval in Zone 5.

Read more: N.B. to invoke ‘circuit-breaker’ to hot spots, issues Thanksgiving gathering limit

Non-essential travel in and out of those areas is not allowed, and residents are asked to keep in their household bubbles.

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving weekend restrictions are in effect for the entire province beginning at 6 p.m. Friday until 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

Thanksgiving gatherings are restricted to single households — in other words, people you live with. It can extend to include caregivers.

Restaurants, where the province has mandated proof of vaccination, are allowed to open.

All other businesses may also remain open, even if they are not required to see proof of vaccination — such as hair salons and grocery stores.

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Regional breakdown of new cases

The 39 new cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region) are as follows:

  • 19 people 19 and under
  • a person 20-29
  • five people 30-39
  • four people 40-49
  • three people 50-59
  • four people 60-69
  • two people 70-79
  • a person 90 and over

Twenty-four cases are under investigation and 15 are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

The 19 new cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region) are as follows:

  • eight people 19 and under
  • four people 30-39
  • four people 40-49
  • a person 50-59
  • a person 60-69
  • a person 70-79

Fourteen cases are under investigation and five are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

The 20 new cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) are as follows:

  • seven people 19 and under
  • four people 30-39
  • three people 40-49
  • four people 50-59
  • two people 80-89

Seventeen cases are under investigation and three are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

The 20 new cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region) are as follows:

five people 19 and under

  • a person 20-29
  • four people 30-39
  • four people 40-49
  • three people 50-59
  • two people 60-69
  • a person 90 and over

Sixteen cases are under investigation and four are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

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The 11 cases in Zone 5 (Campbellton region) are as follows:

  • six people 60-69
  • two people 70-79
  • two people 80-89
  • a person 90 and over

Ten cases are under investigation and one is a contact of a previously confirmed case.

The five new cases in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) are as follows:

  • three people 20-29
  • a person 30-39
  • a person 50-59

Two cases are under investigation and three cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

The two new cases in Zone 7 (Miramichi region) are as follows:

  • a person 20-29
  • a person 30-39

Both cases are under investigation.

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