COVID-19: 3 more deaths in N.B. as hospitalizations rise to almost 60

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick begins new testing, isolation rules'
New Brunswick begins new testing, isolation rules
New Brunswick is changing two of its longest-standing COVID-19 measures, with PCR tests now saved for priority groups and self-isolation periods shortened based on vaccination status. Travis Fortnum reports – Jan 4, 2022

Three more people have died from COVID-19 in New Brunswick, the province said in a news release Wednesday.

A person in their 50s has died in the Saint John region, and two people — one in their 50s and the other in their 70s — died in the Fredericton region as a result of the virus.

The number of hospitalizations has risen to 59, three more since Tuesday, with 16 in intensive care.

“Of those in hospital, 41 are over the age of 60 and 10 people are on a ventilator. No one under 19 is hospitalized,” the release said.

The province reported another 779 new infections and 65 recoveries on Wednesday, though the release said beginning, it will no longer be including PCR testing numbers and other data in news releases and will instead announce them on the provincial dashboard.

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“We know that the PCR cases we will be reporting are not a true reflection of the severity of the situation,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, in the release.

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“We need to remember that COVID-19 is all around us and we need to follow public health measures, including getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster when eligible.”

Of the new cases, 264 are in Zone 1 (Moncton region), 202 are in Zone 2 (Saint John region), 93 are in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), 70 are in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), 24 are in Zone 5 (Campbellton region), 47 are in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) and 79 are in Zone 7 (Miramichi region).

The province says 83 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 90.4 per cent have received their first dose of a vaccine and 21.9 per cent have received a booster dose.

Testing changes

The province said that people with COVID-19 symptoms are now required to register online for a PCR or rapid test “under the provincial government’s new testing strategy.”

People can determine the kind of test they’re eligible to receive by completing the online form.

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“Those with symptoms, and who are aged two to 49 and do not live in a vulnerable setting, will be advised to take a rapid test,” it said.

“After registering their information, people can book an appointment to pick up a rapid-test kit at a local assessment centre. Anyone picking up rapid tests must present an email confirmation of their appointment.”

PCR rests are now reserved only for people “at the highest risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19,” including:

  • Health-care workers and those who live or work in long-term care facilities, homeless shelters and correctional facilities.
  • People who are symptomatic and aged 50 and over.
  • People who are symptomatic and immunocompromised.
  • People who are symptomatic and pregnant.
  • People who are identified as a priority by Public Health.

Those who need a PCR test for travel, residents of First Nations communities and children under two are also eligible to receive a PCR test. As well, people who are isolating because of their symptoms are permitted to leave isolation for a test appointment.

“Due to rising case numbers caused by the Omicron variant, we need to ensure that every person with symptoms is able to get a test,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard in the release.

“This means that people without symptoms do not qualify for a rapid-test kit. There is no need to stockpile tests. If you have extra test kits at home and do not have symptoms right now, I encourage you to share them with family and friends who may need them. We anticipate access to additional rapid tests over the coming days and weeks for anyone who has symptoms and must ensure we are protecting our most vulnerable.”


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