COVID-19: Hundreds of N.B. health staff isolating as hospitalizations rise

Click to play video: 'Hospitalizations on the rise in New Brunswick' Hospitalizations on the rise in New Brunswick
WATCH: New Brunswick health officials say the number of people sick and in hospital could skyrocket over the next few weeks as the Omicron variant reaches its peak. As Tim Roszell reports, that's making for tough decisions for health providers – Jan 12, 2022

The New Brunswick government is urging residents to limit their contacts and prepare for a grim COVID-19 situation in coming weeks.

In a Wednesday news release, the province said it is expecting 220 active hospitalizations by early February.

“We all need to be prepared for COVID-19 and have a plan to ensure we have enough supplies to care for ourselves and our families,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health in the release.

Read more: COVID-19: N.B. could see more than 5,000 cases each day in the next month

There are currently 369 health-care workers in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, and the province says “the health-care system and other critical services” could be impacted.

“New Brunswickers are encouraged to prepare in advance by having a basic plan for isolation, keeping supplies like medication and food on hand,” the province said.

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1 death, hospitalizations rising

On Wednesday, the province said a man in his 80s has died from COVID-19 in the Saint John region.

Public health reported a total of 94 active hospitalizations — up by six from Tuesday — including 10 people in intensive care. Four New Brunswickers with COVID-19 are on a ventilator.

The hospitalizations include 74 individuals who are over the age of 60 and one person aged 19 or under.

According to the release, 73 per cent of those hospitalized are either unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or it has been more than six months since their second dose.

“The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated,” the province said.

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New Brunswickers welcome COVID-19 booster eligibility expansion – Jan 9, 2022

Dr. Russell said in the release that the rate of COVID-positive patients being hospitalized is rising.

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Of those currently in hospital, she said 34 “came to the hospital to be treated for something unrelated to COVID and tested positive once they were admitted.”

Additionally, the province reported 359 new PCR-confirmed cases and 688 new positive rapid test results that were submitted to public health.

However the province notes that the number should “not intended to be taken as a true representation of the total number of cases in the province.”

Read more: ‘I’m so ready’: New Brunswickers welcome expanded COVID-19 booster eligibility

The province continues to encourage residents to get vaccinated against the virus and receive booster doses.

More than 23,100 booster dose appointments have been booked in the province since Monday, after they were opened to anyone over the age of 18 as long as five months have passed since their second dose.

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