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COVID-19: New Omicron subvariant BA.2 detected in New Brunswick

Click to play video: 'New Omicron subvariant found in New Brunswick'
New Omicron subvariant found in New Brunswick
WATCH: A new subvariant of Omicron has been found in New Brunswick, with the first case reported in the Moncton region. Early research suggests BA.2 spreads even more easily than Omicron. Nathalie Sturgeon has more. – Feb 4, 2022

A new Omicron subvariant called BA.2 has been identified in New Brunswick, the province announced Friday.

In a release, it said the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre’s microbiology laboratory in Moncton identified the variant in a sample from a person in Zone 1, the Moncton region.

Read more: BA.2 33% more infectious than ‘original’ Omicron COVID strain, study finds

A Danish study suggests the BA.2 variant, which has taken over Denmark, is more transmissible and more able to infect vaccinated people than BA.1, the more common form of the Omicron variant.

The World Health Organization says this new subvariant is more difficult to detect.

Read more: BA.2 subvariant harder to identify than original Omicron strain, WHO says

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“While the impact of all variants continues to be monitored, we know that vaccination – including a booster – in combination with public health and individual measures, is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, in a release.

“I encourage everyone to book their vaccine appointment or attend a walk-in immunization clinic, as we know this is the best defence against these variants and will reduce the risk of severe outcomes and hospitalizations.”

Click to play video: 'What we know so far about Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant'
What we know so far about Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant

New cases, hospitalizations

According to the provincial COVID-19 dashboard, one more person has died of COVID-19, bringing the total death count to 252.

There are currently 163 people in hospital, two fewer than on Thursday. However, another three people are in ICU for a total of 17, and another three people are on a ventilator for a total of nine.

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The province said 401 people have tested positive with a PCR test and 403 have tested positive with a rapid test.

There are a total of 399 health-care workers who are off work due to COVID-19.

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