COVID-19: N.B. reports another death, 12 people in ICU as circuit-breaker begins

Click to play video: 'Experts say New Brunswick lockdown is tough, but necessary'
Experts say New Brunswick lockdown is tough, but necessary
WATCH: As New Brunswick enters a 16-day lockdown, the tighter measures – which are the strictest seen in a long time – can be a tough pill for some to swallow. – Jan 14, 2022

New Brunswick reported a total of 113 active COVID-19 hospitalizations and one additional death on Saturday.

The death involved an individual in their 70s in the Edmundston region.

There are currently 12 people in intensive care including two on a ventilator. One person aged 19 or under is hospitalized.

Of those hospitalized, 60 were initially admitted for reasons other than COVID-19, according to a release.

“The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated and those who are over six months from their second dose,” said the province.

Officials also reported 409 new PCR-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 644 rapid-test positives, though it notes those “test counts are self-reported and may not be accurate.”

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Public health said in the release there have been more than 31,400 appointments booked for booster doses since Monday, when the eligibility opened up to anyone 18 and older.

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Vaccine efficacy against Omicron underscores need for boosters

“People who are fully vaccinated and have a booster dose have additional protection to help prevent serious illness from the Omicron variant,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, in the release.

“People who are 50 and older in particular should book an appointment for their booster right away if they have not yet done so.”

All provincial health zones entered Level 3 of the COVID-19 winter plan on Friday night. This 16-day circuit-breaker is expected to remain until Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m.

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On Thursday, officials said reducing the number of hospitalizations is critical for New Brunswick.

“It’ll be a tough two weeks but we need to do this,” said Premier Blaine Higgs in the Thursday briefing.

Level 3 restrictions include the following:

  • Single-household bubble
  • No indoor public gatherings
  • Shutting down gyms, spas and entertainment centres
  • Restaurants can operate on take-out and delivery only
  • Encouraged use of contactless curbside pickup and/or designate one person from the household to go shopping if feasible to reduce contacts
  • Faith venues can hold outdoor, virtual or in-car services only
  • Organized sports not permitted
  • Organized sports and all other organized activities are not permitted with people outside a single-household bubble
  • Outdoor exercise or activities like skiing, skating or snowmobiling are permitted, as long as Public Health measures are followed and you are within your single-household bubble
  • Lodges and other facilities that support outdoor sport must not exceed 50 per cent capacity and must not permit food or drink to be consumed indoors.

The province also says at-home learning will be extended for another week. Students are set to return to classrooms on Jan. 31.

Dr. Russell pleaded with New Brunswickers to not look for loopholes in the coming weeks.

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“It is no exaggeration to say this is a matter of life and death,” she said Thursday.

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